Vintage Playing Cards
Playing cards evolved from a variety of gambling games established in the Middle East and Asia, including chess and backgammon. Among the oldest known card decks is the “Marmalukes of Egypt,” a set marked with swords, cups, coins, and polo sticks. Cards arrived in Europe sometime in the late 14th century, likely passing through the major port of Venice. A key piece of evidence in this theory is a 15th-century document called the...