When playing cards first appeared in Europe in the 14th and 15th century, before the invention of printing, they were handmade and hand painted by regional artists, often miniature painters. So there's a long history in the cooperation between card makers and artists.
Although their role has been overtaken for a long time by artisans and engravers, one can say that they fully returned to the stage in the middle of the 20th century. After the post-war recession had passed, they have been invited by card makers and publishers to design special -non-standard- decks and those artists, who were not asked or didn't seek professional  quality, have found ways to publish their own decks, sometimes in numbered and very limited or low cost editions.

We have made a first selection of 5, that aims to show decks from this variety in artists and editions.
"The Archives" now hosts 28 previous expo's.
There will be regular changes in our selection and additions, so..........


Peter Dunham and Linnea Gits are a couple and both are graphic artists too. They have set out to design a series of 6 decks. The Blue Blood deck was their 1st. Bohemia, Royal Optik, Pagan and  Hotcakes followed. Their last deck in this series: Classic. The Blue Blood Redux deck (1bis) was added too.
Besides this series the Uusi Studio has completed an advertising deck for the HYDE PARK MOULDINGS Inc. (click HERE) and a renewed Pagan deck (click HERE)


A handmade deck on wallpaper, with watercolours on the courts and aces, but the artist only left his initials. In short, an intriguing deck and of course a one-of-a-kind too!


Leo Scherfig is a Danish graphic designer, but also a collector of playing cards. Both aspects are reflected in this composed button and in an oeuvre of 7 decks, all but 2 published in very limited editions, in which both modern and classic design is used.









A special xpo about Dick Martin, who would have had his 90th anniversary on 29-6-2017. Sadly he died in February 1990. He left the collectors world two special designed decks of playing cards for the CPCCC, both in limited and numbered editions.

The Swiss artist Benedikt Notter has designed 2 versions of the (German) Swiss pattern. The first kept close to the original designs, but in his second deck he presented a version in his own image-language, which is close to surreal.

last section update: 01/01/2024