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.

 

*** 2023 ***

JANUARY 2023

There were 2 jokers, which caught my eye in Miriam's old single jokers book. Both were made in the US, but the second one needed extensive research (i.e. turning a lot of pages in the Hochman) and I didn't have the time for that. So I went for the easy one, of which the name of the manufacturer was already given: the New York Consolidated Card Co.

That meant turning only a limited number of pages in the Hochman. Still, there were 30 references to pages to search through. But it didn't take more than 5 minutes to find the right picture on page 63. With the reference NY65 the following information was given: "Bee French Whist #68, NYCC, c1910. Another early whist size deck, made for only a short period."

So probably the joker is a bit special, as it was only produced for a short period. But I didn't know that when I chose this joker. I like the idea of the design, in which a jack is the puppeteer and the king and queen are the puppets.

FEBRUARY 2023

This month a Dutch joker collector asked me about 2 Austrian decks by Piatnik. One of them was the "Allerfeinste Salon Whist No. 133", printed in fine chromolithography and published in the 1920's. The title is printed on front and back of the box too, but (in a different font) also "made in Austria". This deck must have been exported to the US, as there's a small piece of an American tax stamp left on the box.

Although it says "52 Blatt Goldeck" on both sides of the box, there is this joker and an extra card. I guess that these were added because the deck was exported to the US. The extra card shows the name of the company, but here (in black) against a pink beige background with a red floral design in the middle and an embellished outline. Never seen this type in any other Piatnik deck. The deck has shiny gold corners, as promised by the "Goldeck" on the box.

Miriam was the real joker expert, but as far as I know this sitting joker by Piatnik is not often seen. I like the used soft colours.

MARCH 2023

I'm still busy downsizing my collection, so I'm not actively looking for new decks. Certainly not this month, in which a 2 weeks vacation in Egypt left me with enough things to do and to keep me busy for the rest it. No time to look for decks anywhere, so no new jokers to choose from. This time I decided to take Miriam's odd shapes and sizes folder. However, the joker couldn't be too big nor too small. 

So I started browsing and came across this one. I like this joker because of its simplicity. A silhouette balancing on a one-wheel bike, but with the obvious joker hat and pompoms on his shoes, and a simple red star in one corner. 

Laura Sutherland-Brown designed a semi-transformation deck, which was published through the New Yorker Magazine as "Sans Peur" (Without Fear) in 1977. The edition was limited to 3000 copies. As you can see this edition is slightly oversized (102 x 72 mm), but the deck was later republished in a regular size as "Paladin".
Like the joker all her designs in this deck are basically in black and white with red details. The deck comes with 2 jokers, but they are exactly the same.

APRIL 2023

I was at the general collectors fair in the Jaarbeurs on the 14th. I hadn't planned to go, but couldn't refuse when I was offered a free entrance on Friday. I didn't plan it, because I thought I would be tempted to buy some decks, while I'm trying to downsize the collection. And that was exactly what happened.
I found an antique English transformation deck, not in the best condition, but it will do, as the price was well affordable. It will be the Deck of the Month. What I should have done is buy a special single joker for this spot too, but it didn't even cross my mind. Apparently I'm a deck collector.

Fortunately I also bought a few decks with jokers. One of them brought this one. We have always had the complete deck on our wish list, the original, but have never found it. This joker comes from the reprint by the ASS from 1981. The original deck dates from 1916. It was printed by Piatnik and published by the Wiener Waisenfond. It's a beautiful Jugendstil/Art Deco deck with colourful courts, designed by Nelly Stern.
Of course there had to be differences between the original and the reprint. One of them is easy to spot: in the reprint indices were added. 
So check your jokers. No index on it...... you're the lucky owner of the original 1916 joker.

 

MAY 2023

May was a very busy month. Besides all the playing card business, which went very well and took up a lot of time, I finally went to the Vermeer exhibition in the Rijksmuseum and spent a 8-days vacation in Sweden and Denmark. Of course the latter was somewhat playing card related too. After 2 days in Gothenburg I visited Ali Jerremalm at his home and adjoining Playing Card Museum in Limmared. Saw bits of his vast collection and talked a lot about cards. The second day he showed me his archive, which consisted of an impressive number of boxes, drawers and cabinets filled with antique, vintage and modern decks. I have added the visit to his museum as an EVENT (click to visit) to get a good impression of Ali's dedication to our shared hobby.
In Denmark I spent 2 days in Copenhagen and on the return trip I visited Leo Scherfig and his wife Eva on the lovely isle of Mn. I met him when he attended his first IPCS convention last year in Madrid. He's an artist, who has designed 5 decks of playing cards, and currently had an exhibition of some of his work in the local community house. In the next months I'll post some of his decks in the ART & CARD section.

So an antique Danish joker this time. It came with the "Kruckows Danske Spillekort" by Kruckow from around 1900.

JUNE 2023

I know that I should not be buying playing cards when I'm trying to cut down our large collection to a core collection of decks that really matter to me. But on the other hand I don't want to pick a new joker for this spot from the existing collection every time. So when I saw this joker in a lot with some other antique American decks at a French auction house.........
Miriam was the joker collector and knew her jokers. But I became a member of the Joker Collectors group on FB when it was founded, so I see all kinds of rare jokers being posted. If memory serves me well, this joker is one of the  rare antique American ones, but I might be wrong.
What attracted me was the unusual design, not like most of it's contemporary American jokers. And with his cape, sword and special head wear he looked a bit like a 19th century super hero to me, a Marvel or DC hero avant la lettre.

Anyway, the joker came with a deck, which was made by the Union Playing Card Co. and published as "The Traveler's Companion" in 1886. My deck didn't come in a box, but from the Hochman (L40) I learned that it was a special box, which also contained "2 rolls of small poker chips for play on trains etc.".

JULY 2023

This month I received 4 decks in the mail, but non of them was ever issued with a joker. They were antique decks, of which the oldest dates from the 1770's. If you're interested, it's the Deck of the Month this time.

So the joker for this spot had to come from our collection again. Since I have been selling decks from my site, it has happened a few times that I cannot find a deck at first glance. In some cases I have to go through several boxes with decks to locate it....... or not. This time it was a French deck that went missing and caused a long, and until now futile, search. One of the boxes that I had to search through contained decks that I had once selected to be sold, but hadn't looked at again since. This joker was on top of one of these decks and seemed to say "choose me, choose me... my pose is perfect for this spot". And who am I to argue with him.

So here he is: Flip the Frog!
Flip was created by Ub Iwerks (full name: Ubbe Ert Iwerks), an American animator, and starred in a series of cartoons between 1930 and 1933, which were distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. So it's not a surprise to find him in a deck, which is known as Film Stars I, printed by De La Rue & Co. and published in 1933 by..... Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

AUGUST 2023

When you find a convex shaped joker or complete deck, there's a good chance that it was made (or published) in Finland. Complete Finnish decks often have courts that have numbers as indices: K = 13, Q = 12, J = 11. With this combination of shape and numbers it must be from Finland.

The "index" of the joker is a green bonnet, probably meant to represent a joker's hat, but looking more like a woolly.

The joker didn't come from a newly acquired deck, but from Miriam's joker collection. I noticed it when looking for another joker in one of the two "standing jokers" albums.
The joker comes from a deck that was printed by Abo Stentryckeri and published by Tilgman & Co in Finland as "Valtti", which means Trump in English, around 1930.

SEPTEMBER 2023

Of course the main event this month was the joined convention of the French collectors club ACCART and the IPCS in Blois, France. Unfortunately there was only one trading session and it started right after the registration. So members, at least I did, spent the first hours meeting and greeting each other with only half an eye on the offer on the tables.
I had hoped to find a deck that would still be on my (shortening) wish list, but no luck this time.
At these convention there are hardly any jokers for sale. There was only one French dealer, Jean-Pierre Godard, who had some jokers with him but I didn't see any special one that would fit this spot. So....... back to Miriam's collection again!

There must still be some 9000 jokers left and they are divided over 12 folders, with names like "women", "heads", "standing" (2x) or "double image". But there's one separate, vintage American book-like holder with the title My Card Collection. During the mini joker collectors convention at my home in early July a lot of the jokers from that holder found their way to the collections of Jelle, John, Fred or Ronald, but they left this one untouched. Maybe it's a common enough one, but I like the design anyway. The cheering suit kids brought a smile to my face.
The joker comes from a deck called Auction Bridge, made by the Standard Playing Card Co. (SU8 in Hochman) in 1910.

OCTOBER 2023

The main event this month was the convention of the 52+Joker club in Strongsville, a sort of suburb of Cleveland. It was good to see old friends again there and at the same time meet some of the younger members. I brought some 17 decks and one single joker to sell. Sold 3 decks and the joker. Although I didn't go there with the intention to buy, I came back with..... 3 decks, 1 joker and a small profit.

The joker was a gamble. We have always kept the Dutch Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland as the focus of our collection, which means that we've tried to get as many different decks, advertising material and other SN related items as we possibly could. I knew that we have several of these early "little farmer" jokers, with or without the horseshoe in the corners, but you never know them all by heart. Phil Bolhagen was the seller and he knows his prices, but when I told him about the gamble I was taking, he offered me a good discount. Good enough to buy the joker. These early versions with the horseshoes date from about 1916 - 1918. Back home I checked the jokers in our collection and guess what, this one was a new addition (compare Joker April 2021). So rightfully on this spot now.
And if you're wondering how a rare Dutch joker ended up in the US: the back advertises the Holland America line!

NOVEMBER 2023

This month I had to go through Miriam's holders again. No decks or single jokers were bought. She had 12 holders to choose from. I didn't look, but chose to pick the third from the left. It was the WOMEN holder, so there were a lot of pin-up jokers. But there were others too. I picked this one. It looked like a Copag joker, but an older one.
It was easy to find on the WWPCM site and I learned that the figure showed the World Cup Football Trophy and the joker first appeared in 1958, when Brazil had won that cup. The first edition of this joker didn't have any text at the bottom. There were 2 advertising version on the WWPCM site, but they both have the name of the advertised company on them too. This one doesn't, so I guess the address refers to Copag itself. The joker probably dates from the early 1960's.

The statue was designed and made by the French sculptor Abel Lafleur. It was titled "Victory" when the first World Cup tournament was held in 1930. But in general it was just referred to as "World Cup". In 1946 it was renamed Jules Rimet Trophy, after the FIFA official who had initiated the vote for this tournament in 1929. In 1970 Brazil had won the tournament for the 3rd time and was allowed to keep the trophy. The FIFA commissioned a new trophy.
The original statue was kept in a cabinet by the Brazilian Football Confederation, but was stolen in 1983, never to be found again.

DECEMBER 2023

I'm a bit lazy and when I'm pressed for time I tend to take the easy way. So when I had decided on my new Deck of the Month and found that we also had the same pattern in a later version, which came with a joker, it was quickly decided that this would be the joker for this spot.

I don't think it's a really rare or hard to find joker, but I think it's a nice one and it can just be called antique. The joker comes with Whist Nr. 28, produced by J. Mller from Schaffhouse, Switzerland. The deck has a luxury pattern, of which three versions are known. The first edition, which we never had, dates back to the 1880's. The second version, published as Whist Nr. 27, can be seen as Deck of the Month. It dates from around 1910. A third version followed in the 1920's and has this joker. Besides a different colouring of the courts, there's one major difference on the jack of clubs.

Nothing more to say than to wish you all "HAPPY JOKER HUNTING IN 2024".

 

 

The jokers of the month from.....

 2004  2010 2016  2022
2005 2011 2017
2006 2012 2018 2024
2007 2013 2019
2008  2014 2020
2009 2015 2021
or back to...
JOKERS