JOKER OF THE MONTH

 

*** 2005 ***

JANUARY 2005

Who said that January is a slow month? Somehow we were too busy to notice. There were flea markets and a 2-days collector's fair, our website and Ebay, and of course we didn't want to neglect our social life either. But it was rewarding......we kept our friends and added some new decks to our collection. Among them was an interesting US photo pinup deck from ca. 1960, with an interesting joker too. Although this joker triggered a whole article, that can be seen in the xpo-section (in deck 3, but be careful, there's no buttonized return to this page), we chose the runner-up.

This month's joker comes from a deck that we've found on Ebay. It's titled "Mongolian Playing Cards" and the courts, aces, 2's, 3'and 4's are illustrated with a drawing of a Mongolian character or artefact. The deck has 2 jokers. This one we liked best!

FEBRUARY 2005

We immediately loved this joker. The complete deck has some wonderful designs on the face cards too. It was published in the USA in 2004 as the "Sailor Jerry" deck. The tattoo art is from the "old school". Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins went to sea when he was 19 and after roaming around South East Asia, he started his first tattoo shop in Honolulu's Chinatown, ground zero for swaggering sailors, drunken soldiers and whoever else wasn't afraid to hang around volatile levels of testosterone.
The whole deck uses a flesh-coloured background and this makes the tattoos look pretty realistic.

We got the deck mid February, but already knew then, that it would have to be a real good one to beat this joker this month. And.....none of the later jokers made it!

MARCH 2005

This month we acquired a number of new jokers. There were some that were more cute or rare or older, but we chose this one. It comes from a photo souvenir deck about Amsterdam and shows a street artist, dressed up like a strange warrior, stranded in time and space on the Dam square in Amsterdam.
The reason for choosing this joker is that we didn't have to go to a fleamarket or collector's fair, nor did we have to surf the internet. This time a simple walk across the bridge to the Zaanse Schans -our local tourist attraction- while entertaining a French friend and her company, did the trick.

I think every collector will have special memories, that come with a certain deck or  joker. This joker will always remind us of the lovely afternoon that we spent here with Santa, one of our friends from Paris.

APRIL 2005

This joker once again shows our appreciation for "variations". It was a hectic month with each and every weekend a collectors fair or meeting. We even had to wait until the last day of April, because that's when the Queen celebrates her birthday here and all over the country free-markets are held, so a winner could even have turned up in the last minutes.
We had a lot of new jokers to decide from and we both agreed that is was a tough choice, but here he is............a variation of the well known Waddington joker from the UK.
It came in a nonstandard advertising deck for Tanglefoot Beer and the joker clearly demonstrates, what that beer does to you..........it tangles your feet!

 

MAY 2005

We have been watching the mailbox like hawks, waiting for a deck to arrive before the 31st of May, but......alas. The disappointment is not only, because we cannot show that joker here, but also because this means that it's now already 99% certain which joker will be the June 2005 joker and that takes away a lot of the fun of choosing a joker for the coming month.
So we'll show the runner-up from this month here. But I'm glad this joker gets a chance to show itself here, as it's not often seen.
The joker comes from a Handa deck from Denmark. The deck was published in 1955 and has special designed courts and aces, that show scenes from tales by Hans Christian Andersen. So our guess is, that this joker also represents two characters from one of those famous tales. Unfortunately we have not yet found out which one. Any help?

By clicking the joker you can enter the Hans Christian Andersen pages, where the courts and aces of this deck and another one are shown.

JUNE 2005

Here's the late-comer from May. It's a she, so we could have expected that!

This lovely joker comes from the Vannini Poker deck, that was published in Italy in 1945. The deck is printed in black and red only, but even in this simple colouring the courts show beautifull designs, with a late "art deco" influence, of real gentlemen and ladies.
We'll give you the opportunity to see the other joker here too, because it's a rather special one: Mussolini, waving a white flag, and Hitler, who's just lost his swastika flag, taken on the horns of a skull.............CLICK HERE

 

 

JULY 2005

This month's joker came from a swap with a German joker collector. It comes from a deck that was printed and published by Heinrich Schwartz & Co. from Nürnberg, Germany, as "Baby Rommé" in 1972.
We chose this one, because it reminded us very much of these two American jokers by Brown & Bigelow from the 1950's.

AUGUST 2005

About 3 weeks of this month were filled with our vacation. No need to say that we found, besides a good rest and good food, a good number of new decks for our collection too.
This joker comes from a deck that we have found on the fleamarket of the Piazza dei Ciompi in Florence. The deck was published by Bracco, an Italian pharmaceutical company, to promote one of their products, Redinon Cortex, and is a reproduction of the original deck from 1816, which was designed by Houbigant for the wedding of the Duc of Berry and Maria Carolina of Naples in that year. As jokers were not in use before the 3rd quarter of the 19th century, this joker was added to the reproduction.
We chose this joker, because of the balloon, a not often seen combination. It's obviously an object that was at one point in time related to jesters. The (vague) joker here in the background was made by the Dutch SN manufacturer around 1910 and he too carries a balloon attached to a stick.

 

September 2005

This month we were pre-occupied with the annual IPCS Convention, this year in Turnhout, Belgium. Not only with the preparations, but also with meetings with other collectors in Amsterdam and at our home, before and after the convention.

The convention brought us 14 new decks for our collection. One of them comes from France. It was made by a small playing card manufacturer, Perceval, and published as "nr 283", probably in the 1940's or 1950's. The courts show a variation of the French pattern. The deck has 2 jokers. We were immediately taken by the strong black/white design. The other one has the same design, but done in red/white.

October 2005

There were a general collectors fair and a meeting of the Dutch playing cards collectors this month and they both brought us some new decks and jokers. But this month's joker comes from the "Theatre of Pain" deck, that we acquired in the last week. The deck had drawn the attention of a few Dutch newspapers late September, as a total of 120 decks and a few of the original linocuts for the deck had been confiscated by the FSB, formerly known as the KGB, from 2 shipments to the museum in Jaroslavl, Russia, where an exhibition of the linocuts for this deck had been planned.
We thought that, as a counter measure, we should give this deck max exposure here, so the joker was chosen as joker of the month and the complete deck can be seen in one of the Art&Cards xpo's.

The joker is a self-portrait of Cerberus, an alias for an artist from the southern part of the Netherlands. Click it to see the complete deck!

November 2005

This month the largest collectors fair in Holland was held in the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. This means 3 days of endless walking and afterwards your joints are telling you that you get to old for this. But......somehow it's always rewarding: this time we found some very nice and rare Dutch decks and a Dondorf Tarot deck, that had been on our wish-list for a long time.

However, this joker of the month didn't come from there. This sturdy lady comes from a pin up deck, that was printed by Piatnik in Budapest, Hungary, in 1967 and published as "52 Bathing Beauties". The deck has 3 similar jokers. On the other 2 the word "joker" is printed in black. 
We don't know how it got to France, but we bought it there......through Ebay, for a change.
The deck is not often seen, so the joker is rare enough to want to share it with you as this month's joker.

December 2005

We have found quite a number of new decks for our collection this month, but what we considered the highlight of this month was a rarely found Dutch deck by the SN (Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland) from 1958. It was published for the Magicians Convention that was held in Hilversum, Holland, from 6-8 June 1958.

We found the deck in a big box filled with different decks, most of them incomplete and very common, but with a few exceptions, like an Austrian "WilhelmTell" deck by Adametz from the 1930's or a nice single-imaged Swiss pattern by Müller from that same decade.
From Ebay we got an Icelandic deck ("Islenzk Spil") from the 1930's with Hreidarr the Stupid as joker. It can be seen in the xpo's section in a special xpo about our Icelandic decks.

But nothing could beat the rare SN joker this month, so here it is............

 

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