JOKER OF THE MONTH
*** 2008 ***
It was love at first sight this month! During one of the many strolls along all the stalls at the general collectors fair in Utrecht, our eyes got caught by a simple box that read "Drechsler's Danske Leksikon Spil". When we opened it, this joker was the first card that we saw. One look at each other was enough......this was going to be the next Joker of the Month! Although there were still about 3 weeks to go, we knew that it would be very hard to beat this one this month and......we were proven right!
A Lexicon deck is not a regular deck of cards. The cards can only be used for this special game. Each card has a large letter and a value in the corner. It's a bit like Scrabble with cards. We've seen different versions of the Lexicon game, but never this Danish one, with such a lovely joker.
This month there was the BEJC meeting in Brussels and usually that's good for lots of new decks and jokers, but we had friends over the night before and it got a little late before they left, so this time Joop went alone and didn't stay that long. The result was a score of 4 new decks and zero jokers. Oh well, next time, when the BEJC celebrates their 20th anniversary (see the "Events" page) the score will hopefully be better again.
there's always Ebay. This joker came with a deck that was published in
Sweden by the organisation of Young Social-democrats in 1976. The
deck has a non-standard design of the courts, with small caricatures and
text in Swedish. All the numbercards have texts too.
It was a quiet month in terms of new decks or jokers. We received a nice new pin-up deck, drawn by Rian Vernon, that had some very nice jokers. But they can be seen in the "Pin-Up & Erotica" xpo.
This time it was
the joke that made us choose this joker. It comes from a deck that was
published as "Page 3" by The Sun, a British tabloid, in the
1980's. The title refers to the scarcely dressed girls that were always
placed on page 3 of this tabloid. Each card of he deck shows a different
photo of these girls. So it's a bit odd to find this drawn cartoon as
the joker in this otherwise photographic deck.
We picked up this joker during the meeting of the Dutch collectors in Nieuwerbrug on April 20th. The meeting was well visited and it's always nice to see the familar faces again. And there were plenty of decks, single backs and jokers on offer in the albums. Of course we found some nice decks for our collection, but we bought some single jokers too.
We bought this month's joker from a Belgian lady and unfortunately that is about all that we can tell you about this joker. It came as a single joker, so there's no reference to be made to a deck. The backdesign shows a stylized bird and the joker has square corners. Still it doesn't look very old. But we liked the design with the "horned one" holding a fine dressed doll.
There were other nice jokers, even ones that came with a deck, that we could discuss here, but still this one came out on top this month.
For the first time I couldn't choose one joker. It had to be two!
Although they actually had arrived in April, I didn't get to see them until my birthday. It was one of his gifts, so this time Joop couldn't disagree with my choice.
jokers come from Peter Wood's "Goblins and....!" deck and were
hand coloured by him. Of course the message was written upon request. Both
are signed by Peter on the back.
Although a sudden illness prevented us from going to Turnhout for the annual Collector Day at the National Playing Card Museum, which is usually a good place to find decks and jokers, we received plenty of interesting decks through the mail this month. Check out the "Deck of the Month" or the Art&Cards Xpo on this site.
But this month's joker came with a double deck, that was given to us by friends. They had found it on a local flea-market. And we were exited, because it was new to us. The deck had funny drawn courts and was apparently made in Italy, but unfortunately the 108 cards had too many from the same denomination and suit in them, while other denominations were missing. We couldn't even make one complete deck! With some sadness in my heart, I disposed of the cards. But of course I kept the jokers.
And although there were other interesting jokers, we've chosen this cute Italian "Eco Jolly" to be in the spotlight this month. That's the least we could do after I had turned him into an orphan.
A very slow month, not only for jokers, but also for decks. We didn't have much time to to go card hunting on Ebay and we only visited one flea-market. And the last ten days of this month were extremely hot and moist, so there wasn't any appetite to do much at all.
A visit to the flea-market in Utrecht is somehow always rewarding. We never come home empty handed. Sometimes there's only one or two interesting things to take along, sometimes our small back-pack is filled to the brim. However, this month the score was very modest again.
This joker, as you can see from the extra text, comes from a game. It is called "The Golden Egg" and was made by the Chad Valley Co. Ltd from Harborne, England. Probably in the 1950's.
It was helping with organizing the IPCS convention and working on an article and presentation for this meeting, that prevented us from spending much time on looking for decks, neither on the internet nor in the real world. So there was very little choice, in fact no choice at all, as the only other new deck this month was a Skat deck and didn't have any jokers.
Therefore this month's joker comes from a Tarot deck. Basically we don't collect Tarot decks, although we have some special non-standard ones in our collection. All of them were designed by artists, like the Tarot Universal by Salvador Dali.
This "Tarot Indiscret" deck was attractive, because it is based on the standard designs of the standard French Tarot decks, but "erotically interpreted" by the French artist Eric Provoost. This joker, the "Fou" or "Mat" in Tarot terms, is an example of how Eric's interpretation of the courts and arcana cards is done. In the standard design he holds a lute.
The IPCS convention was a great success and the pre-convention program too. So before and after the actual convention we had enough social activities too, mostly trips and/or diners with other members. But the IPCS convention isn't the place to find jokers. Of course we bought some decks, but somehow these were either too old or in a 32 cards version: none had a joker.
So this month's joker had to come from elsewhere. We had met the founder of a bridge museum, Gerard Hilte, during the IPCS convention and had made an appointment with him for a visit. The museum is located in Leerdam in a two-floor building. On both floors there's a broad collection of books, bridge paraphernalia such as trump indicators, auto-bridge boards etc. etc. on display. And there was a varied collection of playing cards too. Just before we left he showed us a box with a stack of jokers and asked if there were any that we didn't have yet. They were all very common ones, except this simple Hong Kong made joker, of which we already have a few versions. But this obvious misprint in blue tones only immediately caught our eye.
And here it is, just to show you that even a misprint can become "Joker of the Month" here!
This month we had a good number of jokers to choose from. An old friend of us gave us a stack of doubles and we managed to find some 20 that we didn't have yet. There was the general collectors fair and the international meeting of the Dutch playing card collectors. Both are usually good in terms of jokers on offer. So a luxury problem developed itself this month and a hard choice seemed to be ahead.
But that was only until friends of us brought back a deck for us from their vacation in South-Africa. It was titled "Golf on the Wildside". The courts have the international pattern, but with drawn animal heads and golf utensils in the background. A great deck, that came with a cute joker that we had never seen before: a dressed-up monkey playing golf. The deck is probably not made in South-Africa, but more likely somewhere in the Far East.
Still, we were so pleasantly surprised with the deck and the accompanying joker, that we like to share the latter here with you.
Joker hunting is easy when you meet a dealer in single jokers and there was one at the large collectors fair in the Jaarbeurs this month. It had been a while since we had last indulged ourselves in buying single jokers, because it's such an easy way to score: you just sit down at the stall, grab a book, pick out the ones that you want and pay. Simple as that! But this dealer had just acquired a whole collection and there were a good number of interesting ones among them. So one would expect a difficult choice this month. However, no dilemma's or long discussions this month!
This month's joker was not as easy to find as the others in the Jaarbeurs. It was hidden in a French deck that was put in a slightly larger German box, that usually holds a standard patterned German deck. Normally we wouldn't have opened this box, but it was part of a small stack with interesting old decks and that was probably the reason why we opened this box too. At first glance the deck looked like an ordinary international pattern, but then we saw French indices and we took a closer look. Not only was the pattern not your everyday international pattern, but there was this great joker too.
"Riviera" is probably also the title of the deck: the name is part of the back design. The deck was probably made by Grimaud and -judging by the back design- probably in the 1930/40's. So....a great looking and very rare joker this month!
Again a very rare French joker this month! It comes with a rare advertising deck for Marie Brizard liquors. We had seen this deck at the collectors meeting in Nieuwerbrug in October, but the price was a little too high for us then. Although we had expected to have to wait for a few years before another deck would turn up somewhere, we were pleasantly surprised to see one on Ebay within a few weeks. And as you can see, we managed to win it too!
The deck was made by Draeger from France and the non-standard courts and aces show advertising slogans and different products by the Marie Brizard company. Even the numbercards all carry a (similar) advertising slogan. The deck was designed by Antoine de Roux.
Although there are a title card and two blanc cards, there's only one joker with the deck and we're proud to share this one with you here. And ..... it's an excellent joker to close this year with.
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