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Published March 22, 2015 Updated March 19, 2022

Four Centuries

“Four Centuries” playing cards by Esselte Öbergs with court cards depicted as caricatures from different historical periods.

Scandinavia Sweden Öbergs Art & Design Medieval Add to Collection

Öbergs “Four Centuries”

“Four Centuries” (4 Sekel) playing cards by Esselte Öbergs A.B. with the court cards depicted as colourful caricatures from different historical periods in each suit, wearing imaginative costumes, also following distinct colour codes. The indices are ‘Kn’ (Knekt) for the knaves, ‘D’ (Dam) for the queens, ‘K’ (Kung) for the kings and ‘E’ (Ess) for the aces.

“Four Centuries” (4 Sekel) playing cards by Esselte Öbergs A.B.

Above: “Four Centuries” (4 Sekel) playing cards by Esselte Öbergs A.B., Eskilstuna, designed by Nils Melander, c.1970.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


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