The earliest playing cards are believed to have originated in Central Asia.
In the 10th century, the Chinese used paper-like dominoes, shuffling and dealing them in new games.
First Playing Cards Playing cards existed in China before 1000 AD. Such cards would have been narrow slips of paper, essentially dominoes with dots imitating the different combinations possible with the throw of two dice. Paper was in fact the original material for dominoes; wood and ivory came later. Domino cards are still known, as is another early Chinese type: money cards, so called because the suit signs are Coins and variations (Tens of Coins, Myriads of Coins.) The use of coin emblems may have derived from the association of cards and money in gambling.
Introduction of Cards into Europe Islamic cards were introduced into southern Europe about 1350. The suit signs—Coins, Cups, Swords, Sticks—were variously adapted. The Polosticks, still unfamiliar to Europeans, were changed to Scepters, Batons or Cudgels. (Note that one of our own suits is called "Clubs.") An early Swiss report, c. 1377, says that Europeans experimented with different kinds of courts, sometimes as many as six (King, Queen, Knight, Lady, Valet, Maid). "Moorish" card, 14th century (?) (Instituto Municipal de Historia, Barcelona)
These three suit systems became the basis of standard national patterns.
The Ambras Court Hunting Pack (1445)
Evolution of German Cards Among the early card makers of Europe, surely the Germans were the most imaginative in revising and multiplying suit signs and courts. German cards also tended to be decorated with lively scenes and caricatures. The German national pattern finally settled on four suits (Leaves, Hearts, Acorns and Hawk Bells) from which the Queen was banished. German deck, Nüremberg, 1813
Evolution of Tarocco Divinatory Tarot cards by Etteilla, Paris, 1789 Italian card makers preserved the Queen, along with a King, Knight and Valet, for use in a new game, c 1420, called Tarocco. Also added were a wild card (the Fool) and 21 special cards, mystical symbols that served as trumps. Among the Florentines, the trump suit expanded until their Tarocco totaled 97 cards. The game spread northwards, called Tarot by speakers of French. The Tarot did not acquire its modern use by fortune tellers until the 1780s when French scholars interpreted the old Italian symbols as "hieroglyphs" from ancient Egypt, the reputed source of Western magic and occult philosophy.
It was the French who were instrumental in bringing the pleasures of card play to people in Europe and the New World.
French cards soon flooded the market and were exported to England first, and then in the British Colonies of America.
Evolution of Cards - French French card makers, c. 1470, invented the familiar suit signs of Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds (which the French call Spearheads, Hearts, Trefoils and Squares). The first three are presumably adapted from the German Leaves, Hearts and Hawk Bells. The first European cards were hand-painted and therefore reserved for the nobility who could afford to hire special designers and craftsmen. Popular demand led to mass production through the new technique of the woodcut. Designs for whole sheets of cards were drawn and carved on woodblocks, then inked and printed on paper, finally separated and glued on cardboard.
Joker was born, we now know that the Tarot had not yet entered the U. S. when the Joker first appeared. ,
Double-headed courts by Russell & Morgan, Cincinnati, 1885
The Joker Joker by Victor Mauger, New York, 1875 The Joker seems to have its origins in a special card used in a particular form of Euchre. In this game, which began in Alsace-Lorraine, two Jacks of the same color are designated as being especially powerful. When immigrants carried the game to the US, they also brought some of the specialized German terms, such as Bauer (= Jack). Euchre players still speak of their two highest cards as "the left and the right Bauer," but the key word is envisioned as "Bower". Americans added to the Euchre deck a card even higher than the designated Bowers. It was called the Imperial Bower or the Best Bower. This was the genesis of the Joker.
Evolution of the Joker After the introductions of the Best Bower into Euchre, Americans equipped other card games with an extra card (usually as a wild card). Perhaps this is the stage in which the extra card became known as the Joker—meaning one that changes character or pops up unexpectedly. Designers would have tried to create some new imagery for this wild card. The choice of a jester is logical, not only because of his unpredictable behavior, but because he complements the court cards. In Europe, after all, the royal court really was home to jesters, jugglers and other entertainers. Nevertheless, it is certain that the Joker card itself was not a European invention. It is one of America's most picturesque contributions to the history of playing cards. Joker by Andrew Dougherty, New York, 1875
Depict famous people US-Elections 1963. John F. Kennedy and other persons of the Kennedy-Clan, also politicians from the democratic party.
Advertise products Left: Original Pattern slightly modified, king holds beer glass in hand; Right: Pattern newly designed, but nevertheless you can see the Bavarian Pattern shimmering through.
Advertise products Two examples for advertising in free spaces on the card picture Left: Tobacco ad from the 1930s Right: Ad for the newspaper "Der neue Landfreund" ca. 1980
Non-Standard Cards In this game not only the court cards were redesigned, also the suit symbols were changed Theme is the "Honey Barrel" a fairy tale by Lew Ustinow; advertisement for the theatre Altenburg-Gera.
Non-Standard Cards Here the courts are only stylized. These cards were drawn by the artist Sonia Delaunay.
Non-Standard Cards This card game represents the four elements. But they do not appear as the four suits; they are ranks (king = earth, queen = water, jack = air and Joker = fire).
Non-Standard Cards The Michelin-Man as playing card court.
Souvenir Cards Left Example: View of the Canary Islands; right: model trains
In adding games, players play in turns, adding the value of the cards together as they are played. The goal is to reach or avoid certain point totals .
Each player is given a hand of cards with a layout of face up cards on the table. Players play one card in turn. If the card played matches the layout card, the layout card is captured and placed in front of the player. If a card does not match, it becomes part of the layout.
Players take turns playing cards to a discard pile. The card played must match the previous card or fit with the other card in some way (rank, suit, order). The player who match or fit form their hand are penalized by having to draw one or more cards. The object is to get rid of all of your cards .
Players have a hand of cards and exchanging a card or cards with other players. The exchange may be with another player or with a stack of face-up or facedown cards. The object is usually to collect certain cards of set of cards .
Players have a hand of cards and two stacks on the table. The game involves picking up an unknown card from the stockpile or a known card from the discard pile. The player must then discard a card face-up on the discard pile. Players are trying to improve their position to some end goal.
Card Trivia Why are Jacks called Jacks ? In the game of All Fours, jack is the name of the point awarded for winning a trick containing the knave of trumps. The word jack also had 'a common man' as one of its meanings. At first jack was considered a lower class term [ref. Dickens's Great Expectations , 1861; Estelle says mockingly of Pip "He calls the knaves, jacks, this boy!"] but it gained acceptance while knave became obsolete. Modern English usage has knave now left with just one of its original meanings—a scoundrel.
Card Trivia Why does the Ace rank greater than the King? There may at one time have been a political undertone, in that people wanted to see a king overthrown by the most humble peasant, in a card game if not in real life.
Card Trivia What is the order of suit ranking?