July 2007


This month was a slow month for new decks. We added 8 decks to our collection, but -although we received it as first- this month there was almost no doubt that this Dondorf deck would be the winner. And we were proven right: none of the later decks could top this one. Sometimes life is so easy!

We received this deck early July. We had spotted it on Ebay France and had determined from the very small picture that was shown in the item description that it should be an early version. When we had received the deck we saw that it was the second variation of the "Club Karte" by Bernard Dondorf (Braun catalogue on Dondorf, 1860/3). It is printed in chromolithography and was published ca. 1868. 

This deck is probably the Dondorf deck with the greatest number of variations and sub-variations. The first edition of variation #1 was done as a steel engraving. Later on variation #1 was printed in chromolithography too.

Although the designs of the courts have not changed, compared to the chromolithographic version of variation#1, the difference is that in variation #1 the black band on the Aces mentions the name of the maker and the names of the scenes were placed just above the band in the design. In variation #2 the names of the scenes are mentioned (in French) in the black band and the makers name is only to be found on the courts (just like in variation #1).

The deck consists of 52 cards. They measure 64 by 93 mm and have square corners.

The deck is not only know among collectors as Club Karte. Other names are used too: Cartes de Beau Monde or Judenkarte. At first only the company number was mentioned in the Dondorf pricelists, but in 1912 the company referred to the deck as Club Karte in their pricelist.