August 2011


It was a busy month with lots of social engagements with friends and relatives, which limited our spare time considerably. Only a few outdoor markets were visited, as August turned out to be a wed month too. The monthly flea market in Utrecht was scheduled to be outside, but was held inside the hall due to the weather condition. There was one dry weekend and our small village was fortunate to have planned its yearly town market on that Saturday and the flea market on Sunday. So there were two mornings of strolling along the stalls. We came home with some finds, but no cards.
Ebay brought us a few decks, but as Joop is saving a little of our "cards cash" for the IPCS convention, there was nothing really spectacular among them. But we could improve the quality a bit by acquiring a Kaye-Halbert TV deck with 56 glamour and pin-up photo's by Peter Gowland on the backs. It was in much better condition than the one we had bought last year.

On the last Saturday of this month Joop went to IJmuiden to pick up a box with 3 special ABC puzzles, which was published by the Nederlandsche Speelkaartenfabriek around 1910.  As we collect all publications by this playing card manufacturer, it was a very interesting item for us. Afterwards he went to Amsterdam to meet with a Dutch artist, who had published a deck, that Joop had bought a week earlier in a games shop in Amsterdam, which he visited to order some Piatnik decks for the Australian playing card collectors club.

The meeting with Bert Wouters and his wife was so amicable, that we have decided to share his deck with you on this site. Although it could have been shown in the "Art & Cards" section very well, in our opinion it just happened to be our best find of this month too!

The deck was printed in Poland by Trevi and published by Bert Wouters in the Netherlands in 2010.

Bert Wouters has a very recognizable, simple and colourful style. He uses black outlines, because they emphasize the colours.

Bert was asked by the Holland Casino to put up an exhibition in their casino in Amsterdam in August 2009. As he related the casino to cards, he decided to design a deck of cards. He designed and painted 7 cards for the exhibition, in acryl and on linen. The original paintings measure 80 by 120 cm. During the last months of 2009 and in the beginning of 2010 he finished the rest of the deck, the pips included.

The aces show famous buildings in Amsterdam. On Spades the Metropolitan Theatre on the Leidseplein is depicted, on Hearts the Royal palace on the Dam square, on Clubs the Olympic Stadium and on Diamonds the Musical Center that is situated along the IJ. A little artistic freedom allows a canal boat to float in front of the Royal palace.
A second edition is in preparation and there will be a small chance in the design of the Ace of Diamonds. The Olympic Circles have been changed into colourful dots representing the spectators.

The choice of the indices is a bit odd for the Netherlands. Here it is usually K, D, B (Koning, Dame, Boer) or H, V, B (Heer, Vrouw, Boer), but I don't think any player here will have a problem with the H, D, B. And if I remember correctly, the special type-font is called Anna.

On the backs there's an Escher-like repeated design with fishes. Bert explained that it refers to the Baarsjes, the nickname of the Amsterdam district in which he lives and works. In Dutch a "Baars" is a perch or bass and "Baarsjes" is the diminutive in plural. In the center is Bert's logo with his initials. All the pips have been painted too. They all have 5 suit symbols and 5 numbers, in a similar layout as on the shown 2 of Diamonds.

The deck consists of 52 cards, 2 jokers and an extra, explicative card (in Dutch). A leaflet with the translation in English is added too nowadays.



Bert Wouters likes to refer to himself as a "creative entrepreneur".
Among others he has designed a bag and spectacle-case with matching cloth, all decorated with his typical colourful designs. These and the card decks can be found in different museums in the Netherlands and the Media Center in Hilversum.

For himself and his wife he designed a shirt and a fish-tailed robe and had them made in material, decorated with his "perch" design.

His artwork and more information (in Dutch though) can be found on his website: