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Published June 14, 2010 Updated December 14, 2021

Anonymous Novelty Cards

Miniature novelty playing cards from the late 1940s or early 1950s with a charm of their own. Probably published as small prizes at fairground or seaside amusement arcades.

United Kingdom Miniature Toy Cards Add to Collection
miniature novelty playing cards from the late 1940s or early 1950s

Above: miniature novelty playing cards from the late 1940s or early 1950s with a charm of their own. Probably published as small prizes at fairground or seaside amusement arcades (such as the 'Rotary Merchandiser'), the cards measure 50mm by 29mm and were produced with red or blue background. Images and nostalgia submitted by Peter Ford.

miniature novelty playing cards from the late 1940s or early 1950s miniature novelty playing cards from the late 1940s or early 1950s

Above: a dual-deck pack of miniature playing cards, one red one blue, and the box clearly states "Made in England". 52 cards + joker in each pack, very cheaply made, square cut. Images courtesy Matt Probert.

Fairylite • Empire Made

Fairylite miniature novelty playing cards from the late 1940s or early 1950s Fairylite miniature novelty playing cards from the late 1940s or early 1950s

Above: "Fairylite" containing 52 cheaply-made cards + one joker. The ace of spades is different but they are in the same style of box with the legend "Junior Playing Cards" top and bottom. These are "Empire made" so there may be a time period over which production shifted. Unusually, it looks like they printed sheets of each single card and then cut them out, rather than sheets of complete decks. Images courtesy Matt Probert.

Above: another anonymous "British Made" children's pack, late 1940s or early 1950s, containing 52 cards + one joker. Images courtesy Matt Probert.


Miniature “Perma” playing cards promoting smoker’s requisites, probably from just after WW2 c.1948 more→

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder 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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