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Published February 17, 2023 Updated July 11, 2023

James Purdey Signature playing cards

James Purdey & Sons is a long-established gun manufacturer founded in 1814 in London.

2019 United Kingdom Advertising Firearms Hunting Sports Add to Collection

James Purdey & Sons is a long-established gun manufacturer founded in 1814 in London. In 1868 the Company received its first Royal Warrant as gunmakers to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. Ten years later Queen Victoria similarly awarded the gunmakers her Royal Warrant. The Company has remained the monarch's gunmaker ever since, and has served almost all of the royal families of Europe. In addition to guns and rifles, the Company also sells clothing and accessories for shooting. See the box

It is not surprising therefore that this pack, produced in 2019, portrays the court cards, which have an attractive silvery effect, holding and displaying pistols, guns or rifles. Although the suit signs are standard they are all shaded or hatched, so adding a lightness and delicacy to the overall impact.

James Purdey & Sons Signature playing cards, London, 2019 James Purdey & Sons Signature playing cards, London, 2019

Above: James Purdey & Sons Signature playing cards, London, 2019.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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