Nouveau Playing Cards - United Cardists 2016 Annual Deck

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NOUVEAU Playing Cards are inspired by the historical and mythological heroes and heroines traditionally featured in the French playing cards since the 16th century. The art style and design pay tribute to the philosophical and artistic trend Art Nouveau, promoted and popularized in France in the late 19th century.

NOUVEAU, chosen as the official United Cardists 2016 Annual Deck, is a custom deck of playing cards (poker size) designed by Bona Fide Playing Cards and manufactured by Expert Playing Card Company.

  • 100% custom playing cards deck
  • Limited edition (one printing, never to be reprinted)
  • Poker size
  • 54 cards
  • Printed by EPCC
  • Master finish quality
  • Official United Cardists 2016 annual deck

The playing cards are inspired by the designs produced in Rouen, France, back in the 16th century. There are different theories about who the court cards represent, though it's hard to find a widely accepted one as the Rouen cards were so badly copied that the current designs are gross distortions of the original cards. For NOUVEAU, it was decided that the historical and mythological characters some believe were used for the creation of the first decks in Rouen. Considering that, the deck faces go like this:
  • King of Diamonds as Roman leader Julius Caesar
  • Queen of Diamonds as the biblical character Rachel
  • Jack of Diamonds as the Greek mythological hero and prince Hector
  • King of Clubs as the Greek King Alexander the Great
  • Queen of Clubs as Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Jack of Clubs as the legendary Knight Sir Lancelot
  • King of Hearts as the King Charlemagne
  • Queen of Hearts as the biblical character Judith
  • Jack of Hearts as the French military commander Étienne de Vignolles (aka La Hire)
  • King of Spades as the biblical King David
  • Queen of Spades as the Greek goddess Pallas Athena
  • Jack of Spades as the legendary character Ogier the Dane
The Jokers represent Pierrot and Harlequin (both stock characters in the Italian Comedia dell'arte) popularized in Paris in the late 19c.


Regarding the meaning of the suits, you can find just as many theories as for who the court cards represent. It was decided on one of the most spread ones regarding the original French suits, where Spades were believed to represent nobility, Hearts the clergy, Diamonds the merchants and Clubs the commoners and the peasantry.


As for the art style, French inspiration was the best idea to pay tribute to the original French deck. It was a hard decision, taking into account that France was always known as a place of artistic reference, so after some thought it was chosen to use one that was popular during the 19th century: Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau
is a style of decorative art, architecture and design promoted and popularized in Paris in the late 19th century and characterized by intricate linear designs and flowing curves based on natural forms.

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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 26 July, 2016.

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