Just like the "Joker of the Month" in the Jokers section we will select a "Deck of the Month" from all the decks that we could add to our collection during that month. It will be what we consider our best find. We've started this section in April 2007 and without any doubt we can say here that over the years there will be antique, vintage and modern decks shown on these pages. Age, design and value of the chosen decks may be very different each time.

 

March 2017

 

We didn't do too bad this month. It started in the first week with a nice Bezique set, VSS Salon pattern with a set of Dutch scenic aces that we did not have yet. It came from the Dutch auction site. Ebay brought a nice "Model A" set by Banco from Paris as well as a nice Italian fortune telling deck called Portafortuna.

But the highlight of this month was a long weekend in Paris, with the international trading bourse by ACCART as a good excuse to go. Joop did the usual markets on Saturday. This time the Porte de Vanves as well as the Porte de Clignancourt brought some great finds. The Tarot Chinois by Lequart and an Aluette deck by Charles Maurin, both from around 1865, were shown on FB. We didn't show this deck there, because we already knew that this one would be shown here.

The deck had been on Joop's wish list for quite a while and finding this German deck on a Parisian market was quite a surprise too. The fine detailed, somewhat heroic designs, inside the ornamented borders, together with the fine chromolithographic printing and the unusual suit symbols, did the trick for him 

The deck was printed by the lithographic printshop of J.G. Fritzsche from Leipzig (Germany) and was published in 1883 in commission by Dr. Timon Schroeter from Jena. According to Jean Darquenne the designs were done by Jacob Hirsch  & Martin Lämmel. The deck is known as New German Playing Cards or the Radish deck. The deck has German indices, of which the O(ber) usually represents a higher ranking person than the U(nder), which is accentuated by the position of the suit symbols. The K(önig) usually shows royalty. In this deck 4 mediaeval German Emperors, who were the most important to have reigned the Holy Roman Empire, roughly between 800 and 1500.

 

We'll show them in reversed order, so starting with the youngest, Maximilian I and ending with the oldest, Charlemagne.

Maximilian I (1459 - 1519) became King of the Romans (also known as King of the Germans) in 1486 and, although he hadn't been crowned by the Pope, he ruled over the Holy Roman Empire from 1893 until his death. He's accompanied in this suit by an imperial herald and a lansquenet from around 1500. It's the only court card where a date is mentioned, but it seems that the K, O and U in each suit are dressed in clothing from their era.

 

Rudolf of Habsburg (1218 - 1291) became Count of Habsburg in 1240 and was elected King of Germany, formally known as King of the Romans, in 1273.

 

In German suited decks the "deuces" can be seen as aces. Suit symbols are: radish, sun flower, ivy and acorns.
CLICK ANY OF THE ACES TO SEE ALL THE ILLUSTRATED PIP CARDS.

The deuces show personal heraldic shields of Maximilian, Rudolf and Frederick and the national shield of the Roman (German) Kingdom from around 800.

 

Frederick I (1112 - 1190) is better known as Frederick Barbarossa (red beard in Italian) became King of the Germans in 1152 and King of Italy in 1155. He was crowned as Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope in that same year. He took part in the Third Crusade and drowned in the Saleph river, near the Silifke Castle (Turkey) where he had set up his camp. His Ober is a Knight of the Cross and the Under shows a knight standing guard.

 

Charles the Great (Charlemagne) has been called the father of Europe, as he has united most of western Europe during the early Middle Ages. He was born in the 740's and died in 814. He was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774 and Emperor of the Romans (Germans) from 800. The Ober is a Palace civil servant and the Under a horn blower.