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Transformation Cards

Transformation playing cards are those in which the pips and the numerical cards are incorporated into an existing design rather than on a plain background. In the traditional transformation playing cards, the pips would have their original color as well their position. In various other cards, the pips could also be of different colors, sizes and often placed in different locations on the cards.

History of transformation cards

In the 19th century, the standard playing cards had already been used in America and Europe. The French used clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds while the Germans used bells, hearts, leaves and acorns. During this time several card manufacturers began incorporating figures and designs around the pips in the cards.The first of such playing cards were introduced in 1801 by Soltan and Berger for a German Hudibras edition. The first full set of transformation cards was made by John Nixon in 1803. The deck was called Metastasis.

The transformation cards were actually very popular in England during the Victorian era. These cards have influenced various other art works in England as well. Popular Novelist William Makepeace Thackeray had designed a set of 21 cards himself.

Dean and Son had published a deck in 1865 in which the location and the size of the pips had been completely changed. Until the 1970s, no other deck had been published in which the pips had been manipulated like it was done in the Dean and Son deck. However, this pattern of transformation gained much popularity later and today the semi-transformation cards that are available do not adhere to any strict parameters when it comes to the size, color or the location of the pips.

Transformation cards today

Although, transformation cards are not as popular today as they were in the 19th century, they are still produced. Several card collectors have extensive collection of transformation card decks, which have been published by various card manufacturers over the decades. Several transformation decks are published and sold today as a novelty and sometimes even for charity. The Under the Sea decks and the Friends of the Earth decks had been introduced quite recently by different artists for the Marine stewardship counsel.

The Key to the Kingdom was another transformation deck which was one of the most famous in the recent years. The set was created by Tony Meeuwissen and was published by V&A Museum of London. The transformation deck had won several awards for its contemporary designs.

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