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Gemaco Standard court cards


This is another version of the Anglo-American standard that still produced as a modern standard. Apart from style, it seems as if all the elements are in the right place, and this is a standard playing card. But if you notice, behind the Queen’s heads, the suit symbols are to the right, not the left as is usual.

The same is true of the Jacks. Now seen in profile, the Jack of Spades and the Jack of Hearts are correct as these are the Jacks which are usually seen in profile, but in the standard deck, each of them is looking the other way.

This standard actually derives from an older standard and is in fact more ‘loyal’ to the tradition. The Jacks originally appeared this way, the Jack of Hearts facing right and the Jack of Spades facing left. The suit symbol appeared to their right because the space on the other side was occupied by their weapons – as is the case here.

Later, at some inauspicious time, in order to standardize the deck, the two brothers got turned around so that the suit symbol could go in the space once taken up by their weapons.

Actually, if you compare carefully, all the Jacks and all the Queens are turned around. So where, say, the Queen of Spades had forever faced left, and held a sceptre in her right hand, she now faced right and held a sceptre in her left hand.

This pattern you are looking at here is actually an older or more original pattern, however it is not the one in most widespread circulation. So there are a number of quirks which have conspired to create the Anglo-American Standard, no doubt, standardization was one of them.


The English Pattern
Regional Patterns of 18th Century France
Gallery of Early Standard Playing Cards


PlainBacks.com: Extensive gallery of early standard playing cards. Famous American and English makers. Plain Backs is a celebration of the English Court Card as a cultural design icon.
DXPO Playing Cards: Exposé of early and contemporary European Standards.
International Playing Card Society Decline of the English Court Card.

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