Playing cards are one of our truly ancient tools for play. The first known examples are Chinese, from the 9th century. The cards we recognize today came directly from England with the first colonists and are recognized as a French design, adopted by the English. This deck is of French origin and may date as far back as the 18th century. The cards are woodcut prints, and the kings and queens are named--a tradition with French decks which also became common in England. This French deck may represent the type that directly influenced English card designs during this period (the late 18th century) and subsequently American cards soon thereafter. But a deck such as this might easily have travelled to America with an immigrant or merchant.
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