September 2016


During the month we had gathered some interesting decks from the French Ebay and a Dutch auction site. But this time we had to wait until the last day of the month again. That day the only trading session at the IPCS convention, this year in Prague, took place and that's usually a good source for new decks for our collection. The offer was abundant and of high quality and ranged from rare antique decks to unusual designed modern ones. Of course all the sellers are serious collectors and consequently the prices were serious too. 

Still Joop managed to find some decks that were interesting enough and affordable too. It brought an interesting short list again. We should mention a nice vintage Danish deck, a rare Belgian deck from the 1940's and a beautiful modern designed French deck. But they were all surpassed by the deck that Joop bought from our friend Larry Lubliner at a friendly price. It was one of the antique French costume decks that had been on our wish list for a while.

Along one of the sides of the Ace of Clubs......

We already have two of the antique French costume decks that were published in the third quarter of the nineteenth century. This deck was published as "Jeu Impérial aux Armes des Quatre Empires" in 1858 by B.P. Grimaud et Cie. This name is printed along one of the sides of the Jack of Clubs. However, apparently the deck wasn't printed by Grimaud, but by the Imprimerie F. Chardon ainé (the elder), established at the Rue Hautefeuille 30 in Paris (see above).
The title mentions four imperial coats of arms and these can be found on the aces. It's the only French costume deck with illustrated aces. They mention the name of the represented empires, of which the representatives are depicted on the courts. Russia on spades, England on the Hearts, France on the Clubs and Austria on the diamonds. The jacks seem to represent figures that show popular pastimes of the nobles in the empires.


Czar Alexander II became Emperor

of Russia in 1855. The Empress Consort is Maria Alexandrovna, born as

Mary of Hesse and by Rhine (1824 – 1880). We can't really describe the figure on the jack. Probably he represents  one of the personal servants of the Czar at the imperial court, holding a similar staff as is on the coat of arms.




The British empire is represented
by Prince Albert (of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha), the Prince Consort of Queen
Victoria. The jack shows a jockey. Horse racing apparently was and is a favorite sport to watch at the English court.



The king of clubs represents
Charles-Louis Napoleon Bonaparte who was the only President of the French

Second Republic (1848-1852) before he became the Emperor of the Second French Empire  as Napoleon III (1852- 1870). He was married to Eugénie de Montijo, the Empress Consort. The jack shows a horn blower at a hunting party, a pastime of the French nobles. The Ace of Clubs has the personal imperial coat of arms of Napoleon III.


The Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I
(1830 -1916), a descendant from the House of Habsburg. The queen shows

Elisabeth "Sisi" of Bavaria, who had married Franz Joseph at the age of 16 in 1853 and became Empress Consort of Austria. The jack shows a servant with a riding horse. The Spanish riding school was first named during the Habsburg monarchy in 1572 and became the most famous riding school in the world.