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.
Above: the wrapper from Naipes ‘El Leon’, Barcelona, 1897. Courtesy Alberto Pérez.
Above: unopened 'Great Mogul' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten.
Above: wrapper from 'Navys No.50' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten, c.1910.
Above: wrapper from 'Sport No.31' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten, c.1910.
Above: Torcacita playing cards in their original wrapper, sealed with the Internal Revenues tax band, c.1945.
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.
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.
Above: Naipes Paisanito, c.1953.
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.
Above: wrapper from Cartes La Gazelle, manufactured by Imprimerie de L’Entente, Casablanca.
Above: detail from wrapper manufactured by Andrew Dougherty for Spanish suited cards with his Centre Street address, c.1882.
Above: wrapper from “Questions & Answers” family game produced by Imagerie Pellerin, c.1840.
Above: the registration document for "Naipes Bols" including a sample wrapper, Bs Aires, 1955.
Above: the registration document for "Naipes Chinita" including a sample wrapper, Bs Aires, 1955.
Above: wrapper from “La Amistad” deck produced by Wüst for J. B. David in Cadiz, Spain, c.1880. Courtesy Alberto Pérez González.
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