last update of joker section: 1/4/2017
number of jokers on xpo here: 1737




The most accepted explanation for the name and the role of the JOKER is that it originates from the game of EUCHRE. In this game two of the jacks were named Right and Left Bower. In the 1860's in the USA the "Best Bower" was introduced and in a deck by Samuel Hart & Co from 1868 the "Imperial bower" was used as "highest trump card". Pictured on the right here.
Bower is a corruption of the German word "Bauer" (farmer).

Originally the game of EUCHRE or JUKER was played in the Alsace, where it was the common name for "Jack". The best bower card evolved into Joker from the American version of euchre during the 1870's and arrived in Europe along with the game of poker in the 1880's. It was gradually incorporated into the French-suited packs with 52 cards.

by Samuel Hart & Co. New York ca 1900.

picture taken from Ebay

Here are two rare advertising best bowers. The first is advertising General Electric refrigerators and the second is from a souvenir deck by the Illinois Traction System, a railroad company. Both are from the early 1900's.


Ca. 1900 the joker was also used in fortunetelling decks, although not always by that name. 


The horseshoe joker was issued with the Ye Witches fortunetelling deck from 1896 and the Lifecard comes as joker in the Nile Fortunetelling deck  from ca. 1910. The roodles "joker" was issued with the Game of Roodles from 1912 and the joker comes from the Revelation Fortunetelling deck from 1919.


In France and Belgium a game with a special joker became popular in the early 20th century. The game is much older though and called "NAINE JAUNE" (yellow dwarf). Here are 5 from different makers. The first is a rare one by Hemeleers van Hoeter (Brussel, c1860), the second one is by Daveluy (Bruges, c1875), the third one is by Grimaud (Paris, c1920), the fourth one is by Brepols & Dierckx Zoon (Turnhout, c1905) and the last one is from Turnhout, Belgium c1930.




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your favourite joker

and maybe soon you will find your name mentioned among other "proud owners of...".

See which 93 jokers 49 other collectors have contributed........  WORLD JOKERS

 press for 77 JOKER XPO'S Each xpo contains 9 jokers or more.

press for A JOKER OF THE MONTH    

Each 1st of the month there will be a new joker, that has -for whatever reason- been chosen by us as "joker of the month" from the number of jokers that we have acquired during the past month. They may have been found as a single joker or have come with a deck that we have added to our collection.


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