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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

7 Articles

Tony Hall

Member since January 30, 2015

I started my interest in card games about 70 years ago, playing cribbage with my grandfather. Collecting card game materials started 50 years or so later, when time permitted. One cribbage board was a memory; two became the start of a collection currently exceeding 150!

Once interest in the social history of card games was sparked, I bought a wooden whist marker from the 1880s which was ingenious in design and unbelievably tactile. One lead to two and there was no stopping.

What happened thereafter is reflected in my articles and downloads on this site, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Also by Tony Hall

Download as Adobe Acrobat files:

"Bézique Markers 1860-1960"

"Evolution of Whist and Bridge Boxed Sets, 1870s–1930s"

"Goodall Patience Boxes"

"Majority Calling and Value Bidding in Auction Bridge; a little bit of history"

"The Personalities and Books which shaped the game of Whist, 1860-1900"

"Piquet: the game and its artifacts"

"Poker Patience"

"Kuhn Khan"

The latest articles from Tony Hall

Why do we Collect? My 20 Favourite Items

I suppose people collect for different reasons, rarity, quality, ingenuity of design, sentimental value... by Tony Hall. • Sep 28, 2020

Patience Cards and their Boxes

Patience Cards and their Boxes by Tony Hall. • Jun 03, 2020

Mary Whitmore Jones and her Chastleton Patience Board

Mary Whitmore Jones and her Chastleton Patience Board by Tony Hall. • Apr 18, 2020

Progressive Whist Cards

There are references to “progressive whist” or “whist drives” during the 19th and early years of the 20th century but this form of the game came into its own during the 1920s and 30s. • Apr 18, 2017

Whist and Gaming Counters and Markers

History.of Whist and Gaming Counters and Markers from the 18th Century to modern times. • Jun 14, 2015

Wills Scheme

The W.D & H.O. Wills Playing Card promotion of the early 1930s • Jun 02, 2015

Cribbage Board Collection

A collection of antique and vintage Cribbage Boards by Tony Hall • May 15, 2015