'Jack of Hearts' Greetings Card

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This unique and beautiful greetings card is one of a series made exclusively for The National Archives by Passenger Press. The cards feature images from gorgeous playing cards from the eighteenth century which were found among papers of the French merchant ship L'Aimable Julie and were presumably used by sailors aboard ship to entertain themselves.

Another intriguing thing about these playing cards is what you find on their backs. They each display scribbled notes which indicate that they were used as vouchers in place of cash on board ship, as IOUs or promissory notes, as calling cards or simply as post-it notes to write notes or jot down calculations! 


These playing cards were unearthed during the process of cataloguing the Prize Papers which consist of a huge collection of documents and small objects from the period between 1652 and1815. During this period European powers would engaging in capturing, or prize-taking, enemy ships and any papers or small objects found on captured ships would be held as evidence. And so the Prize Papers collection came into being. 

The Prize Papers Project is a collaboration between the University of Oldenburg, Germany, and the National Archives of the UK, partly funded by the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Germany


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