The World of Playing Cards Logo

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.

Notched Construction Cards

Two Notched Construction Card Sets by Shackman & Co, N.Y. 1970s.

“Early Americana” Notched Construction Card Set

Early Americana Notched Construction Card Set by Shackman & Co Early Americana Notched Construction Card Set by Shackman & Co Early Americana Notched Construction Card Set by Shackman & Co

Above: Early Americana Notched Construction Card Set produced by Shackman & Co., 54 notched cards so that simple or complex constructions are possible, plus extra card. Also published by Merrimack Publishing Co. with different box & backs, printed in Hong Kong, c.1960s or 70s.


Alice in Wonderland Notched Card Set

Reproduced from the original antique set by Thomas de la Rue featuring John Tenniel illustrations and published by Merrimack Publishing Corp c.1970s. Merrimack published a range of paper products including repro Victorian children's books, colouring books, paper dolls, party decorations etc. They also published several repro decks: a Whitman Fortune Telling deck, Lenormand deck, repro Cotta Transformation decks, etc. You used to be able to buy them at Shackman's.

Alice in Wonderland Notched Card Set featuring John Tenniel illustrations Alice in Wonderland Notched Card Set featuring John Tenniel illustrations Alice in Wonderland Notched Card Set featuring John Tenniel illustrations
Alice in Wonderland Notched Card Set featuring John Tenniel illustrations
Alice in Wonderland Notched Card Set featuring John Tenniel illustrations

Above: Alice in Wonderland Notched Card Construction & Building Set produced by Shackman's for Merrimack Publishing Corp., reproduced from the original antique set featuring John Tenniel illustrations and published by Thomas De La Rue c.1900 see here

Established in 1898 Shackman & Co had an online website and mail order business selling novelty toys and reproductions of antique and vintage toys and paper ephemera that operated out of Michigan until 2018. The last post on their Facebook page was in January 2018 and the website is now defunct see here

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By Sean Comstock

Member since July 27, 2019

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Notched Construction Cards

Notched Construction Cards

Two Notched Construction Card Sets by Shackman & Co, N.Y. 1970s.

Alice

Alice

Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.

Roundup

Roundup

Roundup card game by Whitman Publishing, 1951.

Wonderland Misfitz

Wonderland Misfitz

Wonderland Misfitz by C.W. Faulkner & Co. Ltd, c.1908.

Gunfighters

Gunfighters

Gunfighters playing cards from the Wild West Series by SPCC, 2018.

Notgeld - Emergen¢y Money

Notgeld - Emergen¢y Money

Notgeld - Emergency Money - was in rare cases issued on playing cards.

Native American Warriors

Native American Warriors

Native American Warriors from the Wild West Series published by SPCC, 2018.

Mundialito de Radiolandia 2000

Mundialito de Radiolandia 2000

‘Mundialito’ toy football playing cards published inside the magazine ‘Radiolandia 2000’, Argentina, 1978.

Riders of the Range

Riders of the Range

Riders of the Range by Pepys, 1953.

Alice

Alice

Alice card game published by Pepys in 1952, based on the Walt Disney film “Alice in Wonderland”.

Magic Poker Cards

Magic Poker Cards

“Magic Poker Cards” are often found inside Christmas crackers along with party hats, puzzles and jokes...

State Historical Society of Wisconsin

State Historical Society of Wisconsin

Souvenir deck from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin containing photographs from museum collections and archives on each card.

Southern Pacific Souvenir

Southern Pacific Souvenir

Southern Pacific Souvenir of the Golden West playing cards - Sunset, American Canyon and Shasta Routes - published by the Interstate Company exclusively for Southern Pacific News Service, c.1915.

Space Puzzles

Space Puzzles

The Space Puzzles Game published by Gametoy Development Co., Inc, Orlando, Fl, 1991.

Superman

Superman

Superman World Hero™ playing cards made in Belgium by Carta Mundi

McDonald’s Playing Cards

McDonald’s Playing Cards

McDonald’s playing cards by the United States Playing Card Co., Cincinnati, c.1997

Billiken Minicartas

Billiken Minicartas

Children’s toy cards published in Argentina by Editorial Atlántida in the magazine “Billiken”, 1964.

Globe Card Company

Globe Card Company

“Globe Playing Cards” patented on Oct. 6, 1874 by I. N. Richardson.

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland card game based on original designs by Sir John Tenniel published by Thomas De la Rue & Co. Ltd, c.1900

Alice in Wonderland Snap

Alice in Wonderland Snap

Alice in Wonderland “Snap” 1 penny game from 1920s or 30s, made in Germany, anonymous manufacturer.

Birkel Schwarzer Peter

Birkel Schwarzer Peter

The Birkel company has produced several promotional “Schwarzer Peter” packs over the years and this one is themed on the circus.

Kamarát Toy Cards

Kamarát Toy Cards

Kamarát miniature toy playing cards from Czechoslovakia.

President Suspender

President Suspender

An historic American advertising deck for the C. A. Edgarton Mfg Company, manufacturers of the President Suspender (known as “braces” in England) depicting U.S. Presidents and First Ladies on the courts.

The Steamboat Brand

The Steamboat Brand

The theme of steamboats navigating up and down the Mississippi also extended to the cotton plantations alongside the river and to African American people employed therein who were sometimes depicted on the special Joker card.

Steamboats No.99

Steamboats No.99

Steamboats No.99 was one of a number of brands produced by the American Playing Card Co. of Kalamazoo.

Charles Bartlet

Charles Bartlet

Elaborate court cards on a deck by Charles Bartlet, Philadelphia, (who was in fact Samuel Hart) c.1845-60. The pip cards are double-ended. The date may be somewhere between c.1845-65.

Wild West

Wild West

Wild West card game published by Pepys, 1963.

Secondary Uses

Secondary Uses

The unprinted backs of playing cards have led people to use them for secondary purposes such as memorandum slips, bibliographic index cards, for declarations of love, rendezvous notes, emergency money, visiting cards and so on.

Anonymous Novelty Cards

Anonymous Novelty Cards

Miniature novelty playing cards from the late 1940s or early 1950s with a charm of their own. Probably published as small prizes at fairground or seaside amusement arcades.

National Card Co.

National Card Co.

The National Card Co. was formed in c.1886 by Samuel J Murray, who as a young man had worked in England in Charles Goodall's playing card factory. In 1881 he moved to Cincinnati and became an employee of Russell & Morgan playing card manufacturers. In 1886 he left Russell & Morgan and moved to Indianapolis to establish the National Card Company.

Miniature Playing Cards

Miniature Playing Cards

Crudely printed miniature children's packs produced anonymously in c.1920-30.

Miniature Playing Cards

Miniature Playing Cards

Miniature Playing Cards from around the world.

Naipes Hijitus

Naipes Hijitus

Naipes HIJITUS playing cards were published during the mid-1980s as an insert in the children’s comic Anteojito.

The History of Playing Cards

The History of Playing Cards

Playing Cards have been around in Europe since the 1370s. Some early packs were hand painted works of art which were expensive and affordable only by the wealthy. But as demand increased cheaper methods of production were discovered so that playing cards became available for everyone...

Playing Cards in other cards

Playing Cards in other cards

Secondary applications of playing cards.