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Published July 28, 2022 Updated July 31, 2022

Ukrainian souvenir playing cards

Ukrains’ki karti gral’ni suvenirni / Ukrainian souvenir playing cards designed by Andrii Letn’ov, c.2012.

2012 Ukraine Deluxe Andrii Letn’ov Folklore Souvenir Add to Collection

Ukrainian souvenir playing cards designed by Andrii Letn’ov. Suits are non-standard: Spades are purple tulips; Diamonds are represented by a Ukrainian bagpipe; Hearts are red roses; Clubs resemble blueberries, arranged in a Club-like shape. Court cards are not named and are portrayed in historic / folkloric costume.

Ukrainian souvenir playing cards designed by Andrii Letn’ov, c.2012

Note: the Ukrainian bagpipe, seen above as the Diamonds suit symbol, is commonly known as a “duda”. Duda [дуда; bagpipe; also known as волинка (volynka), коза (koza), баран (baran), and міх (mikh)]. A folk musical instrument that has been played in Ukraine since the 16th century.

Ukrainian souvenir playing cards designed by Andrii Letn’ov, c.2012 Ukrainian souvenir playing cards designed by Andrii Letn’ov, c.2012

Above: Ukrainian souvenir playing cards designed by Andrii Letn’ov. Made by Deluxe of Odessa, probably produced c. 2012 (although no date of publication is indicated on either the cards or the tuck box). Larger-than-average 54 card pack (11 cm x 7 cm).

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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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