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.

 

*** 2021 ***

JANUARY 2021

A disappointing month for this section. I did buy 3 decks, but none of them were ever issued with a joker. So I decided to browse through Miriam's collection again and see which joker would catch my eye. 
I took out the "Women" holder and the first thing that I noticed was that more than 70% of all the jokers were pin-up's or had an erotic content. But no pornographic jokers, Miriam didn't like them. 

From the other 30% I chose this cute girl. Maybe it was the red and yellow, maybe the suit signs, maybe that mysterious number, but I fell for her. There was a b/w version next to it.
I had to look it up in the Hochman, page by page, but I found out that this joker was used by the Arrow Playing Cards Co. (since the mid 1930's known as the ARRCO Playing Cards).

Anyway, a nice one to start the year with.

FEBRUARY 2021

Emotionally it was a difficult month, especially in the week around the 11th. It's been two years now since Miriam died, but this year the loss felt more intense. I guess the lockdown and curfew didn't really help either to lift the spirit.
But life goes on and I'm happy that I have a hobby to keep me busy. The lockdown series on Facebook is one way, but I also follow eBay France and the Dutch auction site Marktplaats.

Through the latter I got in contact with a couple, that used to have a stall at the same collectors bourses as we attended a long time ago. It was nice to renew that contact and it brought a few decks as well. To deal with on eBay, but there was one that had 2 (similar) jokers which I hadn't seen before. It's a simple souvenir deck with 52 pictures from Kenya, so not really interesting to keep. But the joker was unusual, showing a white man, dancing in traditional headwear and dress, holding a joker baton. As said..... unusual. 

MARCH 2021

I have decided to buy one joker each month, in which there are no interesting jokers in the decks that I bought that month. This month there was only one deck. It had a joker, even an interesting one, but as I chose the deck as Deck of the Month that joker will be shown there.

So I bought this one on eBay. The seller was a Dutch collector and the joker also is from Dutch origine. The back shows a 3 of hearts, so one could wonder if it's a real joker. Well, it is. The deck from which it comes is a special deck for doing magic tricks. It was developed, printed and published by Mulder from Amsterdam in 1967. There are 16 special cards, among them are a few 3 of hearts, but only one with a joker on the other side. The deck is rarely seen, so needless to say that you won't find this joker easily. Enjoy!

APRIL 2021

I had actually gone out to buy a joker, which I thought would be a nice one for this spot here. I had bought it on the Dutch auction sit and the seller lived nearby, so I had agreed to pick it up. But when I got there he showed me several other albums full of jokers. I couldn't help it, but I bought a few jokers by the Universal Playing Card Company from Japan and this one.
It's not a new one, I have several versions of this joker. They were made by the Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland from Amsterdam from around 1916 until the mid 1920's. This is an older one, with the horseshoes in the corners, and it probably dates from around 1918. We already had this joker's back design in blue, but this one has the red version. So why still buy this joker? Well, the focus of our collection has always been the production of the SN company. So we also have playing card games by this company, a children's puzzle and different kinds of paraphernalia. Among those are two lithographic stones and one of them has the design for this (red and blue) back.
So the joker that I was originally going to buy, didn't make it to this spot, but this one is more than a good replacement.

MAY 2021

Did I say more info? Well sorry, I don't have any. No idea who made it and when. An educated guess would say probably American and from the 1930's or 40's. The joker comes from an advertising deck for Singer sewing machines and the same image is used on the backs, although somewhat smaller and set against a green background with two banners saying "you will score" and "by using them".
I picked this one because the scene reminded of my mother. She had a similar Singer machine (although integrated in a sort of cupboard) in the 1950's and I remember her sitting in the bedroom creating pj's or dresses from a women's magazine. So a bit of nostalgia this month. Sorry for that, I must be getting old!

PS.
Emile Kiderlen, a Dutch joker collector, did the research on this joker and found that it was printed by the USPCC and dates from 1924.

JUNE 2021

Covid measures in France were further lifted on June 19 and it was no longer necessary to wear a facemask outside. For me that was a good enough reason to finally take a short 10 days vacation and head for the south of France on the 20th. On the way I visited Jean-Pierre Godard, a French dealer in stamps, antique postcards and ... playing cards. I spent almost a whole day with him and his family and looked though his merchandise between chatting, lunch and dinner. And I found a couple of interesting decks, one for my own collection and a few for selling on eBay.
One of the decks for my own collection was a doubledeck, advertising DD Chausures, made by Banco from Paris in the 1950's. Although they don't mention "joker" there were 2 of these cards with each deck, so they probably functioned as such. J-P had marked them as jokers.

 

JULY 2021

I had bought one joker from a Dutch collector, specially for this spot here, but I gave it to another Dutch joker collector, when she visited me with her hubby. Why? Well, after receiving it I found out that it was already in Miriam's collection, but in a book that I hadn't checked. And that one was in better condition. 
I had bought it because the image had a bit of a sinister look. The sweet faced clown holding a donkey's head. But it's just the head, apparently detached from the rest of his body, and the realistic way in which it's drawn provided the sinister look for me. Could it be a mask made of a real donkey head? Would I stick my head in it???

I also found that this joker probably isn't a very rare one, because it was the standard joker of the Western Playing Card Co. from Racine, USA, since the early 1930's. For those of you who want to see the back design of this joker, click here.

AUGUST 2021

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that there would be a meeting of playing card collectors in Hasselt again. Mostly jokers and backs, but some collectors had brought decks to sell too. One of them had a standard Anglo-American by Hija de B. Fournier S.L. from Burgos (Spain). I still have a mild dislike for this pattern, but the deck had a joker that immediately stole my heart. The price wasn't too wild, so I bought the deck just to have a suitable joker for this spot.

The deck was published as No. 4 A, probably in the 1940's, but maybe a bit earlier, as the history of the company goes back to 1785, when Francois Fournier settled in Burgos and started a printshop. His sons Braulio, Gervasio, Heraclio and Julián began their own playing card printshop in 1860 as Fournier Hermanos. Heraclio left the company to start his own printshop in Vitoria, not far from Burgos.
After a few name changes the company was headed by Teresa, a daughter from Braulio's second marriage and was named Hija de B. Fournier SL since around 1900. It operated under that name until 1978, when the company was dissolved.
So a cute, vintage Jolly Joker from the lesser known Fournier family.

SEPTEMBER 2021

This month was such a hectic and intense one, that I had to make serious and painful decisions. One of them is that I will be selling the collection of playing card decks with the exception of the SN decks and a few others. But for now I will not be selling the joker collection and I will continue to post a new Joker of the Month. I will not be buying jokers for this spot, but will choose them from the existing collection.

The Deck of the Month has a different animal illustration on each card, so to remain in style, here's a double image of a cute bear. The red JOKER suggests that there was one with black letters too. The joker comes from a deck that was printed by the Western Playing Cards Co. from Racine, Wisconsin, probably in the 1940's. The back also shows a drawn image of a bear.

OCTOBER 2021

The joker was chosen from one of the books in Miriam's collection, titled "women". Somehow most of the jokers in that book show pin-ups, either drawn or photographic. I wonder why :)
I immediately recognized the style and knew from which deck it came. I've always liked the highly recognizable style of this artist, Rion Vernon. He has produced 2 decks, with 54 different pin-up designs each, for suicidegirls.com (see SuicideGirls - Wikipedia). This joker comes from the first deck, printed in China and published in the US in 2007. His second deck was published in 2009.
According to the article there suicidegirls.com has produced movies, books, comic books, magazines and games, but nowhere the publication of the 3 decks that are in my collection is mentioned. One was done by a different artist.

Before his work for suicidegirls.com Rion Vernon had published his own "Pinup Toons" deck in 2004, with pin-ups in that same recognizable style. All these decks are nowadays considered as highly collectable by pin-up collectors.
You can find the complete Rion Vernon decks in the Pinup & Erotica section:
see 055 in the present Xpo and 046 and 138 in the Archives.

 

The jokers of the month from.....

 2004  2009  2014  2019
2005 2010 2015 2020
2006 2011 2016
2007 2012 2017
2008 2013 2018
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JOKERS