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Full Deck of Playing Cards from the 1400s


W7vjsZR jpg 3049 1993

In 1983, Sotheby’s in London auctioned a deck of cards that was said to be one of, if not the earliest complete European deck known to exist. Although the deck contained 52 cards, with four “suits” and three court cards each, the suits don’t correspond to our modern suits. Instead of hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds, these cards depict hunting and sporting themes – horns, dog collars, ropes and nooses for catching game.

The cards were dated by a variety of methods to somewhere between 1465 – 1480 an attributed to an area of what is now in northern France. The deck was touted as the “world’s oldest deck of cards.” It almost certainly isn’t, but it can lay claim to being one of the most expensive. Almost thirty years ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City paid over $143,000.00 for it.

Stashed in: History of Tech!, Gamers!, Games

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They look like mah jongg tiles. 

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