April 2011


April was a hectic month. The first two weeks Miriam was in hospital and since then she has been recovering further at home. So Joop's spare time is limited by the household chores now too. Priorities had to be set, but he managed to get the two major events in April on his list. So the largest collectors fair in Utrecht was visited on 2 days and a week later the meeting of the Dutch collectors in Nieuwerbrug was attended too. Both brought a few new decks and Ebay brought some too. But in April we always have to wait until the last day before we can make a final choice. Each year on April 30 the Dutch celebrate Queens Day and on that day there are free markets throughout the country. Each year we go to Hoorn, a nearby, nice old Dutch town, and you never know what you might find. Fortunately Miriam felt well enough to come along, but we didn't find any decks that would earn a place here. Although the total score this month was a mere 9 decks, at least there was something to choose from. 

The shortlist contained a nice c1905 Canadian Railway Souvenir deck and a Belgian deck with the not often seen "Iznogood" comics characters, an obscure German limited and numbered edition of "Erotic Skat" and this deck, which is obviously a numbered and limited edition too. We chose it because of its Dutch origin and the fact that it's a rarely seen deck nowadays.

It was made by a Dutch artist, Anita de Baay, and published in 1992. The edition was limited to 66 numbered copies. I was told that in 1992 the deck was sold at 150 guilders. The printing technique used was silkscreen and it was printed in three runs. In the early 1990's Anita de Baay made prints and paintings in a sort of double imaged style and from this the idea of making a deck of cards was born.

Anita de Baay is a female artist from Oss, in the province of North Brabant. She has had exhibitions throughout the Netherlands, but mostly in her own province. She uses a variety of techniques such as painting, drawing, watercolors, silkscreen and linocuts for her artwork, which leaps between figurative and abstract and visa versa, but is always colorful and vibrant. Here with a touch of eroticism.  She is currently teaching drawing and painting at De Muzeling Art Centre in her hometown.

The artist has signed all the cards. The signature (AdB) was part of the design and helps to determine how to hold or show the cards. We were a bit disappointed with the fact that there were only 3 basic designs used on the court cards, but surprised to see that although close, there are differences between the court figures on the Spades and Hearts and those on the Clubs and Diamonds.

The same goes for the birds on the Aces, close but with small differences between Spades/Hearts and Clubs/Diamonds. And these differences are not in the black figures only, but also in the gold colored embellishments and lettering.

The cards are printed in 3 runs. The background is made up by an outline and suit symbol. A second layer with embellishments and letters in gold color is printed over the background design and the figurative designs in black make the top layer.

The pips don't have gold numbers. Here the gold is only used for a number of symbols, that is consistent with the card value. The black layer consists here of the numbers and the signature. The backs are printed in gold color. At first glance they all seem to be different in design, but by chance we saw that the backs of the Kings of Spades and Hearts were the same. We haven't checked all of them, but they seem to come in pairs. Some people might argue that one shouldn't play a game with cards like this, but here the back designs look so much alike that chances of recognition are negligible.

The deck consists of 52 cards, 2 jokers and a numbered card with info about the artist. The deck doesn't have a title.