History of Playing Cards

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 08/31/06 02:55 PM

In addition to beginning this new hobby of card magic I am compelled as a history student to learn the history of playing cards. I have found a few websites that discuss this topic and was wondering if there are also books available on the topic?


P.S. I have also read that Dai Vernon wasn't very fond of Houdini. Why is this? And was it a mutual feeling since Vernon was known as the man who fooled Houdini?

Postby Leonard Hevia » 08/31/06 03:22 PM

Hi Mr. Green. I would suggest that your next magic purchase be the recently published Vernon biography by David Ben. It will bring you up to speed on Vernon's encounters with Houdini, and why Vernon was not impressed with him.

Keep looking for those history of playing card books. If you find something worthwhile, let us know... :)
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Postby Guest » 08/31/06 05:00 PM

Most library's have more than one depending on

size.Amazon.com would have most in print...Mike

Postby Steve Bryant » 08/31/06 05:14 PM

Grrr. Libraries.
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Postby Guest » 08/31/06 05:27 PM

Available on ebay from Jay Marshall's Library:

http://cgi.ebay.com/PLAYING-CARDS-Histo ... dZViewItem

Postby Mark Collier » 08/31/06 05:31 PM

There are several online articles as well. Just Google, "history of playing cards".
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/31/06 05:35 PM

Most of the titles I have are out of print. However, Catherine Hargraves A History of Playing Cards is still readily available in paperback.

The Benham book reads like stereo instructions.

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Postby Guest » 08/31/06 06:03 PM

In Card College 1, Giobbi has a chapter on the history of playing cards

Postby Guest » 08/31/06 07:44 PM

There is a very brief chapter in Greater Magic titled, THE MASTER OF THE PLAYING CARDS. Short, but worth a look.

The Hargrave book Dustin mentions is outstanding. I puchased my Dover edition about 25 years ago direct from them. I just got on their web site, and it doesn't appear in their listings. Not sure if it's out of print. They do have a book titled, Antique Playing Cards: A Pictorial History, which looks intesting.

If you do a Google search, the Hargrave book is available through a number of sites. One that I have done business with through the years is The Gamblers Book Club ($19.95), check it out, they carry and publish magic books as well.

http://www.gamblersbook.com/weblink.cby ... 43404.html


Postby Steve Brooks » 08/31/06 11:47 PM


The links below will provide you the opportunity of purchasing several different volumes dedicated to the history of the pasteboards, including my own personal favorite: The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, which includes illustrations of virtually every card The United States Playing Card Co has produced thru the years. Hope this helps. :-)

Click here! then scroll down the screen, you'll find multiple titles.

Click here! Then use their search engine to find a few titles, including several dedicated to Tarot cards.

Good luck! :)
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Postby Guest » 09/04/06 03:19 PM

For those of you interested in this subject, and with access to The Sphinx, check out the April, 1938 issue. There is a good article tiled The History of Playing Cards in the Collection of the United States Playing Card Company by Francis W. Robinson.


Postby Guest » 09/20/06 01:11 AM

I have a book online at Ebay right now which is a copy of a book written by Benham in 1931 which is a playing card history book. It is item #140029895253 which can be typed into the search box to locate the item.

Postby Guest » 10/14/06 09:24 AM

Here is a nice book from the Jay Marshall collection.

http://cgi.ebay.com/THE-PLAYING-CARD-An ... dZViewItem

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