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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.

1423 Articles

Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

The latest articles from Simon Wintle

Hall & Son

Hall & Son • May 03, 2022


Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824. • Jan 17, 2022


Dubois card makers from Liège in the Walloon Region of Belgium. • Dec 28, 2021

Transformation Cards for Christmas

Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870. • Dec 25, 2021

A. Camoin & Cie

This deck was inherited from ancestors, it has has a family history surrounding it. Details of the lives of previous owners make it all so fascinating. • Nov 26, 2021

Bosch Puzzle Playing Cards

Bosch Puzzle Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba, 2020. • Sep 25, 2021

Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

We are deeply saddened by news of the passing of Anthony Rex Pitts (1940-2021). • Aug 19, 2021

Andere Zeiten - Andere Kleider

‘History of fashion’ cultural quartet game designed by Erika Werner-Nestler, 1954. • May 18, 2021

Netherlands Kostuum Kwartet

Dutch costumes quartet game designed by Gerard Huijg, 1983. • May 16, 2021

Nederlands Stedenkwartet

Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970. • May 13, 2021

Toledo, 1584

Archaic Spanish-suited deck with 48 cards made in Toledo in 1584. • Mar 23, 2021

Gambling and Vice in the Middle Ages

Gambling and Vice in the Hours of Charles V: card-playing in the local tavern • Feb 09, 2021

Asperge Kwartet

Asperge Kwartet published by Knorr. • Jan 08, 2021

Christmas Playing Cards

Christmas Playing Cards published by Novelty Playing Cards, Syracuse, New York, 1986. • Dec 25, 2020


Playing cards were traditionally sold inside paper wrappers, which were usually thrown away. • Dec 23, 2020


Nature Quartet game published by Staatsbosbeheer, printed by Roem Speelkaarten, Kampen. • Nov 12, 2020

Sprookjes Kwartet

Fairy Tales quartet published by Heinrich Schwarz + Co for Dutch market, c.1970. • Nov 09, 2020

Timothy Curtis Art

Timothy Curtis Art custom Bicycle playing cards, 2018. • Apr 12, 2020


“Cefacidal” / Mead Johnson medical humour advertising playing cards, c.1975. • Mar 26, 2020


As we are becoming separated from friends and families we worked with the Solitaired team to customize this game using traditional woodblock courts. • Mar 20, 2020

Welsh Language Playing Cards

Welsh Language Playing Cards designed by Richard Ruston-Burgess, made in Wales, 2020. • Feb 24, 2020

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair No.41 Playing Cards by the United States Playing Card Co, 1895. All the number cards have been imaginatively transformed. • Nov 21, 2019

Squared Faro #366

Squared Faro #366 by Russell & Morgan Co. first issued in 1887. • Nov 14, 2019

Friendly Felines

‘Friendly Felines’ playing cards designed by Azured Ox, 2017. • Sep 25, 2019

Bicycle Cybertech

Bicycle Cybertech playing cards inspired by cyberpunk genre, illustrated by Jamie Meza, 2019. • Sep 25, 2019

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland playing cards designed by Sasha Dounaevski, 2018. • Sep 20, 2019

Fungi Mycological Playing Cards

Mystic Mushrooms Playing Cards, 2018. • Sep 09, 2019

Egyptian Tarot

Egyptian Tarot published by Naipes La Banca, Buenos Aires, c.1980. • Aug 21, 2019

Naipes Criollos

“Naipes Criollos” Gaucho playing cards, 1995. • Aug 18, 2019

Naipes Cardón

Naipes Cardón designed by Mario Luis Rivero depicting traditional Argentine culture and identity, 2002. • Aug 12, 2019

El Oráculo de la Bruja

“El Oráculo de la Bruja” fortune-telling cards, 2003. • Aug 12, 2019

Gundlach Skat No.100

Skat No.100 by E. Gundlach, Bielefeld, 1949. • Jun 24, 2019

Hesslers Rider Back Playing Cards

Hesslers Rider Back Playing Cards with two different coloured backs, 2019. • Jun 22, 2019

Martín Fierro

Naipes “Martín Fierro” based on the epic poem by José Hernandez. • May 24, 2019

On The Cards

A Motley Pack - transformation playing cards & ‘On The Cards’ book facsimile published by Sunish Chabba, 2019. • May 16, 2019

Boxing Greats

Boxing Greats published by KickarseCards, a compilation of boxing icons in history. • May 11, 2019

Views of New Zealand

Views of New Zealand published by G.B.Scott Souvenirs, Auckland, c.1960. • Mar 22, 2019

The Four Worlds

The Four Worlds playing cards by artist Aleksey Zhiryakov in the stylistic traditions of Palekh, 2018. • Mar 12, 2019


Gunfighters playing cards from the Wild West Series by SPCC, 2018. • Feb 20, 2019

Atouts de la Vie

“Atouts de la Vie” wartime card game created by Madame Lucien Willemetz, c.1940. • Feb 08, 2019

Prisoners of War

Hand-made playing cards by French prisoners of war in Porchester Castle, Hampshire, c.1796. • Feb 06, 2019

Ocean to Ocean Canada Souvenir

“Ocean to Ocean” Canadian Pictorial Souvenir pack by Chas Goodall & Son Ltd, c.1912. • Dec 10, 2018

Iohann Christoph Hes Tarot c.1750

Facsimile of Tarot de Marseille by Iohann Christoph Hes, Augsburg, c.1750. • Dec 09, 2018


Kalevala playing cards by Sunish Chabba and Ishan Trivedi inspired by ancient Finnish mythology. • Nov 07, 2018

Notgeld - Emergen¢y Money

Notgeld - Emergency Money - was in rare cases issued on playing cards. • Nov 03, 2018

Chicken Playing Cards

Chicken Playing Cards designed by Susan Krupp, 2017. • Oct 07, 2018