Sometimes also called “Russian Cities Coats-of-Arms” this is a 54 card pack with each card illustrating the coat-of-arms or crest of a Russian town or city. The reverse shows the Russian flag with the Russian coat-of-arms squarely centred.
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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.
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.
Hotel Lena playing cards published by Bichik in Yakutsk in 2001.
Peterhof souvenir playing cards (Petergof suvenirnye igral’nye karty) published by Mednyi Vsadnik (Bronze Horseman), St. Petersburg.
Pack designed by M. Rydaeva celebrating the 200th anniversary of Alexander Pushkin’s birth.
Dolls Gallery / Galereia kukol : karty igral’nye / published by Varvara Skripkina, 2003.
Treasures of the Russian Museum / Russkii Muzei : suvenirnye igral’nye karty.
Rossiia / Municipal Coats-of-Arms of Russian Federation.
The first nested doll set was carved in 1890.
Palekh and Kholui lacquer miniatures.
Playing cards in Russian life - Karty v zhizni Rossii - published by Aleksandr Lutkovskii in 2004.
Spot the Difference playing cards published in "Razvlekatel’naia Gazetka" newspaper, 1998-1999.
Samye malen’kie v mire igral’nye karty / The world’s smallest playing cards
Hunting playing cards / “Okhotnich’i karty” with illustrations by the court artist Mihály Zichy.
Russian Emperors playing cards / “Rossiiskie imperatory karty igral’nye” produced and illustrated by Aleksei Orleanskii, 2006.
Russian Beer playing cards / “Russkoe pivo karty igral’nye” produced in 2006
Dead Souls, or “Mertvye dushi igral’nye karty” produced in 2006 by Aleksei Orleanskii.
Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970.
Reproduction of Richard Blome’s Heraldic playing cards, 1684, presented to lady guests at WCMPC Summer Meeting in 1888.
“Renaissance” playing card designs by A I Charlemagne, 1862.
The Four Worlds playing cards by artist Aleksey Zhiryakov in the stylistic traditions of Palekh, 2018.
“Cosmopolitan” № 2121 playing cards designed by Russian artist Valeri Mishin, 1996
Miner’s Cards for the Czech company Rutek Alliance, 2012.
“Eastern” playing cards dedicated to ethnic Buryat culture, 2015
In 1943 a pack of ‘anti-fascist’ playing cards was designed by Vasiliy Andrianovich Vlasov mocking the rulers of Germany and the Axis powers.
St Petersburg Souvenir playing cards, 2004
Russia Souvenir Playing Cards published by The Bronze Horseman, c.2004.
A deck designed by Victor M. Sveshnikov dedicated to the Neva river and the city of Saint Petersburg.
“Peterhof” deck manufactured at the St Petersburg Colour Printing Plant in 1999.
Back to the USSR deck featuring communist party leaders and politicians, c.1995
‘Glorious Russia’ playing cards made in France by Grimaud, c.1995
The Arms of English Peers playing cards were first published in 1686. Heraldry, or a knowledge of the arms and blazons of royalty was an important part of a respectable education.
‘Trans-Siberian Express’ playing cards designed by Veronika Nicolaeva, Az-Art Publishing House, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2015.
Playing cards depicting imagined residents of St. Petersburg with illustrations by Alexei Bobrinsky.
East Slavonic Mythology designed by Aleksey Orleansky (1994) featuring creatures from the watery underworld.
In the style of religious icon paintings, these court card figures wear costumes reminiscent of the mid-17th century.
“Cossack” playing cards, with artwork by O. Panchenko dedicated to the revival of the traditions of the Cossacks. Printed by the Colour Printing Plant, St Petersburg, 1994.
Russian “Historical” playing cards with designs by Nikolay Karazin, 1897
Russian Opera & Theatre Scenes playing cards first published by the Colour Printing Plant (USSR, Russian Federation) in 1973
Geographical and Heraldic Tarocchi cards from Bologna, 1725.
“Maya” playing cards designed by Russian artist V. M. Sveshnikov and first published by The Colour Printing Plant, St Petersburg, in 1975.
“White Palekh” was first published by the The Colour Printing Plant in St. Petersburg in 1982 with designs by Pavel Bazhenov.