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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.

Military Pin Up

Military Pin Up created by Sviatoslay Pashchuk (Ukraine) 2019.

Military Pin Up playing cards is the latest deck created by Sviatoslay Pashchuk (Ukraine) and produced by NPCC. Sviatoslay Pashchuk is a great fan of Gil Elvgren. The cards feature gorgeous pin-up style images of models with an armed forces flavour, who will be waiting for their men back home... read the full story on kickstarter
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Military Pin Up playing cards created by Sviatoslay Pashchuk, 2019 Military Pin Up playing cards created by Sviatoslay Pashchuk, 2019 Military Pin Up playing cards created by Sviatoslay Pashchuk, 2019

Above: Military Pin Up playing cards created by Sviatoslay Pashchuk, 2019. 52 cards, with custom courts, two jokers, one extra pin-up card and a double-back card (for use by magicians). Images courtesy Matt Probert.

Military Pin Up playing cards created by Sviatoslay Pashchuk, 2019
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By Matt Probert

Member since March 02, 2012

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I have adored playing cards since before I was seven years old, and was brought up on packs of Waddington's No 1. As a child I was fascinated by the pictures of the court cards.

Over the next fifty years I was seduced by the artwork in Piatnik's packs and became a collector of playing cards.

Seeking more information about various unidentified packs I discovered the World of Playing Cards website and became an enthusiastic contributor researching and documenting different packs of cards.

I describe my self as a playing card archaeologist, using detective work to identify and date obscure packs of cards discovered in old houses, flea markets and car boot sales.

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Sergeant-Major

Sergeant-Major

Sergeant-Major card game devised by W.G.Smith

Vargas Girls

Vargas Girls

‘Vargas Girls’ paintings by Alberto Vargas in a deck of cards published by Creative Playing Card Co Missouri.

The Art of Pin-Up decks

The Art of Pin-Up decks

Feminine beauty has been appreciated since prehistory.

Portraits of a Lady

Portraits of a Lady

Portraits of a Lady by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.

Pin-up deck no.5513

Pin-up deck no.5513

Celebrity Pin-up deck no.5513 by unknown publisher.

Pulp Pin-Up

Pulp Pin-Up

Classic 1940s Pulp Pin-Up covers on playing cards from China, c.2010.

Römihártya

Römihártya

Römihártya pin-up deck from Hungary.

Anma US Armed Forces

Anma US Armed Forces

Anma US Armed Forces, 1942.

Eroticartes

Eroticartes

Eroticartes with drawings by Pino Zac, 1983.

Baby Dolls

Baby Dolls

Baby Dolls pinup deck designed by Willy Mayrl, published by Piatnik, 1957.

Darling

Darling

Darling pin-up playing cards designed by Heinz Villiger, c.1950s-60s.

Römihártya Játékkartyagyár

Römihártya Játékkartyagyár

Pin-up Rummy Playing Cards, made in Hungary, c.1970.

Naval and Military Families

Naval and Military Families

Naval and Military Families produced by Prince and Princess Louis of Battenberg, printed by Ernst Nister of Nuremberg, c.1905-10.

Bathing Beauties

Bathing Beauties

Bathing Beauties throughout the ages, published in Hungary, 1967.

Tease Me

Tease Me

‘Tease Me’ 1960s glamour pack.

On Guard

On Guard

On Guard military card game published by J. Jaques & Son, c.1880.

54 Pin-up Motivs

54 Pin-up Motivs

Hungarian pin-up deck illustrated by Imre Sebök, c.1960.

Patriotic Misfitz

Patriotic Misfitz

Patriotic Misfitz published by C.W Faulkner & Co, Ltd, c.1906.

Chérie

Chérie

Chérie No 7022 designed by Hans & Louise Neupert, nice vibrant artwork, swinging 60s

Mayall Press Art Studies

Mayall Press Art Studies

Photographic playing cards - each face having an "art study" of a female nude, Mayall Press, Stockwell, London, c.1946.

What the Butler Saw

What the Butler Saw

“What the Butler Saw” playing cards depicting tasteful photography of the female body.

Victory

Victory

“Victory” by Pepys Games, a splendid game with caricatures of British and German leaders, published in 1940.

Hollywood Stars

Hollywood Stars

Hollywood Stars by Maple Leaf B.V., Amsterdam, 1957

DC Comic Bombshells

DC Comic Bombshells

Stylish playing cards featuring the glamorous, superpowered female stars of the alternate reality world of DC Comics, published by 'Forbidden Planet', 2015

Cavalry Game

Cavalry Game

The “Cavalry Game” manufactured by Thomas de la Rue & Co Ltd, c.1900-10.

Olivia’s Lucky Ladies

Olivia’s Lucky Ladies

“Olivia’s Lucky Ladies” glamour model playing cards produced by Ozone Productions Ltd, USA, 2004

Playboy Fragrances, 2010

Playboy Fragrances, 2010

In 2010 Playboy Fragrances (Coty) released a 'gaming' set promotion comprising two decks of identical cards, one set of five dice and poker chips.

Ordnance Recognition

Ordnance Recognition

Ordnance Recognition Playing Cards cards designed to help people at risk from unexploded bombs

ARRCO

ARRCO

ARRCO Playing Card Co., Chicago, c.1935 - c.1970s.

Shapely

Shapely

“Shapely” non-standard adult playing cards manufactured by Angel Playing Cards Co., Japan, 1980

Paparazzi Pin-up Deck

Paparazzi Pin-up Deck

Pin-up deck given free with Paparazzi magazine, 2005

Glorious Colección 1995

Glorious Colección 1995

Spanish-suited playing cards featuring the ‘Glorious’ ladies swimwear collection for 1995, designed by Estudio Fileni/Mendióroz.

Global Unrest Playing Cards

Global Unrest Playing Cards

Global Unrest uses a traditional playing card style mixed with a WWII military twist..

Bavarian Military Cards

Bavarian Military Cards

The King of Acorns is supposed to represent Prince Otto; the King of Leaves is Maximilian II; the King of Bells is Ludwig II; the King of Hearts is Ludwig I wearing a general's uniform. The court cards are all male, but some of the numeral cards depict women.

Anheuser-Busch Army & Navy

Anheuser-Busch Army & Navy

This deck is commonly known as the “Anheuser-Busch Spanish-American War deck”, issued at the end of the war.

26th Yankee Division

26th Yankee Division

“26th Yankee Division Playing Cards” was designed by Alban B. Butler, Jr and printed by the Press of the Woolly Whale, New York, in 1933.

Hard-a-Port

Hard-a-Port

Tobacco insert cards were a very successful marketing innovation which started in the nineteenth century.

Army & Navy No.303

Army & Navy No.303

Over the years eight different Aces of Spades were used with this brand and the Joker was also modified several times.

Army No.303

Army No.303

The Joker is particularly persuasive, whilst the Ace of Spades has a battle scene involving artillery, with Navy ships in the distance and the statue of the goddess of Freedom in the middle.

Soldaten Tarock

Soldaten Tarock

Piatnik was known for their magnificent quality of chromo-lithographic printing, and this facsimile, or reprint, of “Soldaten Tarock No. 217” is virtually as magnificent as the original.