June 2010


We'll be frank: this isn't our best find this month. But it was a gift and that made it special enough to be presented here this month. When a fellow collector asked for our help with a program for his website, we went all across the country to help him out. When we declined any payment for gas or time, he gave us a few Dutch privately printed decks and this deck. And let's be frank again......we appreciate this much more! 

The deck was clearly made by C.L. Wüst from Frankfort, Germany. Not only does the makers name appear on all the backs (see bottom of page), but also the typical Wüst Star is on the Jack of Clubs, together with one of those mysterious Wüst numbers, here 4384, printed across the design.


As said, this wasn't our best find. That came from Paris. To celebrate Miriam's return from the Heideheuvel clinic we had planned a 5 day trip to Paris in the second week of June. Whenever we're there we visit the flea markets of the Port de Vanves and the Port de Clignancourt. Walking around the latter we came across a large wooden box, with inlayed aces on the top. Always interested to see if there are cards inside, we opened the box and found some 7 decks on one side and one straight up in a corner on the other side. The 7 decks were older, French patterned decks and not really interesting, but when we picked up the one in the corner, we immediately saw that it was much older than the rest. It had a Catalan pattern and mentioned Dessoris from Perpignan as maker. And, more important, it was complete and in excellent condition for its age, as we had already estimated it as being from the first half of the 19th century. Interested? Click here to see it!

But there was another deck from Paris that made it to the shortlist this month. A delightfully illustrated deck, that was published the Parisian pastry and chocolate maker Ladurée. The deck didn't make it, but one of the jokers can be seen as Joker of the Month.

And the two collectors meetings, the annual collectors day at the National Playing Card Museum in Turnhout on the 5th and a new collectors meeting in Velddriel on the 20th, brought us some new decks as well. One of them was the Belgian sportsmen deck (SN30), made by the Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland in 1957. It's already hard to find single cards (they came single with bubble-gum), so we were glad to find a complete deck, although we had to take for granted that the jokers were not there. But that could be expected, when you buy the deck from a Belgian joker-collector!

So there were a good number of decks to choose from, but we already explained why this Wüst deck has made it to "Deck of the Month".

The deck is printed in fine chromolithography and the courts have a luxury Wüst pattern, that is known as "Mediaeval" and has been used in combination with Dutch scenic aces and plain aces in the regular sized decks. Our deck is somewhat smaller and the cards measure 47 x 71 mm. These decks are also referred to as "Fortuna" decks, due to the back design, which shows a statue of the Roman goddess Fortuna.

The aces show scenes and cities from Switzerland in bright and colourful designs. There's a German tax stamp on the Ace of Hearts, which was in use from 1889 - 1918.

As the earliest editions of this pattern don't have any indices and are dated c1890, this deck probably dates from c1910.

The deck came in a doublebox with the same Fortuna design on the front.