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.

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!