History of the playing card at Sidmouth Museum

06:22 03 August 2014

Playing cards at Sidmouth Museum

Playing cards at Sidmouth Museum

Archant

Anyone who is under the age of 25 to 30 will no doubt be the proud owner of a mobile phone, games console and possibly an iPad to keep their minds occupied and entertained but may not be aware of the humble pack of playing cards, writes Sidmouth Museum collections manager Peter Soper.

Playing cards at Sidmouth MuseumPlaying cards at Sidmouth Museum

To many of this generation it is probably not exciting enough compared with the many hand-held devices available to them today.

I write, not in defence of cards, but to say that in my younger days it was a source of great family entertainment and remains a game still played today in clubs, public houses and, indeed, in many homes.

Cards were invented in Imperial China.

Playing cards are known to have been used in China in the 9th century during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).

The first reference to card games dates from the 9th century when the Collection Of Miscellania at Duyang, written by Tang Dynasty writer Su E, described Princess Tongchang daughter of Emporer Yizong of Tang playing the Leaf Game in 868 with members of the Wei clan – the family of the Princess’ husband.

Playing cards first entered Europe in the early 14th century from Mamluck Egypt with suits (sets of cards with matching designs) very similar to the Tarot suits of swords, staves, cups and coins (also known as discs or pentacles), and which are still used in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese decks.

Originally, court cards, king, queen and jack were not reversible as they are now and that meant that other players could get a hint of what other players’ hands contained after the deal when watching them reverse their cards!

In Great Britain the pack with reversible court cards was patented in 1799 by Edmund Ludlow.

Today, a pack of standard playing cards consists of 52 cards in four suits – hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades – made of card specially prepared, heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coated paper, cotton paper blend, or thin plastic marked with distinguishing motifs and used as one of a set, or pack for playing various games.

Most of modern-day cards are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) so that they wear less and last longer.

Playing card games is great way for children to learn a variety of basic skills, including counting, taking turns, basic strategy, being a good sport and a good loser!!

For adults the number of variations of the games available to play is huge some are played for fun but a lot are played for money, this could prove dangerous when played by men folk in the Wild West.

In the museum we have a display on the first floor showing some standard cards, children’s card games and some of the more unusual types of playing cards including original non reversible court cards.

On a lighter note I have watched, on many occasions, colleagues of mine playing a game called euchre and having a whale of a time but to my chagrin it’s still a mystery to me how to play it!

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sidmouth Herald visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sidmouth Herald staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sidmouth Herald account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 17:24
EDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH Picture: Simon Horn

Independent councillors call for extraordinary meeting to debate the office relocation

Read more
Yesterday, 06:29
Tanya Trevena with girl guides from Honiton and Sidmouth at the weekend collecting for her sailing challenge.

Guides from Sidmouth and Honiton did their best to help one of their own - as she prepares for a five-day sailing challenge.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00
Dan Lavery of the Devon Freewheelers. Ref exe 1256-13-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Devon Freewheelers founder Daniel Lavery will do whatever it takes to keep his lifeline service on the road so other families can receive the same help and care that saved his wife’s life.

Read more
Thu, 07:00
Devon County Show 2012. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 9931-20-12AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on Myphotos24

Organisers of the Devon County Show are putting the final touches to the county’s largest annual event, which opens today (Thursday) and runs until May 23 at Westpoint, Exeter.

Read more
Wed, 11:00
The Admiral Nurse campaign launches at St Francis Hall. Ref shs 6123-20-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A ‘phenomenally important appeal for Sidmouth’ – to help people living with dementia and their carers by bringing a crucial, specialist service to the valley – was launched this week.

Read more
Wed, 07:00
Joe Montgomery, in happier times.

For years, Joe Montgomery’s motorbike has remained unused, parked in the family garage in East Devon as a reminder of happier times.

Read more
Tue, 16:28
Annette Richardson: neice of the benefactors of the Exmouth lifeboat is pictured at the naming ceremony and handover on Saturday.  Ref shs 5524-20-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Hundreds of people turned out at the RNLI lifeboat station in Exmouth to see the RNLI’s new lifeboat officially named after the generous Sidmouth couple whose bequest helped pay for it.

Read more
Tue, 11:45
VE anniversary lunch at Lamb and Flag, Ottery St Mary. Ref sho 6049-19-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A day of music, memories and a strong show of community spirit marked the 70th anniversary of VE Day in Ottery.

Read more
Mon, 16:15
Sidmouth Fire Station in Woolbrook Road

A woman has been freed from a car after a collision between two vehicles in Salcombe Regis.

Read more
Mon, 06:27
Sidmouth Manor Pavilion.
Picture by Alex Walton. shs 9673-29-10AW

Manor Pavilion bosses have issued an apology to nearby residents who had a sleepless night after the theatre’s alarm went off for almost nine hours running.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 13°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life
Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition



Devon's trusted business finder