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Published August 02, 2022 Updated August 05, 2022

Hunting playing cards

Hunting playing cards / “Okhotnich’i karty” with illustrations by the court artist Mihály Zichy.

Russia Mihály Zichy Hunting 2005

Every card in this pack depicts a winter hunting scene from the reign of Tsar Alexander II created by the court artist Mihály Zichy (1827 – 1906). Zichy lived and worked primarily in St. Petersburg and Paris during his career. He would accompany Tsar Alexander II on his frequent hunting trips to the Gatchina Palace – a royal palace where the Tsar had built a hunting village and other facilities for his imperial hunting court.

Water colour paintings based on the artist’s sketches were created and placed into albums (now in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg). 52 of the water colours were selected and a pack of cards was created, but never published. The cards were, however, displayed in an exhibition at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, in 2005. This pack appears to be an undated facsimile of the original, probably following the exhibition. A miniature playing card on the upper half of each card indicates its denomination.

Hunting playing cards / “Okhotnich’i karty” with illustrations by the court artist Mihály Zichy

Above: Hunting playing cards / “Okhotnich’i karty” with illustrations by the court artist Mihály Zichy (1827–1906). There is no indication of the publisher or date on the tuck box. 52 cards; there are no jokers, and the card dimensions are 86 x 53 mm.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

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An avid playing card collector since the early 1970s. While the bulk of my collection originates from the UK, Western Europe and the USA, I have always had a “soft spot” for Russian packs - in part because I studied Russian at both school and University in the 1960s, and also because it was in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest.


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