1488 Nakhornchaisri Rd, Dusit, Bangkok 10300
Thailand's Playing Cards Manufacturing Factory remains under the Finance Ministry's remit, a state enterprise that traces its roots back more than 70 years. Foreign imports were flooding the market, and so authorities considered the production of playing cards important enough to national security for the state to take a direct role. Many new laws were enacted to regulate gambling. The factory in Bangkok produces over 400,000 decks of cards per month. Its cards are sold nationwide under brand names such as Lucky 555, Vegas Gold-111, Vegas V.G. Silver 222, V.G. 333 and Winner No. 02, no doubt appealing to gamblers hoping to hit a hot streak on the tables. The bulk of the factory's work is traditional Thai and Chinese cards, including pai jeen si see (four-coloured Chinese cards) and the thin, rectangular pai.
Although the factory in Bangkok produces over 400,000 decks per month, the playing card market is led by global players such as Japan's Angel Playing Cards and Belgium's Carta Mundi, both of which can produce cards at prices lower than the Thai enterprise thanks to better technology and scale. Card playing is regulated under the law to outfits playing traditional Thai and Chinese games, poker or rummy, although illegal casinos flourish despite sporadic police crackdowns. Illegal gambling dens more often than not use Chinese-manufactured cards smuggled into the country, although locally produced cards are readily available at corner shops and kiosks. To a novice, it seems incomprehensible that demand is so high for playing cards. But gamblers are a suspicious lot and often demand changes of the deck after just one or two bad hands or after spotting even the slightest imperfections that could be used to tip off a savvy opponent.
The factory's traditional Thai and Chinese cards still sell well, with growth of 4-5% per year and demand of about 300,000 decks per month, or three-quarters of total production. Card sales are quite separate from the economic cycle. Even at the worst of the economic crisis, sales continue to stay steady, with most cards sold during the New Year and Chinese New Year holidays. The factory has branched out in recent years to printing booklets, brochures and cards. Download The Playing Card Factory Brochure (PDF, 6MB).
Playing Cards Manufacturing Factory, Bangkok
Lucky 555 100% all plastic poker size playing cards
Although gambling is illegal in Thailand and playing cards are supposed to be controlled, these cards are available at corner shops and kiosks everywhere.
Lucky Gold 555 100% all plastic poker size playing cards
Vegas V.G. Gold-111 plastic playing cards
Thai Airlines Playing Cards
The 32nd Asean Bridge Club Championships, Bangkok, 2010
Download The Playing Card Factory Brochure (PDF, 6MB).
Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany
RCI Playing Cards, a 20th century playing-card maker of Minneapolis, 1969-1985.
The firm of Thomas Woolley lasted for many years from 1836-1904 in several different guises.
Thai Children’s Colour Vocabulary Cards promoting Ovaltine chocolate malt drink, 2016.
Parker Brothers, Salem, Mass., USA.
Ferd. Piatnik produced a very large range of cards with many different standard and non-standard patterns. This is a survey of his standard English output.
SPIELKARTENFABRIEK VON C.L. WÜST, 1811 - 1927. A short history of the Wüst factory by Martin Shaw & Paul Symons.
“Learn Thai” cards published by Lanna Innovation Co. Ltd, 2009.
Bio-Pack flashcards produced for Thai biology students
The “Star” special pack of playing cards manufactured by Thomas De la Rue under their Empire Card Co subsidiary, c.1910.
‘Secret Magic Cards’ published by Hanky Panky Toys Thailand Ltd., © World Magic International, 2006.
Hudson Industries Pty Ltd of Carlton in Victoria was first registered as a printing company in 1920. In the 1940s they registered their own distinctive ace of spades and joker.
John Sands had incorporated the earlier playing card manufacturing businesses of Hudson Industries Pty Ltd and Valentine Publishing Co.
The Valentine Group, Australia.
Goodall’s earliest cards were traditional in appearance but in around 1845 ‘modernised’ courts were designed
British Playing Cards Ltd was the predecessor of Universal P.C.Co. and involved Alf Cooke of Leeds and Bemrose of Birmingham, and maybe one or two other printing firms.
This pack has been inspired by the concept of Utopia, a seemingly perfect and ideal place.
'Bet You Don't Want That' is an anti-gambling campaign done mid 2013 for an advertising competition.
In 19th century England there were a number of makers who produced cards in relatively small quantities.
This page continues the presentation of examples of the major English cardmakers of the 19th century.
An overview of the courts and aces of spades produced by James English.
Standard Playing Card Co. started producing playing cards in c.1890 but was in business for only about four years before United States Playing Card Company acquired it in 1894.
The American Bank Note Company was a long-established firm producing national currency, finely engraved stock certificates and other security printing, including postage stamps. They also entered the playing card market c.1908-1914.
An ‘Old Frizzle’ Ace of Spades was assigned to them in 1833. In 1853 James L. & J. Turnbull were listed as ‘Makers of Playing Cards, Pasteboard, Paper Glossers and Pressers and Drawing Board Makers.
Willis W. Russell started a modest playing card business in Milltown, a small town in northern New Jersey, in 1905.
Thomas Wheeler appears in directories at 2 Richbell St (1799), 8 Middle Row, Holborn (1801), 118 Holborn Hill (1802-07) and 127 Holborn Hill (1807-21).
During the 1930s The Ormond Printing Co. Ltd produced playing cards for the Irish market with a distinctive ace of spades, joker and court cards. In 1935 the firm was acquired as a manufacturing facility for Waddington’s cards in Eire.
In December 1831 Thomas de la Rue was granted his patent for printing playing cards by letterpress.
I expect most collectors ignore cards made in China for export. It's true that many of them are close copies of American models, but there are also some interesting, even peculiar, redrawings of the standard English pattern.
Irish Playing Card Manufacturing Company.
Igor Domicelj commenced producing playing cards in c.1945. By the early 1950s the range had grown to include Naipes La Estrella, Barcelonesa, Chinita, La Española, Fantasio, Cartas Gitanas, Naipes Tipo Húngaro and a Jewish Quartet game.
Berger also produced a Hungarian-type "Seasons" pack with the brand name "La Estrella" and a six-pointed star logo, which was subsequently used by Domicelj and Vigor, suggesting some sort of business succession.
A. Van Genechten ran a flourishing business, supplying various kinds of cards both inside the country and abroad including England, Spain, France, Denmark, South-East Asia, China and Japan.
Originally known as Cappellano Hnos in the 1920s, and undergoing several changes of name and address, the company produced catalan style packs with the brand names "Naipes Triunfo" and "Torcacita" as well as an Anglo-American style pack titled "VELCAP".
Brown & Bigelow of St Paul, Minnesota, was a leading producer of playing cards in the U.S. from the late 1920s - 1980s.
Thai Playing Cards Manufacturing Factory was established in 1938 as part of the government Excise Department.
SOIMCA - Sociedade Impressora Caxiense - is an important playing card manufacturer in Brazil. It was established by Nelson Soares in Caxias do Sul, in the south of Brazil, by 1955.
Rotxotxo Workshop Inventories, Barcelona, 1660-1800.
Amos Whitney Factory Inventory. What it was like inside an 18th century playing card factory...
The Portuguese were the first Westerners to trade with Ayutthaya in Thailand in the 16th century. Traders also arrived from India, Japan, the Arab world, England, Holland and France.