Card Trick History

History CardThe precise origins of card magic are subject to debate though it's generally believed that card tricks were first developed by gamblers who wanted to improve their chances of winning when playing card games. What these early pioneers of gambling would have made of todays technology is any ones guess.

Playing cards themselves originated in the Orient with China and India amongst the main contenders for the claim of country of origin and it's thought that cards may have been introduced to Europe in the 14th century by Arabs who had travelled from the Orient.

Italy, Spain and France feature in the first literary mentions of playing cards and card magic. One of the earliest, general references to card tricks is an article from 1408 which tells of a card cheat inParis who sought to gain advantage by manipulating the cards he was playing. The first written mentions of actual performers of card tricks are: a) a 15th century piece of writing (apparently unpublished and co-authored by no less than Leonardo da Vinci) which describes a card trick performed by Giovanni de Jasone de Ferara; b) a 16th century piece by Cardanus describing a performance by a Spanish magician by the name of Dalmau who performed for Emperor Charles V in Milan.