JOKER OF THE MONTH

Started in March 2004, there will be a new "joker of the month" added to this xpo each month.
The shown joker presents the best one that came to us in that month.

Each year we'll start with a clean sheet, but previous years will remain on xpo.

 

*** 2020 ***

JANUARY 2020

A new year and the downsizing of our collection has finally begun. This means going through boxes with decks that still had to be processed, deciding which would stay and which would be sold/swapped. Besides our new Deck of the Month this Joker of the Month comes from a deck that will stay in our collection.

It's a rarely seen Finnish deck, that was printed and published by Abo-Turk in 1941. The courts are done in an Art Deco like style. The used card is not of high quality due to the scarceness of paper, caused by WW II.
The courts are printed in full colour, but this girly joker is just in red/white. The design is not as spectacular as that of the joker from our Deck of the Month -be sure to check it out- but she scores a bit better in rareness. 

FEBRUARY 2020

There was a large collectors bourse during the last weekend of the month. It is held twice a year and I go there on both occasions. Officially the bourse is only on Saturday and Sunday, but on Friday the sellers get a chance to put their stuff on the stalls and collectors get a chance to attend at a slightly higher entry fee. I usually go on Friday and Saturday.
It meant having to wait until the last moment, because you never know what you may find there, even on Saturday. This time no real finds for the joker section. But I had a back-up.....

A modern joker this time. I came across it when I was sorting out some Italian decks with the nowadays usual question.... to stay or to go. So this one got to stay. There was a second joker, a different one, but I liked the colours of this one better. They both came in a deck that was designed by Ugo Nespolo and published by the R.A.I. in Italy in 1997. The deck was printed by Dal Negro from Treviso.
Usually the Italian jokers are "jollies", they often have a Jolly Joker in the pack. This one has simple stars, but the design of the colourful figure expresses his being jolly.

MARCH 2020

I'm a member of a few different Facebook groups about playing cards. Since a few days there's a new group, that deals with counterfeit decks, false jokers and other misbehaviour in the playing cards world. I had written a short story about the Russian publisher MAK who shamelessly copies artwork from the internet and turns the pictures into decks. One of the members asked me to show the Olympus deck by Wolfgang Behrend. I had been in contact with the artist between 2010 and 2013 and had written that Wolfgang (1944 - 2015) had pictures of cards on his website, showing complete decks there. But one of these decks hadn't been published yet, as Wolfgang was still looking for a German printer for this deck. In one of our last contacts I could tell him that this Olympus deck had already been printed and published in Russia..... by MAK.

When I was scanning the courts from this deck for that member I realized that the joker (one of 2 similar designed ones) was not often seen and although from a rogue deck, still worth showing here. I'm a bit lazy! Sorry.

APRIL 2020

I don't know how it is in other countries, but here in the Netherlands our "intelligent" lockdown means that only people in "vital" functions are still allowed to work. Bars, restaurants, nail salons and many other small businesses have been ordered to close down. If possible people work from home, but there are a lot of people at home without a job to go to. Schools are still closed, so the kids are at home following classes on a laptop.
But family life has changed too. People start with a thorough spring clean, redecorate or refurnish their living or bedrooms. There's a lot more reading, playing family games or sport exercising at home. 

With most of the shops closed online shopping has increased enormously, but fortunately one of the appointed vital jobs is that of delivery man/woman. "Order before 23:00 and you'll have your package delivered tomorrow" is advertised a lot in the Dutch online shops. Okay, the Netherlands are a small country, but still this puts a lot of strain on the distribution chain.
The delivery men work more hours than ever before and often at a minimum wage, so I thought that they might deserve some recognition and praise too, just like the doctors and nurses in the hospitals.
This month's joker sums up their problems: too many packages and too much hurry. It's an American joker, with an advertising back for Appleton Electric Products. I would have told you more, but oops...got to go. There's someone at the door: the delivery man with the hometrainer that I ordered.

MAY 2020

Only 3 decks this month, of which two were never published with a joker and the third one had a standard CM joker. So I had to find another source. In one of the Facebook groups about playing cards I show a different deck each day since April 2: "the lockdown series".  Last week I had to find the jokers to go with the Cashmere deck by Piatnik. I knew what they looked like and that they would be in a holder that Miriam named "heads". I found them, but while strolling through the sheets I saw a good number of jokers that I couldn't remember seeing before. I showed a few of them in the Joker Collectors group on FB.

For this spot I went back to that holder and found this joker. I do remember it, because it carries a memory. 
It must have been about 12 years ago. We were on our way home from a vacation in Italy and before a last weekend in Paris we found a hotel in Reims. Through eBay I had been in contact for several years with a French collector from Reims and we had arranged to meet him at his home there. He showed us his collection and some duplicate decks. We had found some interesting decks in Florence and we decided to swap a few decks. This joker comes from one of them, printed by Grimaud, designed by James Hodges and published by Tissmétal in 1974. Apparently it's a very rare deck, as I've only seen it once more since then. So a good joker to share here.

JUNE 2020

This month I visited a joker collector. He was relatively new to the hobby and he wanted to swap jokers, not buy them. So I took a look at his duplicate jokers, but they were all pretty common. He also showed me his collection and even although that mostly consisted of common jokers too, there was one that I had never seen before. When Miriam was still around we had visited beginning joker collectors before and were always surprised to find one or two in their collection that we had never seen before, no matter how limited that collection was. Same here.
I hadn't swapped jokers before, that was Miriam's thing, but I was in a good mood and because he was a beginning collector I generously offered him 20 duplicates of mine to swap for this one from his collection. That got him a bit suspicious at first, but he had already picked almost 20 to swap and his greed got the better of him, so he agreed on the swap.

So here she is, sitting on the moon holding up a drink, surrounded by stars and some light brown nebula's. No, she's not in the best condition. The back shows a goose in flight and advertises Miller High Life, "the champagne of bottle beer". So that's probably in the glass she's holding. Google brought some more information. Apparently this logo is called "Girl on the Moon" and there have been at least 5 versions of her. This version would have been in use in the 1950's. I think it's safe to say that the joker was made in the US, but couldn't put a maker to it. Nevertheless...... cheers!

JULY 2020

Only one deck arrived this month, It's from the 1850's, so from the pre-joker era. But I did buy jokers this month, in fact 99 of them. They are Heineken jokers and all the same. So why buy them? Well, they came as an uncut sheet and that sheet was printed by the Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland. This company is the only real focus we had in collecting playing cards and we have tried to gather as much material as possible, so decks, advertisements, prints etc. It's not the first time that the jokers for a deck were printed separately by SN and the sheet was bought just to prove that point.

Interesting as that may be, it also means that there were no jokers to choose from this month. Just as I thought I would go through some albums with jokers and choose one, I remembered an unusual, but rare vintage single joker that I had recently put in a sales album. It saved me a lot of time and the joker is well worth showing here.
It came with the "Grand Dukes" deck, which was printed by AB Spindulis from Lithuania around 1930. I doubt that you'll ever see this one in real, so....... enjoy!

 

The jokers of the month from.....

 2004  2009  2014  2019
2005 2010 2015
2006 2011 2016
2007 2012 2017
2008 2013 2018
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JOKERS