last update: 1/1/2011





This pattern is also referred to as the "English" pattern, the "Anglo-American" pattern, but nowadays usually as the "international" pattern. This probably reflects the path that the pattern took to conquer the world.

The international pattern is the most spread pattern on earth. It is known on all continents. Compared with other patterns is has outgrown its region or country or even its continent. When playing cards evolved in Europe there were many different regional patterns. Most of them still exist, others have disappeared. Only a few of them have established themselves on other continents: the Spanish patterns followed the conquistadores and can be found all over South America, the French pattern is still used in many North African countries and other former colonies. But even in those places the international pattern is recognized and accepted.
So, how is it possible that an obscure regional pattern from France, the so-called Rouen pattern, could spread out so widely? One could say that it moved to the right place at the right time.


Already in the 15th century the Rouen pattern became known in England and over the centuries it has evolved there from a single figure to a double figured pattern in the 19th century. By that time England was a world-empire and the pattern already became known in every corner of the British empire, as it was used by English soldiers, merchants, civil servants etc. in games to pass the time in the colonies. North America had one of the largest English populations outside England and the English cardmakers were the first to export the pattern to the region. The Americans picked it up and started to produce their own decks, but still with this familiar pattern. After the world wars, when the American export spread out widely across the globe, one of the "products" that came with that wave was the pattern of the playing cards. It gained a place besides the local, historically grown, patterns in almost every country.

The international pattern, as it has evolved, is basically "flat". There's hardly any depth in the design. The center part, where the clothes are depicted, has become a complicated design, a pattern of lines and colors, and the faces are made of simple lines.
Other characteristic features are the "suicide king", the King of Hearts, and the "one-eyed" Jack of Spades, but not every manufacturer respects these "pattern rules".



When a certain pattern is popular, it is often also used as a basis or concept for other purposes, like advertising. But there are other angles too. In this XPO we will show different modifications of the international pattern from different countries. We call them "anomalies".

At this moment we do not have a complete oversight of the decks in our collection, that will qualify for the xpo, so we've decided to start by country from A to Z and organize the lot by topic at the end.
What does not qualify are the different colors in the design or all the possible different designs of the center part in this pattern: each manufacturer has his own standard design. But even the following examples from a series of special colored decks by Bicycle do not qualify as anomalies for this xpo.

     or even

What does?   You'll see!

Our collection is organized alphabetically by country, in Dutch of course. The A starts with "Amerika" (USA). As this is one of the countries that has embraced the pattern, it's not unusual that a great number of anomalies of that pattern have been made there too. New examples -from other countries too- will be added, as soon as we have found 5 new decks that will fit this xpo. At this moment there are 88 "anomalies" to be seen here.


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-21-  -22-  -23-  -24-  -25-  -26-  -27-  -28-  -29-  -30-

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