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European Standards

European Standard playing cards display a great diversity of artistic and regional variation, a cultural mosaic that has given rise to a multiplicity of types and patterns across the Continent. These artistic traditions have ensured Europe’s place in sustaining and perpetuating a number of standards in common use.

The assignment of weapons, objects and attire remain consistent within any one specific type, and therefore evokes the expression, annunciation, and preservation of a Standard or type. These are European traditions. It is a gift of patrimony and heritage that has ensured the playing card is sustained in more than just one of its forms.

Unlike the Anglo-American Standard, the Europeans Standards, especially those of the north and Slovenian cultures, are cut by a dividing line that delineates top from bottom. This is not so in Anglo-American decks. The English, like the French, wove their double-ended figures together, so that no dividing line is apparent, but rather the ends mesh and form a pattern at the center of the card.

Danish standard court cards Denmark Russian standard playing cards Russia
French standard playing=cards France Lithuanian Standard Court Cards Lithuania

DXPO Playing Cards

DXPO Playing Cards displays an extensive exhibition of contemporary and early European Standard playing cards with examples from Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and more DXPO Playing Cards »

DXPO playing cards


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.


American Standard
Paris Pattern
Danish Standards
Russian Standard
Lithuanian Standard

Early Standards

Texan No. 45's
Russel & Morgan 1886
Samuel Hart 1870
A. Dougherty 1865
De La Rue 1834
L. Hewson 1680
Pierre Maréchal 1567

History of Cards

History of Cards »
A Brief History
Theories of Origin
French Regional Patterns
Rouen Pattern
English Pattern
Origin of French Suits

Card Masters of the
19th Centrury

Thomas de la Rue
Lewis I. Cohen
Lawrence & Cohen
Samuel Hart
Andrew Dougherty
Ferdinand Piatnik


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Early Standards
Card Backs

WhiteKnuckle Cards

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