December 2016


Always a hectic month with Sinterklaas, the Christmas days and New Years eve, all needing the necessary preparations, so not much spare time. Still we tried to follow the offer on the internet as best as we could and the result was a very modest number of decks to add to our collection.
From the Dutch auction site we bought a rarely seen deck, that was produced by the Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland around 1955, with a different movie actress on each card. It made a great addition again to our SN collection.
Also on the shortlist this month was a French deck with Greek courts, that looked very familiar but in an unfamiliar way and turned out to be the father of the (later, mirrored) Greek decks with that antique pattern.

The courts from our chosen deck also looked very familiar, but in an unfamiliar way and so did the scenic aces.

So this month again Swiss costumes! When the deck had arrived, we immediately took out the holder with the antique Swiss decks and found out why these designs looked so familiar: they are the same as in the Swiss Regional Costumes deck (c1890), but without the scenic backgrounds. We already had the idea that this would be an earlier version, but to be sure we contacted our Swiss friend Walter Haas. Of course he knew this version and told us that the original wrapper, which is kept in Schaffhausen, mentions Diessenhofen as location. The Müller company manufactured their cards there until 1876. Walter also told us that the deck has been published with two different back designs. One shows flowers from the Alps and the other has the honeycomb design of our deck. He couldn't tell if this was an older or just a cheaper publication, but also mentioned that Wüst had produced a Swiss costume deck with a honeycomb back design at about the same time and that the use of the same back design by Müller could have been for competitive reasons.
Walter dated our deck as c1870. The reason for this is given at the bottom of this page where we make a comparison of some cards from this deck and the c1890 version.

But first... enjoy the fine graphics of this deck.


The deck was printed in lithography and the courts and pips were stencil colored.

The double headed courts represent different regions or cities on each side.

The aces have a single image with a famous scenic view.


Although the stencil coloring of the courts has been done very neatly, the heraldic weapons
seem to have been painted by hand or the stencil was used in a rather rough way.

The honeycomb beck design.


A comparison of both versions.....

The version from around 1890 of the Swiss Regional Costumes deck, is easy to recognize with the scenic backgrounds.

Of course there are some color differences too, some more visible than others.

Here below an example of the difference in coloring of the regional or city emblems.
In the later version they were color printed and in the early version crudely colored by hand or with the use of a stencil.


Below the aces from the later deck. The ace of spades shows the Rigi railroad, wich was constructed between 1868 and 1871. Walter Haas suggested that the image could have been made before the railroad was actually finished, because the railroad routes in the mountains were an adventurous attraction for tourists in those days.

Of course the backs have made the later deck famous: each back shows a different scenic view.