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Published March 23, 2024 Updated March 23, 2024

Costume Playing Cards

Four centuries of costumes from the Costume Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

1991 United Kingdom Berliner Spielkarten V&A Art Gallery Fashion & Costume Add to Collection

As stated on the extra card in one of the packs, the “Costume Court, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, contains fine examples of European fashionable dress, ornate Turkish and Persian costume and European Peasant costume dating back to the 16th century”. That said, of the 53 different costumes in this pack, the vast majority are English or French. Each is named and dated beneath the image.

Unfortunately, the overall look is rather wishy-washy, perhaps because almost exclusively pale backgrounds have been used or perhaps because most of the models/dummies have white features when many of the costumes are also quite pale. On the reverse, the V&A logo appears against either a pink or a blue background. The cards themselves are not well cut. See the box

Costume Playing Cards made by Berliner Spielkarten GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany, for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, 1991 Costume Playing Cards made by Berliner Spielkarten GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany, for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, 1991
Costume Playing Cards made by Berliner Spielkarten GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany, for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, 1991

Above: Costume Playing Cards made by Berliner Spielkarten GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany, for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, 1991. 2 x 52 cards + 2 (identical) Jokers + 1 extra card (different in each pack) in drop-lid box. Size: 57 x 89 mm.

Illustrations and text © Board of Trustees, Victoria and Albert Museum

Reference

Petri, Dr. Thomas. Braun Band 13: Die Berliner Spielkarten GmbH; 2002. p.81, BS 1991/2.

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By Roddy Somerville

Member since May 31, 2022

Roddy started collecting stamps on his 8th birthday. In 1977 he joined the newly formed playing-card department at Stanley Gibbons in London before setting up his own business in Edinburgh four years later. His collecting interests include playing cards, postcards, stamps (especially playing cards on stamps) and sugar wrappers. He is a Past President of the Scottish Philatelic Society, a former Chairman of the IPCS, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and Curator of the WCMPC’s collection of playing cards. He lives near Toulouse in France.


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