Almost everyone has a deck of playing cards somewhere in the house. Maybe you have a deck for poker night at home, or maybe Grandma just likes to play Patience on her own. Whatever the reason you have a deck of playing cards you might still find these ten facts about them interesting. To you and me they are just a game waiting to happen, but there is more history and mystery about a simple deck of cards than you might think!
It’s 52 Cards For a Reason!
The number of cards (52 cards) corresponds to the number of weeks in a year. 4 suits (diamonds, clubs, spades, hearts) correspond to the 4 seasons of the year. Thirteen cards in each suit represent the thirteen lunar cycles per year. If you add all the values of the cards in the deck, you will get 364 (365 with a joker).
Nintendo Once Made Them
Before they made consoles for Mario games Nintendo made playing cards! These days they are worth a pretty penny and have become a real collector’s item. But they did not make the company a lot of money and at the time it was about to face closure without getting into the video games industry.
The Most Valuable Deck of Cards Costs $6,000
Paid at an auction in 1983 in France it was a deck of Mamluk Playing Cards made in the 15th or 16th century. There were only 750 packs made, but only a handful of them are still around today. They might not look like modern pay playing cards, but if you count the patterns on the cards you will see they are indeed the same thing.
Playing Cards Were Original Made With Leaves
Playing cards may have been invented during the Tang dynasty around the 9th century AD and it is said they were printed on leaves and that they were part of a board game rather than an independent game.
The Mustache-less King
The king of hearts is the only king that doesn’t have a moustache! This card is also known as the ‘suicide king’ because his sword has gone into his head. He original held an axe and the origins of why he doesn’t have a moustache are lost in time.
The Ace of Paids
In 1765 England began to tax decks of playing cards and to make sure that tax duty had been paid the Ace of spades had an insignia of the tax establishment etched into the middle Spade. This is something that still happens even today on all UK playing cards.
The J, Q and K of…
While the same is not true these days once upon a time the Jacks (knave), Queen and King cards were based on famous Royals and Leaders. Alexander the Great was the King of Clubs, Athena was the Queen of Spades and Lancelot du Lac was the Jack of Clubs!
The Worlds Largest Collection of Playing Cards
The current holder of the biggest collection of playing cards is Liu Fuchang from China who has 11,089 different sets of playing cards with a totally collection value of over £300,000 (That’s 46,082,367 Japanese Yen). He has been collecting packs of playing cards since he was 3 years old and has held this record since 2007.
The Patented Patterns
Have you ever noticed how the backs of playing cards all look different? That because most of them are patent patterns, with some playing card backs featuring the colour of clans, gangs, flags and even the personal choice colours and patterns of those who made them! They are almost as unique as a fingerprint with many playing card historians being able to tell exactly the year the deck was made based only on seeing the pattern on the back.
Right up until the 15th century all playing cards featured men only. It wasn’t until after this point that France issued the Queen card that was based on past and future Queens of France.