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Published April 10, 2023 Updated April 10, 2023

Sherlock Holmes illustrated playing cards

Sherlock Holmes playing cards with illustrations by Sidney Paget, United Kingdom

United Kingdom Cultzilla Sherlock Holmes Sidney Paget Literature Add to Collection

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930) created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 for A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and Dr Watson  more

This pack was produced by Cultzilla and features the first 44 Sherlock Holmes stories and the four novels (the latter depicted on the kings). The remaining four cards, the aces, show artefacts closely associated to the detective’s life and work: a magnifying glass, violin, pipe, and microscope. The jokers present full-length drawings of Mycroft Holmes and Moriarty. See the box

Adopting the same approach as that taken for their Shakespeare pack, the publisher has used 19th century artwork on each card - in this case reproduced primarily from the illustrations of the British artist Sidney Paget (1860-1908) from the Strand Magazine.

Sherlock Holmes illustrated playing cards produced by Cultzilla, UK Sherlock Holmes illustrated playing cards produced by Cultzilla, UK Sherlock Holmes illustrated playing cards produced by Cultzilla, UK

Above: Sherlock Holmes playing cards with illustrations by Sidney Paget, produced by Cultzilla, UK.

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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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