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Published August 13, 2016 Updated April 22, 2023

Shakespearean

Shakespearean Playing Cards designed by Frederick Colin Tilney, made by John Waddington Limited, 1932-3.

1932 United Kingdom Waddingtons Frederick Colin Tilney Art & Design Art Nouveau & Jugendstil Literature Shakespeare Add to Collection
Shakespeare playing cards

Designed by Frederick Colin Tilney, made by John Waddington Ltd c.1932-3.

The characters of the court cards are chosen from Shakespeare's plays and are arranged into the four suits as follows: Hearts for the gentler emotions; Diamonds for wealth or greed; Clubs for aggressiveness and strife; Spades for the tragic methods of schemers. The quotation on each card consists of words spoken by the character depicted, and the phrases have been chosen with a view to the temperament and the leading episode of the character; at the same time being applicable to the hopes and fears involved in card-playing. See the box

Shakespeare playing cards c.1932-3 Shakespeare playing cards c.1932-3 Shakespeare playing cards c.1932-3

Above: Shakespearean playing cards, designed by the author and illustrator Frederick Colin Tilney, made by John Waddington Limited c.1932-3. The pack includes a Joker card impersonating Touchstone plus an explanatory leaflet. The Ace of Spades bears laurels in the form of a lyre.

• See single boxdouble plastic box, c.1975 which also included a leaflet

Around 1985, A.S.S. of Leinfelden took over the printing of these cards for Waddingtons and issued them in one of their typical drop-lid boxes. In the A.S.S. printing, there was no leaflet. Instead, the same information as on the leaflet was printed on two additional cards, one in each pack. Single packs were also issued around this time. On the back of the purple box (A.S.S. printing), one can read "Made in W. Germany". After German reunification in 1989, this was changed to "Made in Germany". - R.S.

Note: The first edition of this pack appeared in 1904, published by Swan Sonnenschein & Co Ltd, Paternoster Square, London, and printed by Bemrose & Sons Ltd.

See also:   Faulkner & Co Shakespeare PackShakespearean MisfitzGoodall & Sons Shakespeare 300th AnniversaryShakespeare by Piatnik

Shakespearean playing cards, 1978

Above: a later edition of Tilney's Shakespearean playing cards, published by Waddingtons Playing Card Co. Ltd as a 1978 desk-top calendar with the calendar for one week of the year on the back of each card along with a quotation from one of Shakespeare's plays. 52 cards + 2 jokers.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.

1 comments

Millie-Rose's Avatar'

I seem to have acquired a pack of these that each have gold edges and come in 2 boxes one of which is golden. Any idea how much this would be worth?


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