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Published August 02, 2022 Updated August 02, 2022

The world’s smallest playing cards

Samye malen’kie v mire igral’nye karty / The world’s smallest playing cards

2002 Russia Aleksandr Lutkovskii E. Sem’ianova O. Khodakova Advertising Miniature Add to Collection

Published by Aleksandr Lutkovskii, Novosibirsk, in 2002 in a limited edition of 999 packs, the tuck box proclaims these are the world’s smallest cards. Indeed, the cards are very small, measuring 30 x 20 mm. The pack contains 36 cards, 3 Jokers and an explanatory card. The pip cards show artistic / elegant drawings of skimpily clad women in lingerie, swimwear or minimal attire. The pack appears to be an advertisement by the publisher to encourage other companies to advertise through the medium of playing cards. The artists are O. Khodakova and E. Sem’ianova.

Samye malen’kie v mire igral’nye karty / The world’s smallest playing cards, 2002
Samye malen’kie v mire igral’nye karty / The world’s smallest playing cards, 2002
Samye malen’kie v mire igral’nye karty / The world’s smallest playing cards, 2002

Above: Samye malen’kie v mire igral’nye karty / The world’s smallest playing cards, 30 x 20 mm, published by Aleksandr Lutkovskii, Novosibirsk, in 2002.

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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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