November 2014


This month there were two major events, both general collectors fairs. The first one was held on November 1 and 2 at the Homeboxx in Nieuwegein and it brought us some decks for trading, but nothing new for our own collection. The second one was held on November 22 and 23 at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. It's by far the larger one and considered the largest collectors fair in the Netherlands. It brought us some decks for trading and one deck for our collection. It wasn't a new one, but an improvement in our Dondorf collection. The third variation of the nr 1 Lenormand Fortune telling deck was exchanged for a deck from the second variation. Same images, but a difference in spelling ("Franckfort") in the logo. This month we obviously had a problem with finding a decent enough new deck, as this Deck of the Month is an improvement too. This time it wasn't the deck itself, but the original presentation box, that made us go all the way to win the auction. We had never seen this box before and "so play with us" between the Eiffel tower and the Moulin Rouge became an invitation that we couldn't refuse. The pictured cards are from the "La Vie Parisienne" pin-up deck by James Hodges.

When the deck arrived the box turned out to be so slim that it couldn't hold our secretly hoped for content. When advertised we saw three packs still in cellophane, although the item description said "un jeu". It was a long shot and turned out too good to be true. But we were happy with this original presentation box. These usually give some information about the deck. The title is in large letters on the inside. The text here below was taken from the backside of the box and somewhat enlarged. "This deck "La Vie Parisienne" designed by James Hodges was realized with the "concours" of the "La Vie Parisienne" magazine". The word "concours" has many meanings in French. Here it could be read as participation. The thin, illustrated box must have been specially made and also the packaging (3 x 18 cards, separately in cello wrap) is rather unusual. 

The deck is described in two books from our modest library. In "La Sota 22/23" on page 106 and in the Hodges catalogue by Yvette Laurent. In both it's referred to as James Hodges' first deck, but where La Sota dates it as 1963 Yvette Laurent mentions 1965. In Yvette's catalogue the back is shown, same as on the left here below, and that back is described in La Sota too. Both also mention Grimaud as maker, but this isn't mentioned on the box nor on any of the cards. So we like to place a few notes here.

In 1962 Jean-Marie Simon, head of La Ducale, St Max regrouped his company with B.P. Grimaud. The new group would much later be called France-Cartes. 

We already had this drawn pin-up deck in our collection, but as a 32 cards deck and with a different back design. This back design (here on the right) has also been used for other pin-up decks, photographic ones published by La Ducale. Those were published as 52+j decks as well as in 32 cards versions.
Also the warning on the box about not selling to minors or on the public road is often found in the exact same words on the photographic pin-up decks by La Ducale.

The dimensions of the cards from both these decks are exactly the same: 55 x 84 mm.
So the possibility that the decks have been printed by La Ducale should definitely have to be considered too.

But it's apparent now that there have been at least two editions of this deck and perhaps the second also exists in 52+ cards.

It was a tough decision and it felt a bit against our principle, but we had to open all 3 packs. First to see if together they did hold one complete deck and then to compare all the cards with our 32 cards version to see if there would be any differences. Of course there weren't, but at least we could see all 52 designs and the jokers in color now. And here's your chance too.

So...... 'nough said now ....... let's ENJOY !








Each design was signed by James Hodges. The deck consists of 52 cards and 2 jokers.


PS 1/1/2015 

Sometimes you have to wait years to find a deck, but then you find 2 within a month. It happened with this deck and now we are able to confirm the  existence of a 52+ deck. We found one on the French Ebay. It had the same 52 cards and 2 jokers as shown here, but there was a title card, which -as you can see here- held a nice surprise, a 55th pin-up design by Hodges. The other 54 cards have the same back design as the red deck (see above) but in green.

On the title card the name of the manufacturer is given as "Ducale - Nancy - France". Officially the brand name is La Ducale and the location is St Max, which is a communal suburb of Nancy.