September 2012



The month started with a 2 weeks vacation in France. On September first we were in Lille for the annual Moules/Frites festival and we were lucky that the sun was out, so it was nice to stroll around the center, browsing through all the stuff that the locals and the professional sellers had to offer. The following week was spend on the coast at Berck-sur-Mer. Although dry and sunny, there was a strong wind across the beach each day and Miriam only spent a few hours there. The rest of the days we went for little tours around the countryside of the Picardy region, of course stopping at every "antiquités" along the way. On the 9th we arrived in Blois, where we spend 4 nights. During the day we did short tours too. Orléans, Tours and the Chambord Castle were visited and before we went to Paris for the IPCS Convention we already had some 20 extra decks in our luggage.

It was nice to see all the foreign collectors again, but unfortunately this convention coincided with the 52+Joker meeting in Cincinnati and none of the American IPCS members had come to Paris. The focus of the convention lectures was on Tarot decks, in which neither of us is really interested, so we did some of the usual flea markets instead. A highlight was the visit to the Ecole National Supérieur des Beaux Arts. The cards display was a bit disappointing, but the tour of the building and chapel was impressive. The trading sessions brought us some nice finds and all together we had a good number of decks to choose from.

So a somewhat long shortlist this month. Worth mentioning are the latest deck by Elaine Lewis, about the Olympic Games 2012, and one of the first advertising decks illustrated by James Hodges. There was also an interesting erotic deck from the Far East and finally we found the Shapely Long Size deck by Angel, but both will be shown in the Pin-Up & Erotica xpo. And let's not forget that cute vintage Czechoslovakian deck, advertising the Interhotel chain. But we already have two different ones and have decided to show all 3 in a separate xpo later this month.
So here's this month's choice: a deck that was published by the French goldsmith Odiot from Paris. We bought the deck during the convention from a French dealer. He couldn't tell us anything else about this deck than that it was made in Switzerland and had written "1970's?" on the price sticker on the back of the box. The cards don't reveal any further info. There's no extra card with the name of the designer or a date, there's only the signature on the backs: Jean-Denis Maillart. But the design of the back is so different, that we wonder if the designs of the courts, aces and jokers can be attributed to him too. 

The designs don't strike us as typical 70's , so it may be (much) younger. For now all we can say is.......... ENJOY the images!





The deck consists of 52 cards and 2 jokers. The cards have gold corners.

It came, together with a sealed deck, in the original double box.

We've asked the Odiot company for more information about this deck. The questions about year of publication and designer were quite clear, but there's not much empathy for playing card collectors at Odiot. From Katia Joski, directrice boutique, we received the following answer: "We are sorry but we only produce sterling silver ware and no playing cards. We don’t know who made these cards." So that's still the only thing that WE do know. However..........


In October we received an email from Nicolas Maillart, the son of Jean-Denis, and he provided us with this additional information.
The deck was commissioned by the Odiot company in February 1975 at Jean-Denis Maillart. He not only designed the figures on the courts, but also the backs and the indices. At the presentation of the deck the Odiot company issued a press statement, that said: "After Dali, Léonor Fini, Cassandre and Picart Ledoux, Jean Denis Maillart has created a luxurious deck of cards for Odiot. The fascination with faces, which he expresses in his portraits, his taste in costume, theatre and poetry are reflected in the Kings, Queens and Jacks...... his regular clients. The unusualness, the picturesque, the symbolism, make it an exceptional deck, that resigns itself to the needs of quality players."
Besides the green box above a luxury edition was offered in a smoked glass box, with a bijou on the lid, in silver and gilded silver, also designed by Jean-Denis Maillart.
A big THANKS to Nicolas Maillart for this information and the picture of the luxury box.