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Published November 24, 2023 Updated November 24, 2023

Romeo and Juliet playing cards

Romeo and Juliet playing cards illustrated by Belgian artist Virginie Carquin 2016.

2016 USA United States Playing Card Co. Bicycle Nam Tibon Virginie Carquin Kickstarter Shakespeare Add to Collection

Produced by Bryan Sloan of LUX Playing Cards, and published via Kickstarter in 2016, this two-pack project is devoted to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The new and original portraits on the court cards were created by the Belgian artist Virginie Carquin.

The King of Hearts (typically known as the "Suicide King") portrays Romeo, while Juliet is shown as the Queen. Shakespeare is the Jack of Hearts. Both are portrayed moments before their tragic end. Juliet has the dagger, while Romeo has the poison bought from the Apothecary. The Ace of Hearts shows Romeo and Juliet together. The Capulets (Lord and Lady Capulet, and Tybalt) are represented on the Clubs, and the Montagues (Lord and Lady Montague, and Mercutio) on the Diamond suit. The Spades portray other characters from the play: the Apothecary, the nurse to the Capulets, and Friar Lawrence. The Ace shows Shakespeare vignette.

Romeo and Juliet playing cards produced by Bryan Sloan of LUX Playing Cards, and published via Kickstarter in 2016 Romeo and Juliet playing cards produced by Bryan Sloan of LUX Playing Cards, and published via Kickstarter in 2016 Romeo and Juliet playing cards produced by Bryan Sloan of LUX Playing Cards, and published via Kickstarter in 2016

Above: Romeo and Juliet playing cards produced by Bryan Sloan of LUX Playing Cards, and published via Kickstarter in 2016.

Both packs have a guide card to the characters, and a gaff card, and are identical except for the Jokers. One shows Romeo entering the tomb of the Capulet family where Juliet rests, the other shows Juliet herself. The boxes are different too. One pack has been produced in a Bicycle branded tuck box (illustrated by card artist Nam Tibon), while the second tuck box is not Bicycle branded.

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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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