hist-games: Playing cards books

Michael and Susan McKay seaan at concentric.net
Wed Jul 10 00:38:06 PDT 2002

Thanks Kurt for putting together that list of books.  I wanted to give some
website links, and provide a bit more additional information about Kurt's

>From the hist-games website:

>From the playing-cards website:

A number of the books mentioned by Kurt are very hard to find (although
since I see he has a book store, I'd be really interested in knowing if they
carry any of the rare ones).  You will also find that most books don't
devote the space to displaying full decks of cards (typically not showing
number cards, or only a few excerpts).

A couple of the easiest to find (and cheapest) books with playing card
patterns are Dover reprints, specifically:

Antique Playing Cards, by Henry Rene D'Allemange
A History of Playing Cards, by Catherine Perry Hargrave

Here are some (random) comments on the books Kurt mentioned:

Fournier Museum: Playing Cards, General History from thier Creation to the
Present Day. (This is now a four vol. set but the first is the most useful).

>> Volume I is now only available as a two volume set (along with II), but
was surprisingly cheap (compared to most European books - around $50-70 if I
recall correctly).  Highly recommended for historical cards.

Denning, Trevor: The Playing Cards of Spain.

>> Last year I spotted this book discounted on remainder in the US.

Hargrave, Catherine: A History of Playing Cards.

>> Inexpensive Dover reprint, need I say more.

Chatto, William Andrew. Facts and Speculation on the Origin and History of
Playing Cards.

>> Published in 1848 and never reprinted.  I lucked into a copy, and have a
goal of scanning this for public consumption (if I can figure out how to do
this without damaging the book).  Probably have to be images, since OCR
accuracy was <90% :-(

D’Allemagne, Henri René. Les Cartes à Jourer du XIVe au Xxe Siècle.

>> Dover has a small excerpt of this book (see above).  Very big and
expensive, on my list to buy if I win the lottery (in 1997 a London book
dealer wanted 2000 pounds for the set).

Dummett, Michael. The Game of Tarot.

>> Hard to find, but worth it.  Try looking in the library.

Hamilton, Jean. Playing Cards in the Victoria and Albert Museum

>> Inexpensive book, some nice pictures but not much depth.

Hoffmann, Detlef. The Playing Card: An Illustrated History

>> Some very good illustrations of older cards.  Out of print since 1973

Mann, Sylvia. Alle Karten auf den Tisch. Geschichte det Standartisierten
Spielkarten aller Welt (All the Cards on the Table. The History of Standard
Playing Cards of the World).

>> Two volume set in German, with a lots of information about standard
patterns.  2nd volume is the one with the pictures.

Yale University Library. The Art of the Playing Card from the Cary

>> Four volume set, at 2000 IPCS convention sets were going around $100-200

Michael McKay (known in the SCA as Seaan McAy)
seaan at concentric.net

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