January 2010


Halfway January there was a general collectors bourse in Utrecht. We always try to attend it and have a stand there. The bourse starts on Friday afternoon, when the dealers get a chance to build up their stand. Joop usually takes the boxes with our stuff along on Friday, but just puts them on the stand and covers them with a large plastic sheet. Then he goes strolling around the other stands hoping to find an early catch. On Saturday we both leave early and while Miriam organizes our stuff on the stand, Joop wonders off again in his role as purchase manager. But Miriam enjoys her role as sales manager too, so we're both happy.
This time however, we could have been a little happier. The number of visitors of the bourse wasn't as high as usual, so that was reflected in our sales and it didn't bring us any great finds either. 

Neither did the monthly flea market in Utrecht a week later, so this month our favourite deck had to come from elsewhere. Fortunately there's always the internet. Although Ebay brought us our best find, it's hard to show it here, as the deck is still in the original wrapper and we've decided to keep it like that, at least for a long time. There's something impressive about antique, but still pristine decks and the USPCC's "Amerikanischen Skat Spielkarten No 2" from around 1890 definitely qualifies as antique. The box is a little shelf-worn, but the deck is still in its original wrapper, sealed with the USPCC stamp and with the original band, saying "No 2 Gold Edges", still around the wrapper and also sealed with a USPCC stamp. When an object like this hasn't been opened for 120 years, in our view it has gained so much respect, that we should leave it as it is.

So it's not our best find, but we're still happy to present you the following deck as Deck of the Month.

It was published as Carnival Playing Cards by Allfours Ltd from Trinidad, but the deck was printed in Canada. Still, the Trinidad connection was enough to tip the scale for this deck. We visited Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1990's and still have some nice memories of these islands and their inhabitants. The yearly carnival is a big thing on Trinidad, so it's not a surprise to find a reference to it on these playing cards.

The courts and aces are as colourful as the street markets in Port of Spain. Each of the suits depicts figures from different origin, all referring to the inhabitants of Trinidad. The Clubs show the oldest settlers, the Amerindians from South America. The Diamonds show the Afro-Trinidadians, who were originally brought to the island as slaves, until slavery was fully abolished there in 1833. The Spades show the Indo-Trinidadians who came from India in the 19th century as labourers to replace the slaves on the sugar plantations. The Hearts show present day Trinidadians, who often work on ships in the mercantile navy.

The two jokers and the back design refer to the carnival

The deck consists of 52 cards and 2 jokers.