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Published April 05, 2023 Updated April 05, 2023

The Forces’ Favourites

The Forces’ Favourites playing cards with glamorous illustrations by David Wright, United Kingdom, 2006.

2006 United Kingdom British Heritage Ltd David Wright Pin-up Wartime Add to Collection

Produced in 2006 by British Heritage Ltd., this is a fully illustrated pack of playing cards featuring glamour pin-ups from the 1940s. The artist was David Wright (1912-1967), an outstanding erotic artist of the day, whose work first appeared in The Sketch magazine in January 1941, and continued regularly throughout the War and beyond to 1951 in a series of 169 illustrations. The illustrations established him as one of the most popular pin-up artists during World War II. In the 1950s he continued drawing in a similar style for Men Only. See the box

The cards (which have 4-corner indices) present a series of "lovelies" that epitomised female glamour during World War II, and beneath them are the original captions. An additional card provides information about the artist and describes the pin-ups as “willowy, long-legged, pert-breasted women, often in stockings” more

The Forces’ Favourites pin-up playing cards produced by British Heritage Ltd, United Kingdom, 2006 The Forces’ Favourites pin-up playing cards produced by British Heritage Ltd, United Kingdom, 2006 The Forces’ Favourites pin-up playing cards produced by British Heritage Ltd, United Kingdom, 2006

Above: The Forces’ Favourites pin-up playing cards produced by British Heritage Ltd, United Kingdom, 2006.

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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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