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Published September 11, 2023 Updated September 11, 2023

Royal Hawaiian playing cards

Royal Hawaiian playing cards published by the Royal Hawaiian Playing Card Company, Honolulu.

1978 USA Piatnik Royal Hawaiian Playing Card Co. Royalty Add to Collection

Published as a boxed double pack by the Royal Hawaiian Playing Card Company, Honolulu, in 1978, the conventional court cards are replaced with magnificent portraits of Hawaiian royalty, who existed during the period 1795, when King Kamehameha I was proclaimed king until 1893 when Queen Liliuokalani was dethroned. The joker is the Menehune – old Hawaii’s legendary, fun-loving “little folk”, and the card backs bear the coat-of-arms of the Hawaiian Kingdom. An extra card details the individual kings, queens and princes on the court cards, and an explanatory booklet provides brief biographies of the royalty shown. See the booklet

Royal Hawaiian playing cards published by the Royal Hawaiian Playing Card Company, Honolulu, in 1978 Royal Hawaiian playing cards published by the Royal Hawaiian Playing Card Company, Honolulu, in 1978 Royal Hawaiian playing cards published by the Royal Hawaiian Playing Card Company, Honolulu, in 1978

Above: Royal Hawaiian playing cards published by the Royal Hawaiian Playing Card Company, Honolulu, in 1978.

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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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