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Playing cards and related materials have been sought diligently by collectors for centuries. Royalty had cards hand-painted before they were mass-produced and today these little works of art are sold through the top auction houses for thousands of dollars per card!

Fortunately, advancements in the art of printing enabled cards to be produced for ordinary people, so the playing of card games and the distribution of cards spread worldwide. Playing cards over the years have been praised as a welcome release from the boredom of everyday routine, and conversely, condemned by some as the work of the devil.

Collectors have been attracted to this field of interest because playing cards offer examples of great beauty, unique designs and historical interest. Also many people seek playing cards as interesting examples of items in other fields of collecting.

These fields of special interest include advertising, airlines, art, beer, bicycles, books, Civil War, comic characters, cities/states, countries/regions, early card makers, expo and world fairs, games, gambling, geography, history, magic, novelty, pinups, railroad, soft drinks, souvenir, stamps, steamship, tarot, tobacco, transformations and western memorabilia to name only some. In addition, many collectors are primarily interested in certain cards such as Aces of Spades, Jokers, court cards, unique backs, etc.

Some are interested in collecting only, others in researching the history of the cards, printing or their subjects. There is room for many and varied interests in the field of playing card collecting and our club membership includes aficionados in almost every area.

Today, old and unusual playing cards can be found not only in large and small auction houses, but affordably at antique shows, flea markets, internet auctions, garage sales, in grandma's attic, and most importantly, by exchanging decks through collector clubs such as 52 Plus Joker.

The club seeks and welcomes new members whether they are experts or novices to playing card collecting.

The club holds annual conventions with guest speakers, educational sessions, trading, buying, selling, and auctioning of cards, plus great banquets. These conventions have been held in such cities as Atlanta, Cincinnati, Charleston, Chicago, Wilmington, Albuquerque, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New Haven, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Orlando, Westborough MA, Arlington VA, New Orleans, Denver and Montreal and Toronto, Canada. Regional meetings have been held in Las Vegas, Chicago, Toronto, New Haven and Philadelphia with plans for expansion of this regional concept.




U.S. Playing Card Co.
c. 1909

 Yankee (26th) Division
Press of the Wooly Whale

Spanish American War
Gray Lithographing Co.
c. 1898


Link to FAQ section of IPCS

Link to additional information on collecting cards extracted from the Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing  Cards

 Collecting Playing Cards Minimize

Further information about American Playing Cards can be found in the Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, published in 2000, and the supplement and revised price guide published in 2004.  Visit the pages linked immediately below for more detail.

The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards
Supplement & Price Guide to the Hochman Encyclopedia

 Also visit the authors' website - Dawson on Playing Cards - Hochman Encyclopedia.

To see a selection of interesting decks of playing cards, where we have attempted to provide examples of old and new, American and foreign, standard and non-standard, click on Cards on the main menu bar.  We hope you enjoy them.

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