JOKER OF THE MONTH

 

*** 2013 ***

JANUARY 2013

Miriam had barely recovered from her enteritis or the landscape turned white. Still we could pick up our social life again. There was plenty of time for that, as there were no interesting flea markets or collectors meetings to visit. Fortunately you don't have to go out anymore to find nice decks. Nowadays there's always the internet and we followed the offer on Ebay and the Dutch auction site carefully. It brought us some nice modern decks and a great German deck from 1923.

We'll be frank... this joker isn't our first choice for this month. It had been on poll position for a while, but just by the end of January a deck arrived that was immediately chosen as Deck of the Month. It has a great joker, fully worth to be shown here. But.... as we don't want to show images twice on our site, we strongly advise you to go to that page (>xpo's >deck of the month) to see it. Anyway, that's why this joker has regained its place here.

The joker comes from a deck that was published by the Folio Society prior to Christmas 2012. The unusual designs on the courts, aces and jokers were done by the British artist and illustrator Jonathan Burton. The deck has two jokers and they were both weird in their own way. So another choice had to be made. We hope you'll like this one.

FEBRUARY 2013

It was a short month and it was a cold one too. The cold probably also causes the shortness of breath that Miriam has when we're walking outside. Even shopping has become a straining exercise for her, although Joop enjoys the frequent stops for a drink along the way. Fortunately for Miriam a lot of shopping can be done on the internet nowadays. And during a month without any collectors meetings, the internet is a fine source for decks and jokers too.

So it turned out to be a good month for our collection. We added at least 20 decks to it. Some were "missing links" in sub-collections, others had just been published or rarely seen vintage ones. This joker came with a deck from that last category. The deck that was printed by Grimaud and published in 1970 as an advertising deck for Barnier, a company that produces adhesive and isolation tapes. On each of the courts, but here on the joker, the design shows at least one roll of tape. The playful designs were done by the French illustrator James Hodges and they show human figures shaped by lines of curly tape.
This Joker of the Month has had a lot of competition and the final choice between the numbers 1 and 2 of the shortlist was a difficult one. Fortunately it was solved by our choice for the Deck of the Month. So... be sure to visit that page too and see why. The joker there is from 1947 and probably even harder to find than this one. 

MARCH 2013

It may be the end of March, but it seems that we can't shake off the winter here. There are already a few outside flea markets, but with an occasional snow flake in the air and a harsh eastern wind, we prefer to stay indoors and browse the internet auctions instead of the stalls. Although the "buzz" isn't as good as finding a great deck among the displayed stuff on a stall, there are startling decks to be found on the auction sites and there's still a mild excitement when you win them.

And we can't complain about this month's harvest: a real great deck as Deck of the Month and here's a joker that you won't see very often either. The scene is quite familiar: a jester, holding a card in one hand and a number of cards in the other. Similar designs are known by Piatnik and Grimaud. But here he's not set within a circular design, but cut off by a simple straight line.
This joker is French too, but it was not made in France. Until 1956 Morocco was a French colony and the deck that accompanied this joker was published there by a small company from Casablanca: Peep & Leff ("éditions artistiques du Maroc"), located on the Rue de l'Horloge 94. The publisher also sold books, prints, binding material, reproductions, bibles, sculptures and art bags ("sacs d'art"), so the deck has probably been commissioned at a local print shop. Maybe even at the Camoin branch there. The non-standard designs of French royalty on the courts and the design of the extra card suggest that it was published between 1945 and 1950. Anyway....... a simple, but rarely seen one this month!

APRIL 2013

It was a very slow month for decks and even our Deck of the Month didn't have a joker. Fortunately Joop had bought some single jokers too during the large collectors bourse in Utrecht. That was on Saturday. Miriam only came along on Friday, so most of the "new" jokers that Joop brought home turned out to be duplicates after all. Oh well, his intensions were good, but he should leave it to the expert.

So this month there were not that many new jokers to choose from and a decision was easily made.

This joker is one in a series of 3 similar jokers. They were given to us by a fellow member of the local klaverjas (a Dutch playing card game) club. The other two jokers have the same design, but in different colors. As their "stars" are in green and purple, it's likely that these jokers were made in Poland. This month the fact that it was a gift prevailed and we hope that you like this masked flute player.

MAY 2013

This month was somehow dedicated to Cuba. The Deck of the Month is a vintage Cuban one from 1934, that we received about 10 days before Joop went to visit Havana and especially the Museo de Naipes there. He brought along a donation of 60 decks for the museum. Unfortunately he received a text message after 3 days, that Miriam was taken to hospital here in the Netherlands. The good news is that right after he landed and went to the hospital, her discharge papers were already made up and he could take her home again. She's now slowly recovering and every day she gets a bit better.

On the last day in Havana Joop received a gift of 2 decks from the director, Laritza Siméon. One deck was published by the museum in 2005 as ""Naipes Neux". It wasn't printed in Cuba, that was done in Mexico. The cards are illustrated by artists, but show all the tourists spots of the island. The cards are somewhat smaller than usual and the deck comes in a somewhat higher, wooden box, together with explicative papers in 4 languages.

It's not a very pretty picture and it doesn't even say joker on the card, but there were two of them with the deck and the other is in b/w. So it's safe to assume that the Abakuá Devil is the joker. And it's a rarely seen one, as only 200 decks were made.

JUNE 2013

There were two collectors meetings this month. The first one was at the National Playing Card Museum in Turnhout, Belgium, and the second was the one in Velddriel, Netherlands. Miriam couldn't attend the first one, but was back in shape for the second. Both brought us decks, but no single jokers.
For us these meetings were the last before the summer break and the IPCS Convention from September 20-22 in Switzerland will be the start of the next official "hunting" season. But of course there's always the perennial unofficial circuit of flea markets, antique shows and online auction sites. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for the next few months and the markets can be held outside. And Joop is already looking forward to the annual Moules-Frites festival in Lille, France.

If we should have our typical Dutch summer, which was pretty wet for the last few years, we'll be spending more time on the online auction sites. We already follow the offer of decks frequently, but hardly that of jokers. So nowadays most of our new jokers come from the decks that we buy and the chosen one for this month isn't the exception..

This merry guy riding a goat comes from a French deck, that was published in 1983 to support the Armenian refugees in France.

JULY 2013

There were a good number of outdoor flea markets this month and the weather was just perfect for it, so we did quite a few of them. But we didn't find any interesting decks and could only enjoy strolling around in the gentle morning sun.

The auctions sites didn't bring many interesting decks either. We were outbid on most of the "good" decks, but even if we had won them, it wouldn't have made a difference here. None of them were published with a joker. There was one from a vintage Carta Mundi deck with (similar) jokers, but we already had that one in our collection as a single joker, so it wouldn't be a "new" one and one could say that we had only found the accompanying deck now.

But we had bought this single joker on Ebay. It's the not often seen version of the "nu-vue" ones and turned out to be one of the few to choose from this month. There was some competition from the jokers of the Curator deck and the Favola one, but we went for vintage instead of brand new.

So nothing really spectacular this time. Still, we hope that it will be a "new" one for most of our visitors.

AUGUST 2013

August was a very pleasant month, not too hot with plenty of sunny days, and Miriam spent many hours in the garden, reading and gardening. This month we had to wait until the very last day before making our final choice. 

The yearly "Moules & Frites" festival in Lille is usually held during the first weekend of September. This year it started on August 31 and as there's always a chance to find some good decks there, we had to postpone our decision until Joop had returned. Fortunately he didn't bring home anything to compete with this joker, which we had already picked as Joker of the Month.

The choice turned out to be an easy one again, as there was hardly any competition from other newly added decks.

The joker comes from a deck that was printed by Carta Mund from Turnhout, Belgium, but was published in France as an advertising deck for "Cider". It's a nice non-standard deck with unusual designed courts and an equally unusual designed joker. 

SEPTEMBER 2013

Most of this month was spend abroad. From 6 - 24 September we enjoyed a well-deserved vacation. Most of that time we were in France. We started with 3 days in Paris and then went to Hyères on the Cote d'Azur. Of course we did the usual flea markets in Paris and even in Hyères we found a large flea market on a Saturday. Our vacation ended with attending the annual IPCS convention, which was held in La Tour de Peilz, a small town very near to Montreux. During the trading sessions there, we managed to find a very scarce deck by the Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland. We already have the Rhenania deck, which came from the Albert Field collection, but this one came from the Robert van Gool collection and is in almost mint condition, so we were able to enhance the quality of our collection once again.
We also bought a French non-standard deck there, which none of the attending experts had ever seen before. This month's joker comes from that deck. It was published (and probably printed too) by IPC,  in which the "I" likely stands for Imprémerie and the "PC" for Plouviez & Cie. The company was located in Paris at 50 Faubourg du Temple in the 11th district. Because the mentioned telephone number starts with 3 letters, the deck will have been made before 1953.

Have you ever seen this obviously scarce joker before? We haven't......and it happens to be a great one too! So we're a little proud to be able to show it to you here and we think that it really deserves to be the Joker of the Month. 

OCTOBER 2013

We've bought some ten decks for our own collection this month. Most of them were antique ones and there were a few 32 cards decks, so there were only two decks that came with a joker and the choice was easily made. 

At first this joker was a gift from one of the members of our local "klaverjas" club. When we got home and looked at the back of the card, it turned out that the deck was published by our own pastry baker. So the next day we went to the shop, bought some pastries and asked about the deck. Of course we received one immediately, but we also got some information about it.

The deck was locally printed by the Drukkerij Nuance from Zaandam. It was published in 2011 to celebrate that the pastry bakery was awarded with a star. Something comparable with the Michelin stars for restaurants. The courts show a repeated (photo) series of 3 different pastries, so not a very interesting deck to keep in the collection. But we had never seen the joker before.
We're almost certain that most of you will not have seen this one either, so it makes a good Joker of the Month.

NOVEMBER 2013

There were two large collectors fairs this month and both brought us a few new decks for our collection and some decks to trade with. But...... nothing really spectacular. Neither in decks nor in the accompanying jokers. Of course it was nice to stroll around and look at all the "collectables", but as we're getting older each year we tend to call it a day at an earlier hour in the afternoon each year too. Still seven hours of walking around on Friday, with only a 20 minutes lunch break, is more than a good exercise and all joints will testify to that when you get home.

Although our sales on Ebay were poorly this month, we did acquire a good number of decks there and this joker comes from one of them. The deck was an advertising deck for Marlboro cigarettes with a standard Anglo-American pattern and it was published in the US. Still, it was made by Grimaud from France. We wanted to save some money on shipping, so we had only the 2 jokers and the ace of spades sent to us. Usually there's another face in the center of this Grimaud joker and there are lots of variations known, but we had never seen this typical Anglo-American face centered in this design. Probably done for export reasons to Anglo-American countries. The red one came with a blue brother and although they are titled joker, they have laid down their fools staff and seem to be taking their game very serious. They don't look like happy winners at that game, but maybe we can cheer them up a bit by letting them win this competition.

DECEMBER 2013

Miriam hasn't been doing very well in the last two months. Twice a 10 days prednison cure had to help out and stop her breathing problems. Because of this we had to miss the collectors meeting in Velddriel and as that was the only one this month, our decks (and jokers) had to come from the internet again.
The Dutch auction site (Marktplaats) usually has a good number of jokers on offer, but these are usually the more regular ones. The offer on Ebay is larger, but hardly better. So we never specifically search for "jokers" on these sites and will have to wait and see if there are nice jokers (if any) with the decks that we buy there.

This month was a slow month for decks, so also for new jokers. Our best deck this month came from the Dutch auction site, but dates from the late 19th century and was never issued with a joker. There were only a few decks with jokers to choose from and the final choice had to be made between 2 Russian jokers and the one that you're looking at now.

This joker comes from an artist deck. Alex Beard created a deck with "wild animals" on the courts and had published it as "untamed games" in 2009. 

 

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