Introduction to collecting Playing Cards.

Swap cards are mostly from a deck of normal playing cards. Collectors take one of each design or pattern from the deck for their collection. Usually there are a pair, but sometimes there may be four decks in a box, with different colours or pictures in each deck. Sometimes there is no 'pair' for a card, if just one pack was produced by the manufacturer, using the same pattern for the entire deck of cards. (Swap cards were also produced by Coles and Woolworths in the 1950's. These are now rare, and highly valued among collectors.)

A matching pair of cards can be the same design with variations in colour, or different pictures with the same kind of border to show they are a pair. There may even be four varieties of the one pattern in different colours. The subjects on the front of cards are endless. Some collectors only save a certain topic, such as animals, or just one kind of animal. Old fashioned or vintage-style pictures such as crinoline ladies and Old Masters paintings are popular. Other collectors specialise in Jokers or Aces.

In 1956, Coles Stores produced four separate sets of cards to commemorate the Olympic Games in Melbourne. There are 28 cards in each set, with flags of the competing nations, flora, fauna, industry, and sporting events pictured on them.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Reply to Ann, who asked about types of cards.

Ann wants to know more about the kinds of cards that are collected. My introduction at the beginning of this blog explains a bit, but perhaps not enough. Swap cards can be single cards from a deck of 54 (or is it 56?), which have any of the four suites on the back (clubs, spades, diamonds or hearts), jokers and sometimes blank backs. Other swap cards have been produced by various companies such as Coles and Woolworths in earlier years, and these usually have blank backs or a brand name printed on them. Decks of playing cards are often produced by companies as advertising material, particularly airlines such as Qantas, who hand them out to passengers on long flights for something to do! Some collectors specialise in collecting advertising cards alone.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Next lot of cards will be the Cats.

I have now completed posting my Doggie swap cards - hope you have enjoyed looking at them. Next, I will start scanning the Cat cards, and as before, will post a few whenever I can. I'll try to post on a more regular basis...there are several thousand cards to be scanned and downloaded, so it will take quite a while! I wonder if there is any limit to what one can post on blogs. I've seen some incredibly long blogs with little movies on, and 'everything that opens and shuts', so it seems there is no limit. Guess I'll find out one day if Blogger/Yahoo suddenly decide I'm over my limit!

Friday, 8 June 2007

Dogs (4)

Dog swap cards (3)

The two cards in the middle of the first two rows are Woolworths cards. Note the border of blue motifs around the picture. All their cards have this border in varying colours around the pictures.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Apologies for lack of posting!

As usual with me, I start things off in an explosion of enthusiasm, then I get sidetracked by other things happening in my life! I have had my card album sitting under the computer desk for months, meaning to do some more scanning, but time gets away. Maybe this coming weekend which is a long weekend here in Victoria, I will get the time to sit down and scan a whole lot of pages, and have them on my PC ready to post on this blog on a regular basis.

Fay asked how to tell the difference between Coles and Woolworths swap cards. Both brands had plain white backs, although some of the Coles cards had the Embassy brand printed on the back. Coles cards had many designs over the years, but Woolworths didn't have so many. The Woolworths cards also had a particular border around the picture on all their cards. The next lot of cards I scan will feature two of these cards, and I will point them out so you can see what this border is.

Saturday, 24 February 2007



Birds - Pheasants.

Pheasants and ducks were a popular subject on playing cards, for some reason. There are a lot more in this series of Pheasants, but I have never concentrated on collecting all of them.



The three cards in the middle row are "Coles" cards. These birds are most Australian native, the exceptions being the Ostrich (centre row, right) and the blue macaw (bottom left) which for some reason the artist has paired with an Australian sulphur crested cockatoo - weird!

Friday, 23 February 2007

These are the last of my bird swap cards. Next time I will return to the dog cards which I started on previously. I should have stayed on one theme to be consistent, but got sidetracked! The three cards on the bottom row have a fourth one (yellow) which I don't yet have in my collection. Hope to find that one at the next Card club meeting - I hate missing one of a set!

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Scotty dogs

Scotty dogs on playing cards were immensely popular for some reason.

Friday, 9 February 2007

Dogs, dogs and more dogs.

Most of the cards on the left are very old, cc. 1940/50. The ones above are mostly all Coles cards from around the 1950's.

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Coles 'dog' swap cards

These cards are not playing cards with hearts, diamonds, spades, etc. on the back. Coles cards are sometimes known as 'blank backed cards', although some of their cards had 'Embassy' printed on the back, as that was a Coles trademark for some years.

More dogs.

Dog Pairs

A classic example of where the same design is used for two matching decks, only the colour is changed for each deck.

Dog and cat pairs

Obviously the bottom two are not a pair. I don't have the pairs to those.

Bird cards

These are two pages from an album. Notice how the cards in the centre vertical rows are pairs. It has to be done this way because the album pages are three cards across.

Some old Coles swap cards... just for kids!