hist-games: Early playing cards

Loud Creek Books & Bindery loudcreek at worldnet.att.net
Tue Dec 19 09:54:02 PST 2000


While finding images of such cards on the deck (early cards) is difficult.
There are indeed a large number of images available in print. With a large
number of German decks of the 15th and early 16 century widely available. It
is important to remember that playing cards of this period varied widely
from country to country with varying suit signs and number of cards per deck
being important considerations. The Germans for instance had wide variations
in what suits comprised a deck within their own borders. Suits such as
hunting horns, nooses, dog collars etc not being uncommon. Even today the
German suit markings are different than those used by the French and

Early on "mass" produced decks are very rare indeed. Most surviving decks
from the period you specified are those intended for private use by royalty
/ the wealthy. The few "mass produced" decks from this period are
considerably different than their more noble counterparts. Being rather
plain and crude in design.

If you could be more specific as to what country you are interested in and
what game is to be played and who would use them I could recommend a
resource. Or I could probaby be convinced to post on a temporary basis scans
of such cards. I have about 400 references in my own personal library and
quite a few more in our store stock.

Kurt Klappenbach
Loud Creek Books & Bindery
<<<Specializing in Books on>>>
<<<Playing Cards>>>
 <<<Card Games>>>
P.O. Box 8120
Bangor, ME   04402-8120
loudcreek at att.net

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