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Vintage Playing Cards

Since their initial development, the history or origin of playing cards have been associated with chance, fate, fortune telling, magic, games and gambling.

They appear to have evolved from the use of natural objects such as bones, nuts, rocks, sticks and shells.

Playing Cards appeared in France about 1360 and the standard suit signs symbols used in the United States today, spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs, were first designed by the French.

These four suits signs or symbols originally represented the four divisions of society: Playing card meaning - spades as the royalty and the military, hearts as clergy or priesthood, diamonds as merchants and clubs as the peasantry.

Vintage Playing Cards For Sale

The first playing card company to produce playing cards in the United States is believed to be Jazaniah Ford of Milton, Mass. around the late 1700s. Other early American playing card makers include Louis Cohen, Lawrence & Cohen, Samuel Hart, Andrew Dougherty and the Union Card Co.

The field of vintage antique playing cards collecting is immense and there are cards that can appeal to many interests. Playing card images or design that have appealing backs featuring pictures of dogs, cats, flowers, or intricate designs are highly collectible. There are literally thousands of such decks and collectors often acquire single samples from decks which they usually keep in albums much like photo albums. Included in this class of collector is the collector of Jokers. Decks of playing cards have included a Joker since the late 1800s and they do indeed come in many varied and interesting forms. The playing card Joker is considered to be a vital part of the deck and without it the deck is considered to be incomplete.

Another area related to the collecting of playing cards are cards used to advertise businesses, products or services. Advertising decks are just about as numerous as those with pictorial backs. The idea of using playing cards for advertising is an old one and a deck advertising a product that has been off the market for ages is worth more than a recent deck advertising something current. Then there is the collecting of souvenir decks issued by World Fairs and Exposition, personalized playing cards, custom playing cards, promotional playing cards, jumbo playing cards, collectible playing cards, beer breweriana playing cards, novelty playing cards, and Disney.

Decks of playing cards are often miniature works of arts, and the immense diversity of deck designs created over the centuries, offer a collector a never ending source of information and pleasure.

Playing Cards


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