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Published July 03, 1996 Updated July 31, 2022

Russian Standard Playing Cards

Cards from a Russian standard woodblock and stencil pack of circa 1820.

Russia standard woodblock 1820

Russian Standard Playing Cards c.1820

Cards from a Russian standard woodblock and stencil pack of circa 1820, which are a Russian version of the double-ended ‘Paris’ pattern from France which was being adopted by many European manufacturers at that time. The ace of diamonds carries the tax stamp showing a pelican with outspread wings over a nest. The money raised by this tax went towards supporting the Imperial orphanages and funding the education and training of the foundlings. This tax stamp disappeared with the advent of the Revolution in 1917. After the USSR ended and the Colour Printing Plant closed down, several small firms started to print playing cards, including modern versions of this deck.

Above: cards from a Russian standard woodblock and stencil pack of circa 1820. Image courtesy Dudley Ollis.

Modern editions

Many modern versions of this pattern are printed today in Russia and elsewhere, usually including a joker card. Cards manufactured in China with Russian patterns have been taking over the market but in some cases the quality of the cards is not as high as the original Russian-manufactured versions.

Above: cards from a Russian standard pack. Image courtesy Rex Pitts.


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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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