Dating vintage playing cards
2,700 black and white illustrations, 324 color illustrations." If you are a collector of playing cards you will, of course, want a copy for yourself. Another book I'd recommend getting your hands on is Catherine Perry Hargrave's A History of Playing Cards: And a Bibliography of Cards and Gaming.This is a reprint of an older work, so there's no up-to-date information in it; but it is a very informative work, and has the added advantage of being remarkably inexpensive. If your deck says "Dondorf Spiel," search on Google for Dondorf Spiel.Among the oldest known card decks is the “Marmalukes of Egypt,” a set marked with swords, cups, coins, and polo sticks.Cards arrived in Europe sometime in the late 14th century, likely passing through the major port of Venice.
The ace was usually considered the lowest card in the deck until the French Revolution when it was common to play cards "Aces high." This promoted the ace to the highest spot, symbolizing the rise of the lower classes over royalty.
Factors affecting the value of a deck of playing cards are these: desirability, scarcity, completeness and condition. Your deck of playing cards could be scarce, complete, and in great condition, but if no one else wants it, it isn't worth anything.
On the other hand, a desirable deck that is scarce, complete, and in great condition could be worth a great deal.
Another technique that was being developed was that of engraving.
Engraved cards were more expensive than the woodcuts and so are very rare.
Armed with these two works, you'll have a working knowledge of the historical development of playing cards (did you know they used to have square corners? And do use e Bay to see if anything like your deck is currently listed.