Art Deco Playing Cards


Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before Word War 1. Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewelry, fashion, cars, movie theatres, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners. It took its name, short for Arts Décoratifs, from the Exposition internationale des art decoratives et industrials modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) held in Paris in 1925. It combined modern styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress. Art Deco was a pastiche of many different styles, sometimes contradictory, united by a desire to be modern. From its outset, Art Deco was influenced by the bold geometric forms of Cubism; the bright colours of Fauvism and of the Ballats Russets; the updated craftsmanship of the furniture of the eras of Louis Philippe 1 and Louis XV1; and the exotic styles of China and Japan, India, Persia, ancient Egypt and Maya art. It featured rare and expensive materials, such as ebony and ivory, and exquisite craftsmanship. See below for some of the  best playing card designs incorporating the Art Deco theme...

From Spain, Cine Manual I

1927 - Graficas Valencia S.L. Cine Manual 48 cards complete.  All cards show caricatures of contemporary explorers (Amundsen), aviators (Lindbergh, Elinore) Torerors, sportsmen (Max Schmeling) and movie stars (Chaplin, Tom Mix, Douglas Fairbanks and Harold Lloyd)

Dondorf, Saks & Co. New York


C. 1930

These playing cards were printed by Dondorf for the sole use of Saks & Co. New York, 5th Avenue, 49th & 50th Street. With strong colours and bold artistic designs these courts typify the 1930's and Art Deco period. The suits follow the Forcolor pattern (no revoke): the hearts are red, spades black, diamonds orange and clubs green.

Anti-Religious Deck, Russia


c. 1931

State Monopoly Playing Cards, Leningrad. Anti-religious deck of 52 cards and a joker, lithographed, with French suit markings. The reversible court figures depict priests, monks etc of 4 world religions. Their are two known versions of this deck with different back designs. The first with the Star of David, a pagan mask and crosses in the corners. the second reverse depicts a witch who is abducting a little girl. Both printed c.1930-1931.



Mesmaekers Frères S.A Turnhout c. 1925

Art Deco advertisement for the Philips light bulbs, Super-Inductance & Arlita. The King represents Super Inductance, the Queen, Arlita and the Jack carries a shield of the Belgian branch of the Dutch company. Simplified Art Deco figures coloured in red, black, yellow and green.



De La Rue c.1930

After nearly 100 years the Bettys story is still unfolding, but it all starts with its founder, Frederick Belmont

Born in Switzerland and trained in baking and confectionery, he arrived in England as a young man in search of an opportunity to develop his craft skills, opening the first Bettys in Harrogate. As the business grew and more tea rooms opened across Yorkshire, the Bettys name spread further still becoming a byword for quality and immaculate service.