These are examples of playing-cards not intended for play. Each of the pip cards have been changed (transformed) by the addition of drawings that include each of the pips as part of the picture. The result can be artistic or humorous.

These cards became fashionable in the early 1800s, and interest in them has revived from time to time.

The standard reference book on Transformation Cards is: Transformation Playing Cards by Albert Field, U.S. Games Systems Inc., Stamford, USA, 1987, ISBN 0 88079 033 4. This work confines itself to commercially printed packs only.

Examples of transformation cards are shown below. All of them use a normal, French-suited 4 of diamonds as a starting point. Some are commercially printed, others are hand-made packs by artists. Some of the artists “cheat” by allowing the pips to move from their original position.

Jeu de Joan of Arc”, 1984 (reproduction of 1804 Cotta pack) by artist Gräfin Charlotta von Jennison-Walworth
“Teddy Bear Pack”, 1994 by artist Peter Wood.
“Greek Myths”, 2003 by artist Elaine Lewis.

“The Key to the Kingdom”, 1992 by artist Tony Meeuwissen.
“Louis Atthalin: Transformatiekarten”, 1996 (reproduction of 1814-15 pack) by artist Louis Atthalin.
“Circus Transformation Playing Card Deck”, 1988 by artist F. Robert Schick.


See a list of codes in the bibliography page.
Hoffmann, Detlef and Kroppenstedt, Erika
Die Cotta’schen Spielkarten-Almanache 1805-1811
Deutsches Spielkarten-Museum, Bielefeld, 1968
text in German.
(2) (7)
Field, Albert
Transformation Playing Cards
U.S. Games Systems Inc., Stamford, USA, 1987
ISBN 0 88079 033 4
text in English.