History of Playing Cards

Playing cards are one of the oldest forms of ‘toys’ created by man and can be used for a variety of different purposes. Gambling, magic and tarot reading are a few examples of the use of these cards. They can come in either special ply paper, thin cardboard, plastic and in some cases, thin metal.

A ‘deck’ or ‘pack’ of cards has 52 playing cards in it, with an additional 2 cards named ‘Jokers’. There are 4 suits or ‘types’ of cards in a deck. These are the Clubs, Hearts, Spades and Diamonds. Within each suit, there are 13 different cards, Consisting of the Ace, Numbers 2-10, the Jack, Queen and King (the ‘Court’ or ‘Picture’ cards). These values are printed on one side, while a consistent design is printed on the back.

Throughout time, many forms of games have been created. Some include Go Fish, Hearts, Solitaire, Big-2 and Poker. These are all interactive games that can be played by one person or a group of people. Gypsies and Fortune Tellers have also been known to use cards or ‘Tarot Cards’ as an extension to predict the future.

The main and most popular production company of playing cards is the United States Playing Card Company, formerly based in Cincinnati, Ohio but moved to Erlanger, Kentucky. They are known for their popular and internationally recognized brand ‘Bicycle’ and ‘Bee’ cards. Which is made of 3 ply paper coated with an ‘Air Cushion’ finish which makes them slick and glide beautifully without the cards being able to stick to one another.

Fun Facts

Did you know that the simple deck of cards lie hidden secrets and associations to human culture? For starters, the deck consists of 52 cards, exactly the number of weeks in a year. The 4 suits represent the 4 seasons of Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. With the Court cards representing 11, 12 and 13 respectively to the Jack, Queen and King, All of the 52 cards in a deck add up to 365, the exact number of days in a year. The Ace of Spades typically represents death.