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A marked superiority

September 28, 2009

A new deck of our popular facsimile playing cards has been added to the Pimpernel Clothing store: the Arms of English Peers. (Pimpernel finds the mania for gambling amongst his acquaintance required many decks, such is the excessive wear his cards are subjected to!)

A little background to this particular deck: in 1644 King Louis XIV of France issued a licence to print certain ‘educational’ playing cards. The resulting cards sparked off a fashion which spread to Holland, Germany and England. The most popular educational subject soon emerged as Heraldry. This deck is a facsimile of an original English deck from 1688.

Logically, the arms of the peers are ordered according to rank in each suit. The higher the rank, the higher the card value: archbishops and dukes are superior in rank to earls and barons, the arms of the latter being depicted on the lowest cards in all suits. (Pimpernel hopes that you will not suppose that earls or barons are inferior in any other way- goodness no!)

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