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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.

Sovereigns of England

Sovereigns of England published by Jaques & Son, c.1875. .

Sovereigns of England card game was first published by Jaques & Son around 1860-70 and reprinted many times. Each card shows an engraving of a former king or queen against a white background. The first card shows William I, the Norman Conqueror who became King of England after defeating King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Sovereigns of England card game, Jaques & Son Ltd c.1895 Sovereigns of England card game, Jaques & Son Ltd c.1895 Sovereigns of England card game, Jaques & Son Ltd c.1895 Sovereigns of England card game, Jaques & Son Ltd c.1895 Sovereigns of England card game, Jaques & Son Ltd c.1895

Above: cards from Sovereigns of England game, Jaques & Son Ltd c.1895.