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Published March 18, 2023 Updated March 25, 2023

Shakespeare Playing Cards

Kickstarter-funded modern remake of the 1902 classic pack, perfect for Shakespeare (1564-1616) and literature fans.

2023 Ukraine Noir Arts Trient Playing Cards Maksym Lebedyk Kickstarter Literature Luxury Shakespeare Theatre Add to Collection
The front of the Shakespeare Playing Card box, designed by Maksym Lebedyk

Above: the front of the Shakespeare Playing Card box, designed by Maksym Lebedyk.

The tuck box seal, features the comedy and tragedy masks of theatre, pays homage to Shakespeare's iconic plays

Above: the tuck box seal, features the comedy and tragedy masks of theatre which pays homage to Shakespeare's iconic plays.

Shakespeare Playing Cards, produced by Noir Arts and Trient Playing Cards, is a recreation of the Shakespearean pack first illustrated by Colin Tilney and produced by Swan Sonnenschein & Co Ltd. in 1902, with subsequent editions by Waddingtons and Faulkner. This new edition was made possible through a Kickstarter campaign, which gained support from 237 backers who pledged $18,004. The cards were designed by Ukrainian artist Maksym Lebedyk and are part of a three-deck collection that also includes the Classic Black and Antique editions.

X-Men Playing Cards published by Marvel Comics featuring iconic X-Men character Woverine on the box. Manufactred by United States Playing Card Company, 1993

Above Top: the King of Diamonds featuring King Claudius from Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet; Above Bottom: shows Friar Laurce on the Jack of Hearts from Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, with the Maksym Lebedyk version on the left and Colin Tilney version on the right.

The Royal Burgundy edition (reviewed here) stands out from the Classic Black and Antique Edition with its rich burgundy colour scheme. The card face designs are digitally created and similar to those of the original editions. The tuck box, made from premium matte soft-touch cardstock, showcases intricate embossed elements and incorporates metallic golden ink typical of a luxury collectable deck.

This new edition stays true to its Shakespearean roots, with each suit representing different aspects of the playwright's works. The court cards are organised into suits based on their thematic associations with gentler emotions (Hearts), wealth or greed (Diamonds), aggressiveness and strife (Clubs), and the tragic methods of schemers (Spades).

The Kickstarter campaign for these decks provided stretch goals such as a custom seal (shown above) and interior foil for all tuck boxes. The Royal Burgundy edition features gold and silver foils, high-quality German cardstock, and a premium linen finish provided by Noir Arts Card Company (NPCC).

The pack contains 52 playing cards and three jokers, two featuring the character Touchstone the jester and one of Hamlet.

The front of the Shakespeare Playing Card box, designed by Maksym Lebedyk

Above: the front of the Shakespeare Playing Card box, designed by Maksym Lebedyk.

The tuck box seal, features the comedy and tragedy masks of theatre, pays homage to Shakespeare's iconic plays

Above: the tuck box seal, features the comedy and tragedy masks of theatre which pays homage to Shakespeare's iconic plays.


Shakespeare Playing Cards by Noir Arts Shakespeare Playing Cards by Noir Arts

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By Adam Wintle

Member since March 15, 1997

Adam has been involved in developing the site as well as reviewing new decks and conducting research. He is particularly interested in innovation, Kickstarter and East Asian cards. He is a member of the IPCS and webmaster of the EPCS.


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