My Valentine's Day gift from Joan — a wonderful little box of assorted ephemera — included a handful of older playing cards, all from different sets.
I'm sure that hundreds of thousands of different playing card designs have been produced over the centuries. Here are just a few vintage ones, featuring cats, dogs, cowboys, Indians and circus stunts.
Which one is your favorite?
The card with the illustration of the handstand on the horse has the name "Wm Mark Young" in the bottom-right corner. That would likely signify William Mark Young, a prolific American artist who lived from 1892 to 1948.
And the card featuring the two dogs was produced by Arrco Playing Card Co. of Chicago. The company was originally known as the Arrow Playing Card Co. from its inception in the mid 1920s until 1935. It was then known as Arrco Playing Card Company from 1935 until 1987, when it was acquired by The United States Playing Card Company.
Here are some websites where you can learn more about the long and fascinating history of playing cards. If you're like me, you'll get lost in these links and end up on a series of reading tangents that takes up at least 45 minutes of your day. Cheers!
- Wikipedia entry: Playing card
- Wikipedia entry: Standard 52-card deck
- Wikipedia entry: Suit (cards)
- World Web Playing Card Museum
- Playing Cards Wiki
- The World of Playing Cards
- House of Playing Cards