PLAYING CARDS on ICELAND

Almost all of the decks, that were published on Iceland, were manufactured elsewhere. English, Belgian, German and Danish cardmakers have produced decks that were made available on Iceland only. Most of these decks have the Icelandic indices K (=Kˇngur), D (=Drottning), G (=Gosi), and A (usually with a small accent sign on top, =As).
There is a variety of decks, but the topics are limited. They show the inhabitants, their -rough- life, ancestral rulers, Nordic gods and the nature that surrounds them. All things close to home.

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During a 3 day stop-over on Iceland we found a book in Reykjavik, that deals with playing cards. It was written by Gu­brandur Magn˙sson and was published in 1978 as "Saga Spilanna". Unfortunately there are 158 pages in Icelandic, but there's a 12 page appendix in English. Some of the information in this section comes from that appendix.
There are probably only two regular sized decks that were actually made on Iceland. One is from 1817 and one is from ca. 1960-1963. Also made on Iceland are a few children's patience decks -printed on poor quality stock- from the 1950's. All other decks, that were made by Icelandic artists and/or published on Iceland only, were produced elsewhere.

The earliest imported playing cards are reported to date from ca. 1500. Nothing has been preserved except for a Danish deck from ca. 1830, which is in the National Museum in Reykjavik.

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