September 2014

 

This month we had difficult choices to make. There were such interesting, old or fine designed decks to choose from. Most of them were acquired during the IPCS convention, but there were some from Ebay too and we shouldn't forget the Borderline deck that we helped funding on Kickstarter.

There are not many of these decks presented in this section. Not because they didn't qualify, but usually because they can also be seen in the "Pin-Up & Erotica" xpo on this website. However, we do make the occasional exception. And this deck is so rarely seen that we wanted to share it at this spot too. 
There's not much that we can tell you about the deck. It was printed in Italy, by Grafiche U. Mignani from Bologna and
probably published by that same company as "Sinfonia 1965". The box doesn't have any reference to the nature of its content. But when opened there's a lovely pin-up deck. Although not from the 1940's or 50's, but apparently 1965, these pin-ups are very decent and drawn in the tradition of the old school.

So we can only say "ENJOY" and don't forget to.........

CLICK THE ACE TO SEE ALL THE PIPS OF THAT SUIT

With 52 lovely illustrations and another 4 on the jokers it's a deck that seems too good to be true........ and it is.

The first thing we noticed when we received the package, was that it was rather slim. When we had opened it and unwrapped the deck, the box turned out to be just 8 mm thick. It is a carton sleeve and the deck is held in a piece of carton that you can slide out. The cards are printed on extremely thin, but smooth paper. It must be thin, as there are 56 cards in total and all together about 7 mm thick.

But that wasn't the only odd thing about this deck. We had already noticed that the back of the carton sleeve showed a 1965 calendar. But looking at the backs of the cards we found that they too held a calendar, here of each month separately. But they were repeated in each suit and recognizable as such by the design.

    
The back of one of the jokers (left), each has a different suit sign, but the same text with the name of the manufacturer and the date of a law.
The backs of the Kings all show the same message about protected copyrights, but each suit has it's own suit sign on the back too.

   
The first month "Gennaio" (January) is on the aces, but on this back there's also a year mentioned.
The ace of Spades shown here has 1961 and is the last in the series. The ace of Hearts has 1958, Clubs 1959 and Diamonds 1960.

The 12 monthly calendars are shown on the backs from the ace to the queen. So Maggio (May) of each year is on the 5's and Agosto (August) on the 8's.

So there are three good reasons not to play with this deck: too fragile, 56 different backs and...... the pin-ups are much too nice. But the presence of these calendars does say something about the deck. Although it says 1965 on the box, the deck has probably been conceived much earlier and was most likely published for the first time by the end of 1957 or in the first months of 1958. Otherwise it wouldn't make sense to start with a 1958 calendar on the backs.
From a pin-up expert we heard that there have been a few different editions: without a box, but in a paper bag or without any cover at all. The deck has probably been published each year between 1958 and at least 1965. In this year the box has the 1965 calendar on the back. However, the cards still have the 1961 calendar on the backs as the most recent one.
In 2017 our collector friend Gustavo Orlando-Zon sent us some pictures and an explanation for this:

"These were four single barbershop calendars, made by Grafiche Mignani of Bologna, leader in the production of these items from 1920 to 1970, when calendars disappeared. The cards: every year, from 1958 to 1961, Mignani made one complete suit (13+joker), in a single envelope to offer as a Xmas present for the customers of barber shops. This way, we have Hearts (1958), Clubs (1959), Diamonds (1960), and finally Spades (1961)".

So in 1961, after 4 years, a complete deck could have been collected. In the following years a complete deck was probably offered in a single envelope, with the calendar of that year on the back of the envelope, while the calendars on the backs of the cards remained the same outdated ones. Anyway, it's a rarely seen deck. So a good reason to share it here with you!

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