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Published September 04, 2022 Updated September 04, 2022

Drum playing cards

Drum playing cards depicting demographically diverse Africans of different ethnicities.

South Africa Protea Advertising Ethnic & Indigenous Add to Collection

This pack contains 54 cards and an additional international bridge scoring chart. It was made in the Republic of South Africa by the Protea Playing Card Company in Johannesburg as an advertising medium for Drum, Africa’s leading magazine. The non-standard court cards are the same for each suit, representing demographically diverse Africans of different ethnicities. DRUM is a South African online magazine mainly aimed at black readers containing market news, entertainment and feature articles. In 2005 it was described as "the first black lifestyle magazine in Africa", but it is noted chiefly for its early 1950s and 1960s reportage of township life under apartheid.

Drum playing cards depicting demographically diverse Africans of different ethnicities Drum playing cards depicting demographically diverse Africans of different ethnicities

Above: DRUM playing cards printed by the Protea Playing Card Company, Johannesburg.

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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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