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Published November 26, 2022 Updated November 11, 2023

Whyte & Mackay Lucky Lions

Whyte & Mackay Lucky Lions playing cards, United Kingdom, 2017

2017 United Kingdom Advertising Distillery minimalist Sports Whisky Add to Collection

This pack was produced as part of the sponsorship deal between the British & Irish Lions and drinks brand Whyte & Mackay in advance of the Lions’ 2017 rugby tour of New Zealand.

It has elegant, minimalist designs against a black background, with the red suits shown as small black squares within a red oblong, and the black suits shown as black squares within a gold oblong. The cards have red gilt on the edges. A golden lion image adorns the card backs. The deck has 52 suited cards, plus 3 jokers.

Bryan Donaghey, CEO for Whyte & Mackay, commented on the company website “The double lion icon has been part of our brand heritage since the beginning, and that’s just one parallel between the Whyte & Mackay brand and The British & Irish Lions. We are both brilliantly blended – while the Lions take the best rugby players and bring them together for great results, here at Whyte & Mackay, we combine the best single malt and grain whiskies to create our award-winning blended whisky. We can’t wait to join the pride.”

Whyte & Mackay Lucky Lions playing cards, United Kingdom, 2017 Whyte & Mackay Lucky Lions playing cards, United Kingdom, 2017

Above: Whyte & Mackay Lucky Lions playing cards, United Kingdom, 2017

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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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