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Wrappers

Playing cards were traditionally sold inside paper wrappers, which were usually thrown away.

Cardmakers traditionally sold their playing cards inside outer wrappers made of paper. These would usually be discarded once opened and were not expected to be kept. However, some survive, often in a fragile condition, and these paper wrappers are an useful additional source of information, such as manufacturers’ addresses, trade marks or copyright notices, medals won at exhibitions, as well as in certain cases, taxation details or royal patronage. See example here

For this reason, packs still in their original paper wrapper, unopened, are less common. Today’s packs are usually cello-wrapped.

Left & below: cut out wrapper fronts advertising "THE GREAT MOGUL" (c.1830) and "Superior Club House" playing cards (c.1870s) by Reynolds and Sons, 29 & 30 Vere Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London. Images courtesy John Sings.


Great Mogul wrapper, Bancks Bros c.1840s
wrapper from Naipes ‘El Leon’ 1897

Above: the wrapper from Naipes ‘El Leon’, Barcelona, 1897. Courtesy Alberto Pérez.


wrapped 'Great Mogul' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten

Above: unopened 'Great Mogul' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten.

wrapper from Navy's No.50 playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten

Above: wrapper from 'Navys No.50' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten, c.1910.

wrapper from 'Sport No.31' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten

Above: wrapper from 'Sport No.31' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten, c.1910.


Torcacita playing cards in their original wrapper, sealed with the Internal Revenues tax band, c.1945

Above: Torcacita playing cards in their original wrapper, sealed with the Internal Revenues tax band, c.1945.

Poker Tela de Araña manufactured by Flaiban S.R.L. in c.1949 with 1 Peso tax band

Above: Poker Tela de Araña manufactured by Flaiban S.R.L., Bs Aires in c.1949 with blue 1 Peso tax band around the unopened deck. The ace of hearts shows the tax stamp.


wrapper and 50 Centavos tax band from pack manufactured by Paisanito S.R.L. c.1952-3

Above: wrapper and 50 Centavos tax band from pack manufactured by Paisanito S.R.L. c.1952-3.

Above: Naipes Side Car manufactured by Luis A. Fourvel y Cía, Buenos Aires, c.1950.


Naipes Paisanito, c.1953

Above: Naipes Paisanito, c.1953.

Goodall’s “Historic” Playing Cards, c.1893

Above: Goodall’s “Historic” Playing Cards, c.1893.

Above: detail from the wrapper manufactured by P. Steinmann, Copenhagen, c.1810-20 showing the Royal Monogram of King Frederik V.

wrapper from Cartes La Gazelle, manufactured by Imprimerie de L’Entente, Casablanca

Above: wrapper from Cartes La Gazelle, manufactured by Imprimerie de L’Entente, Casablanca.

wrapper manufactured by Andrew Dougherty for Spanish suited cards with his Centre Street address, c.1882

Above: detail from wrapper manufactured by Andrew Dougherty for Spanish suited cards with his Centre Street address, c.1882.

wrapper from “Questions & Answers” family game produced by Imagerie Pellerin, c.1840

Above: wrapper from “Questions & Answers” family game produced by Imagerie Pellerin, c.1840.


registration document for Naipes Bols including a sample wrapper, Bs Aires, 1955

Above: the registration document for "Naipes Bols" including a sample wrapper, Bs Aires, 1955.


registration document for Naipes Chinita including a sample wrapper, Bs Aires, 1955

Above: the registration document for "Naipes Chinita" including a sample wrapper, Bs Aires, 1955.


Wrapper from “La Amistad” deck produced by Wüst for J. B. David in Cadiz, Spain, c.1880

Above: wrapper from “La Amistad” deck produced by Wüst for J. B. David in Cadiz, Spain, c.1880. Courtesy Alberto Pérez González.


double set of Goodall's “Boudoir” playing cards sealed in the original tax wrappers inside a padded box, c.1930

Above: double set of Goodall's “Boudoir” playing cards sealed in the original tax wrappers inside a padded box, c.1930.

Above: unopened wrapper from the New Bond Fabric Finish Playing Cards made by the Universal Playing Card Co. Ltd., overprinted with the retailer’s stamp “FW Woolworth & Co Ltd”, c.1950s

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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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