JOKER OF THE MONTH

 

*** 2010 ***

JANUARY 2010

During the general collectors fair in Utrecht we only bought a few single jokers. Most of our new jokers came from decks, that we bought on the internet this month. So there was a good number to choose from, but it would always result in a modern one, as none of the decks was older than 10 years. The only antique deck that we bought this month was an American deck from c. 1890 and that deck was never issued with a joker.

This year winter has already lasted for about two months now and that's long enough for us. While looking at the white landscape around us, we long for the spring. And we think that this month's joker reflects that feeling very well. It comes from a deck of  "Green Cards", which was published in the UK in 2008. There are new leaves and branches sprouting from the joker's feet and he seems to be just as exited about it as we. So let's hope that we can soon see some fresh green here again too.

FEBRUARY 2010

It was a slow month for jokers. Even though Joop attended the Brussels Euro Joker Club meeting, he came back with no single jokers, just some decks. The internet brought us a very nice deck, but that's already shown elsewhere on our site as "Deck of the Month", so we don't show that joker here, although it's a very nicely designed one.

As it was a slow month for decks too, the choice was limited to a handful of jokers and finally boiled down to a difficult choice between two. We don't know how he did it, but this month Loki was suddenly here as a self-proclaimed "Joker of the Month".
In the Norse mythology Loki is the son of two giants and the blood-brother of Odin. But he has had many nicknames, which all refer to his deceiving nature. It's not good, when people call you a "Wizard of Lies" or "Sly-God". The innocent looking head on the Grimaud joker from a French advertising deck obviously didn't have a change against such a crooked God.

The joker comes from a non-standard deck, that was published by Icelandair in 2009. The courts show other figures from the Norse mythology.

MARCH 2010

There were two events this month that we usually attend: the monthly flea market and the general collectors fair, both held in Utrecht. Unfortunately Miriam had a serious inflammation in that weekend and we couldn't go to the flea market. But the other event was 2 weeks later and we were able to man our stall there. There were some surprising finds, but this month's joker comes from the Dutch auction site.

It comes from a deck that was printed and published by H. Fournier from Spain as a souvenir deck for Lebanon and it shows a Phoenician sarcophagus. It's not a very special looking joker, but it's special for us, because the deck is part of a series of 7 different souvenir decks, which were printed and published by Fournier between 1955 and 1962. This particular deck, which dates from around 1958, has slipped through our hands a few times on Ebay, although our bids were generous. Somehow it's a rarely seen and much sought after deck. 

So the joker isn't seen much either and we're happy to share it with you here. There are two jokers with the deck. They show the same image, but the one shown here is in brownish tones, while the other is in black and gray tones.

APRIL 2010

It was a very difficult choice this month and that was not just because there was a good number to choose from. Besides the monthly flea market, we attended two events this month. The first was the general collectors bourse at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht and the second one was the meeting of the Dutch collectors in Nieuwerbrug. Together they brought us a good number of interesting decks and jokers.

To make the choice even more difficult the Hermès company published a new non-standard deck this month with a great joker. The only reason why that joker isn't presented here is that it can be seen elsewhere on our site and we try to avoid using the same image twice. If this has made you curious enough.....click HERE.

Miriam picked up this month's Joker during the Dutch meeting. It didn't come with a deck, so there's not much information to give. The Cyrillic letters make it likely that it was produced for the Russian market, but the quality and feel of the card suggest a Chinese maker. But it was the cute, modern and streetwise version of Donald, which makes it so attractive, that one would almost forget that Donald is already over 75 years old. But.........forever young!

MAY 2010

It's not the first time that it took a while before we could unanimously decide on this month's joker. There were several competitors and each had its own merits. On the final short-list there was an old Piatnik joker from the 1920's, a cute one from a recently published Russian artist deck, an old photo souvenir joker from the rare "Vistas de Lima" deck from the early 1900's and this one.

She was accompanied by another "Jolly", showing the face of her male companion, in a deck that was published in Milan, Italy, by Il Meneghello in 1977. It was the 8th edition by Il Meneghello. The deck is titled "Flora e Fauna della Polinesia" and it shows a different design on each of the 40 cards. The deck was published in a limited and numbered edition of 999 copies. The illustrations were done by Orvaldo Menegazzi.

All the cards show colourful designs of flowers or animals, but only on the jokers humans are depicted. Together with her companion this Jolly girl comes from Moorea, an island in French Polynesia, close to Tahiti. In fact "Moorea" is the Tahitian word for "yellow lizard".

Oh well, the island may be crawling with yellow lizards, but there are definitely beautiful girls too and here's Miss Moorea to prove it!

JUNE 2010

Not a difficult choice this month! Our best finds didn't come with jokers, because they were from the pre-joker era. We made a shortlist with some interesting ones, but already knew that this one would probably would be the winner this month. The joker comes from a delightful non-standard deck, that was probably made in France and was published by the famous Parisian pastry and chocolate maker Ladurée by the end of 2009.

It's funny how some jokers or decks will always be a souvenir of a day or a place or an event. This joker will always remind us how it changed one of our days in Paris. In the morning there was still a drizzling rain, so we went to visit the big department stores to shop around. In the Lafayette we strolled around in the household section and came across this deck in a window of the Ladurée stand. It was only on display there, but could be bought in the main Ladurée shop in the Rue Bonaparte. So we had another goal that day. When we came out of the Lafayette store and set down on a terrace for drinks, the rain stopped and by the time that we got to the Ladurée shop the sun was out in full. So after purchasing the deck, we went across the street and had a great outdoor lunch in the sun. Although Ladurée also has its own Champagne brand, we had a nice prosecco with our lunch. But the joker (and the deck) will always remind us of this lovely afternoon in Paris.

JULY 2010

It was love at first sight this month. We had bought the joker -through Ebay- from a Dutch joker collector. His father had been a collector of playing cards for many years and when he died 2 years ago, his son inherited his collection. He is not able to keep the collection complete and has been selling off parts of it on Ebay. 

The two jokers -similar ones- came with a deck, which was probably made in France and published there too. It came without the original box and there was no further information about the deck in the item description, so it's difficult to put a date to it, but judging by the designs we suspect that it was made around 1970. The deck has non-standard courts and they were designed by J.D. Malcles. His name is in full on each of the courts, but the joker is signed with his initials only. * In January 2012 we found that the joker also exists with a red banner, depending on the colour of the back design. Red decks have red jokers, blue decks have blue jokers.

There were some other jokers that made it to the shortlist, like an old one by Camoin from the 1920's. And there was a nice devilish one that came with a recently issued Red Dead Redemption deck and a cute one that came with a reproduction of an old English deck, but -as said- this month they couldn't really compete. It were the colours and the "magical" design which tipped the scale. The inverted funnel, the magic want, the fire and water...... is this joker fooling himself, thinking that he's in control of the elements? Enjoy!

AUGUST 2010

Although there were a good number of new decks this month, most of them were without a joker. Either they didn't come with the pattern or the deck was from the pre-joker era or the decks were for piquet or a similar game and held only 32 cards. One of our best finds this month was a Wüst deck from 1890, but that didn't have a joker, just like our deck of the month, an early Grimaud "Trente-Quarante" deck.

This month's joker came from a deck that we found during an open-air flea market. It came from a regular deck, with the international pattern on the courts. The deck was printed by M.D. Gunasena & Co. Ltd. and was published as "Las Vegas" in Ceylon, since 1972 known as Sri Lanka.

It's not one of those decks, that one would expect to find here in the Netherlands. We visited Sri Lanka in 1979 and 1981, but that was before we collected playing cards. So even if we would have seen it in a shop there, we would never have brought it home with us. Fortunately someone else did that for us and somehow it ended up on a stall here now and we bought it for the price that it probably would have cost c1980 in Sri Lanka. And hey.....isn't he cute too?

SEPTEMBER 2010

It was a very, very slow month for jokers. Not many decks were bought that contained a joker. In fact the choice was limited to 2 jokers!

One of the finds that Joop brought back from the Moules & Frites festival in Lille, was a deck that he thought we would already have, but turned out the be a new one. The mistake is easily made. The decks look very much alike in style. Both show stained windows with  figures on the courts. The difference is that one deck shows stained windows in Mediaeval style and the other in Renaissance style. In the latter the courts have a single figure Parisian pattern. The Mediaeval deck shows single figures from a much older regional pattern. Both decks were designed by Moncar. The Mediaeval deck was published in 1985 and the Renaissance deck in 1986.

The jokers look very much alike in style too. This is one of the 2 jokers that came with the Mediaeval deck and it's the better one. The other has that typical rectangular blank space, which can be found in other Grimaud decks too and is sometimes used for advertising. Hopefully the joined IPCS/Asescoin convention in Lisbon from 8-10 October will bring us many decks with plenty of jokers to choose from again.

OCTOBER 2010

Lisbon didn't bring the expected large amount of jokers. We bought a few decks during the first trading session of the IPCS/Asescoin convention, which is usually used to get a good impression of the offer on the tables, spot possible buys, but only buy the real interesting bargains. However, all the Spanish dealers didn't show up for the second trading session, so that limited our possible buys for the better part. Fortunately we had already spend 5 days in Lisbon before the convention started and had visited the local flea market on Tuesday. There we had found a couple of decks with a few new jokers. 

But after our return there were still the Utrecht flea market and the Dutch trading meeting at Nieuwerbrug. The first brought us nice trading decks, but none for our own collection. The second one brought us a few new decks, with new jokers too. So at least there was a better number to choose from than last month. 

During the convention Miriam had found two decks by Siegfried Heilmeier at a bargain price. We already had one of them in our collection, but as these decks are not often offered, we took them both and were glad to have found a new one. The cards from the "Mariachi No 1" deck, made by the artist in 1982 in a limited edition of 100 copies, are somewhat larger than usual. The joker measures 70 x 118 mm.

Although it's not the cutest joker this month, it certainly is the rarest one and therefore worthwhile to show it here as "Joker of the Month".

NOVEMBER 2010

Tough decisions this month! Each weekend there was either a flea market or a collectors meeting or an antique's fair, so you can imagine that we've acquired quite a lot of decks this month. This time most of them came with jokers.

We had finally made a short list of the 3 most interesting ones and then, although we hadn't expected it to arrive until the beginning of December, the mailman brought us a deck from the US on November 29. This changed the list immediately. A not often seen Polish joker, a cute one from Indonesia and an older French one from a limited edition, they all had to step aside for the accompanying joker of this deck. It was a cute bear dressed up as a baseball catcher and he came from a deck, which was printed in the US by Stancraft and published there by the Theo. Hamm Brewing Co. in 1966. We had just finished the update of this page on November 30, when the mailman brought us another package from the US and again this had the same effect here: we couldn't resist it and had to change this page once more.

This almost surreal joker comes from the Fable III deck, which was included in the "Limited Edition" of the Fable III game for the Xbox 360. The new game was released on October 26. So it's a sort of scoop here. ENJOY!

DECEMBER 2010

December is always a busy month, so fortunately there were only 2 events to go to. The monthly flea market in Utrecht has become a regular one for the last 10 years. A newcomer is the Dutch collectors meeting in Velddriel. It's organized by Hans van der Zalm, a Dutch collector, and the ambiance of the large trading room is very nice. Unfortunately a good number of collectors didn't show up, because of the weather conditions, but still there was enough to trade, buy and sell there.

No real tough decisions to make this month! Although we bought a good number of decks again this month, there were not that many with one or more jokers. So that made the choice relatively easy.

This month's joker comes from a non-standard deck, that was published in Germany for the Crandy company, which offers the possibility of mobile payments. The deck was probably made in Germany too.

 

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