Playing Cards

The New Master’s Commemorative Installation Playing Cards 2017

The New Master, Anthony P Komedera Esq. MBA FCA, presentation bridge pack of playing cards was unveiled at the Company's Installation Banquet at the Mansion House on Thursday the 7th December 2017.


 2017 Master: Anthony P Komedera Esq. MBA FCA

About the cards
The cards commemorate medical and surgical inventions and developments which either contributed to Joseph Lister's discovery of antisepsis or would not have been possible if antisepsis had not been developed. With the exception of the Ace cards, each card conveys details of the individual(s) concerned and their contribution to medicine and surgery.

This pack is not designed to be an exhaustive historical record of medicine and surgery post 1867 and the descriptions are those of Anthony Komedera, Master 2017-18, who is neither an historian nor a medical practitioner.

Wherever possible, categories of medical/surgical discoveries have been grouped together by suit. The Spades include Plastic Surgery, Gynaecology and Vaccines. The Clubs include surgery to various parts of the head and throat, Nuclear Medicine and Blood transfusions. The Hearts include Heart and Lung surgery. The Diamonds include transplantation surgery and related techniques.

More information can be found on the presentation pack insert by clicking the button below.

This is the first pack of Master's cards to be designed for the Company by Stacey Jay Kelly

The Immediate Past Master’s Commemorative Installation Playing Cards 2016

The immediate Past Master, Richard J. Wells Esq. ACII, presentation bridge pack of playing cards was unveiled at the Company's Installation Banquet at the Mansion House on Monday the 5th December 2016.


 2016 Master: Richard J Wells Esq. ACII

The  theme for these playing cards is the Commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London in 1666.

The Kings represent the principal dramatis personae connected with the Great Fire of London: King Charles II, his younger brother James, Duke of York. later King James II, who basically took charge of the efforts to put the fire out, Samuel Pepys, Secretary of the Navy and diarist famous for giving a first-hand account of the disaster and Sir Christopher Wren, responsible for the re-building of much of the City.

The Queens depict four of Wren's masterpieces: the rebuilt St. Paul's Cathedral. the Church of St. Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall, the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich and, of course, The Monument. The Knaves show images or scenes connected with the Great Fire and its aftermath: a medieval baker's oven, a fire insurance sign, rudimentary fire services and a Pudding Lane road sign.

The Jokers show Nell Gwyn, mistress of King Charles II and The Golden Boy of Pye Corner, a statue erected in Giltspur Street, Smithfield, where the fire was eventually stopped. Beneath the statue is an inscription with the words: "This Boy is in Memory Put up for the late FIRE OF LONDON Occasion'd by the Sin of Gluttony"

The card backs are unusual in that they show the left-hand and right-hand halves of the 1666 Shlohavot woodcut print, the only surviving contemporary record of the fire.

More information can be found on the presentation pack insert by clicking the button below.

The cards were designed by the late Brad Zachary Baker. These cards were his last commission.

Former Lord Mayor the Rt. Hon. Alderman David Wootton's pack of Dickens Cards

It is both fortuitous and coincidental that former Lord Mayor, the Rt. Hon. Alderman David Wootton, is also a huge follower of the work of Charles Dickens and indeed is Chairman of the Trustees of the Charles Dickens Museum.  Past Master Lance Whitehouse was very pleased to assist with the creation of a unique Lord Mayor of London's Charles Dickens Bicentennial Pack 2012.  This special single deck in an attractive tuck box was offered to raise funds for the Lord Mayor's charities.  The design bears the Lord Mayor's coat of arms and his portrait on the ace of spades.

    Mr. Pickwick

An Letter of Interest

1945 Playing Cards:
Received from Mrs L. James

Further to my note to you on your web site, I am attaching picture of your playing cards. Don't want to sell or buy, just wanted you to know what a superb product you made, have been playing with these since a small child in the early fifties, and they are still going strong, have only just found out about your site as I was curious and googled the motto, which brought me to this point.
Well done and thank you for so many hours of happy pleasure you brought to my family.
Mrs. L. James.

Since 1882 the Company has designed and presented an annual double pack of playing cards to each liveryman and freeman of the Company at the Installation of the new Master. Since 1888 a portrait of the Master has appeared at the centre of the Ace of Spades, and the design chosen and developed by the Master has traditionally commemorated an event of importance occurring in the 12 months leading up to the Master’s year in office.

In 1945 the master was H Cobden Turner Esq. JP. His theme was Peace and the cards showed A winged goddess standing triumphant on flags of Germany and Japan with St. Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben in the background.

The tradition ensures that each Master of the Company is truly a 'Maker of Playing Cards'. The origin of the Company coat of arms is un-known; however Grant of Arms was presented in 1982.

All of the Masters Cards since 1882 can be viewed via this link.

The Playing Card Committee

     The Playing Card Committee (PCC) is appointed by the Court to undertake certain responsibilities for the activities of the Company associated with playing cards.  The Committee meets just prior to each Court meeting (except January) and considers matters concerning the administration of the Company’s playing card Collections and other items held on trust at the Guildhall Library (GHL), the London Metropolitan Archive (LMA) and the St. Bride’s Printing Library.
The Committee is also concerned with the acquisition of playing cards and other items relating to the history of the Company and the trade of ‘the making of playing cards’ and has established an acquisitions policy.

 An important annual occurrence is the overseeing of the creation and the production of the new Master’s pack of commemorative playing cards to ensure that it complies with the guidelines and the budget approved by the Court.  The Committee is responsible for the management of all contractual arrangements on behalf of the Court in respect of all publications and packs of playing cards approved by the Court.   

  The Master’s special playing cards have been produced annually since 1882; they     are printed in limited quantity, and distributed to all Liverymen and Freemen, guests of the Company, selected Museums and gentlemen guests at the annual banquet where the cards first appear.  The Master often acknowledges hospitality by  presenting a pack to hosts.

The Playing Card Committee also oversees and controls all matters in relation to the reproduction of images where copyright is owned by the Company.  In addition, the PCC maintains and updates all Company display boards and other items relating to the Company and undertakes other initiatives, with the approval of the Court to promote the craft of ‘the making of playing cards’.

Bridge Magazine Articles by Court Assistant Dr. Paul Bostock

Court Assistant Dr Paul Bostock has been commissioned by Bridge Magazine to write articles on Playing cards to be published monthly throughout 2017/8.  The articles are reproduced below as .PDF files with a new one each month as they are published in Brdge Magazine.

2018 Articles


2017 Articles


The Bridge Magazine website can be accessed through

Paul has placed his collection of Old English Playing Cards on a Website to allow access, the link below will take you to the site. With thanks to Paul

The Playing Card Collection

The Company maintains and continues to expands its world famous collection of playing cards first presented by Past Master Henry Phillips in 1907 and housed by arrangement with the City of London at the London Metropolitan Archives.  The Company is currently investigating a project to make digitised images of the collection available for Internet access.
In 1908, Past Master Henry Phillips presented his own collection of playing cards to the company. He had been Master four times between 1854 and 1897. The collection at that time numbered 599 items, and these together with the John Berry and Waddington collections are now housed in the London Metropolitan Archive and total several thousand packs of cards dating back to the late 17th century. They are available by appointment for inspection by the public.
Link to Curator's Corner

A limited edition of 300 copies of a book written by John G Thorpe was commissioned in 2000 to celebrate and commemorate the Millennium. The book describes the history of the company as well as containing full colour illustrations of all the company's presentation packs and special packs. Copies of the book are available from the Clerk at the Company's address below.

Old English Playing Cards:  Liveryman Paul Bostock has placed his collection of Old English Playing Cards on a Website to allow access, the link below will take you to the site. With thanks to Paul

Links to Playing Card Societies:  (English Playing Card Society)  (International Playing Card Society)

The Links below are useful for those looking to purchase playing cards and other ephemera:

                           (Intercol London (Intercol London) (R Somerville Playing Card sales) 

Installation Playing Card Packs for Sale/Wanted

 The Company holds the remaining stock of some Past Master’s Installation packs which are available to members for sale.  Similarly, collectors and members of the public frequently offer various packs of playing cards for sale to interested Buyers.  Lastly Members often seek particular packs to complete their personal collections. A listing of Past Master’s installation commemorative playing card packs are available on this Website together with details of packs that are wanted by Members.  If you are interested in selling or buying particular packs appearing on the list, please advise the Clerk by e-mail whereupon the parties will be connected. Please note that the Company acts as agent only in this matter and does not trade in playing cards.

Download the latest list of 'Playing card packs wanted and offered' at the download link shown below.  This list will be updated regular as additional packs wanted and available occur.

Download List

Customised Playing Cards (Educational, Promotional, Commemorative)

Frequently custom made playing cards are used to promote an educational message, record an anniversary or celebration, and to market a particular product or institution.  The Company has a wide experience in creating such cards and offers a service to other Livery Companies, Institutions and other Bodies to assist them in the creation of such cards, in return for a charitable donation.  An excellent example of such a project is the 2011-12 Lord Mayor's Appeal Charles Dickens bi-centenary pack produced for the Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor David Wootton to support his fundraising appeal (see below). 

Contact the Clerk for more details on Custom Playing Cards.

Latest News

You should read the terms and conditions carefully before using this website (CLICK HERE)

Mansion House Banquet,7th December 2017, photographs now available to order.


"Echoes Across the Century"

Click the image above for more information and a video on the "Echoes" project in which WCMPC have participated.

Interlivery Bridge Competition Monday 4th March 2019


See the Makers of Playing Cards Charity Trust Brochure , Information and latest News

MPCC Brochure
MPCC Information

Next Livery Dinners
26th November 2018 - Installation Common Hall, Service & Supper at Trinity House
The date of this year's Banquet at the Mansion House is confirmed as Thursday 6th December 2018
Please save the dates.

Court Assistant Dr.Paul Bostock has been commissioned by Bridge Magazine to write monthly articles on Playing Cards.
The articles, including  June2018, can be

viewed here

P/M Roddy Somerville has an update to  bring  another interesting item about unusual packs from the Company's Playing Card Collection

Click the picture to go to the Curator's Corner.

Links to latest items in Member's area

Member's Gallery
(Including the Burn's Night Supper Photographs)

Members News

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Master's Programme for 2017 - 2018
The Master's calendar card for the programme of events for the year can now be downloaded here.

Please note corrections and updates if any:

Download Brochure

Download the PDF Document
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