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Published August 03, 2022 Updated August 03, 2022

Spot the Difference

Spot the Difference playing cards published in "Razvlekatel’naia Gazetka" newspaper, 1998-1999.

1998 Russia Aleksandr Lutkovskii Cartoon Collaborative Humour Add to Collection
Spot the Difference playing cards published in

This hand-made pack of thin paper stuck on thin card consists of 38 cards which caricature all aspects of life in the former Soviet Union. They were published in 1998-1999 in the paper Razvlekatel’naia Gazetka [Entertaining Newspaper] by Aleksandr Lutkovskii. The pack was published in only 60 copies, and uniquely each individual card is a “spot-the-difference” game where one has to identify seven differences between the upper and lower half of the card.

“In 1998-1999, in a newspaper I published, I decided to print a deck of playing cards, 1 card in each issue of the newspaper. The deck was printed "from the wheels" when 1 card began to print; many others were not yet drawn. Each card has its own author, all cards were drawn by cartoonists from different parts of the former USSR, so some of the cards have a humorous connotation. Many artists drew several options for cards, some drew colour options. When the deck was released, I did not use the Internet yet and did not know that there are similar decks where each card has its own author, but so far I have not seen a deck in which both halves of the card have 7 differences. In total, 60 copies of such decks were cut and collected. Most of which are already stored in different collections around the world” - Aleksandr Lutkovskii.

Spot the Difference playing cards published in Spot the Difference playing cards published in Spot the Difference playing cards published in

Above: Spot the Difference playing cards published in "Gazetka" newspaper by Aleksandr Lutkovskii, 1998-1999.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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