October 2017



There was only one so-called "Luikse" market that Joop visited this month. Offered goods were okay, only a few stalls with vintage clothing, otherwise anything between junk and antique. So there were collectable items for everybody.... except for those looking for playing cards.

It doesn't happen very often, fortunately, but this time he came home empty handed.
Still, when the real world doesn't deliver the goods, there's always the internet and this month the Dutch auction sites and the French and German Ebay had many interesting decks to offer.


So there was a constant flow of packages in the direction of our mailbox this month and Miriam had a hard time keeping up with her administration. Usually a large offer of interesting decks makes our choice for this spot more difficult, but this month the decision was already made halfway October. There was only one deck that came close and that was the non-standard Osram advertising deck by the Vereinigte Stralsunder Spielkartenfabriken AG from around 1930. But there were other decks that should be mentioned here, like a German deck with Parisian aces by Frommann & Morian from around 1900 or a rare Italian, photographic souvenir deck from around 1910 with different Italian kings, queens and rulers, who helped building the Italian unity, on the courts. And we shouldn't forget the All British deck, that was printed by Alf Cooke and published by the FDB in Denmark in 1933. But.... when there's a transformation deck, even a very used one, there's hardly any competition possible.

The manufacturer of this transformation deck is de facto unknown. The deck is mentioned in Albert Field's book about Transformation Playing Cards as "An anonymous Belgian pack" (#36, p. 95) and in his description he writes that "it seems to have been published by Daveluy in Bruges". Field dates the deck as 1873.

The authors of the outstanding Belgian book about the Daveluy company have decided to show this deck too (#24, p.163/164). Their decision was based on that one line in Albert Field's description, although with the necessary reservation: "Albert Field adjudged the deck to Daveluy, why is unclear, thus doubts remain. According to some people it was due to the back design, which is said to be undoubtedly by Daveluy. Backs, however, do not give proof. During the 19th century, the print mold of back designs was offered by specialized firms as clichés, such as capitals, initials or illustrations. Hence the use of identical back patterns by many card makers: they bought their clichés from the same supplier". 

In this book the authors don't give an exact year, but they date it 1860 - 1885.

The authors of the Daveluy book are Alex Claes, Filip Cremer, Luc Biebouw en Yvette Smet and we know Alex, Luc and Yvette as serious collectors and researchers. Filip Cremer is the head of the Belgian National Playing Card Museum and has a broad knowledge of Belgian playing cards. We too have seen the same back designs used in packs by different makers, so we know that their doubts about using a back design to identify the manufacturer are valid. We guess that they also didn't know how Mr. Field came to date the deck so exact as 1873, as they propose the above 25 year period.
Well, Daveluy or an unknown maker, it doesn't really matter. We enjoy the designs just as much. And here's your chance...........



Both the Daveluy book and Albert Field's book mention that the designs of the pip cards were based on earlier German transformation cards that were published as sheets by Braun & Schneider in 1852. We have the Braun & Schneider deck, cut from those sheets (Dutch version), so we'll show a few of the identical cards. The designs of the all pip cards are copied from the Braun & Schneider transformation cards, but of the courts only the KS and KC are exact copies of the B&S cards. The KH here above is a mirrored version of the KH by B&S, but the head was changed to that of a goat. Same on the KD, where the image was exactly copied, but the head was changed to that of a lion. Both are shown here below. However, the queens and jacks are original designs. In the red suits the queens and jacks have bird heads. In the Daveluy book a comparison is made with the work of Jean-Jacques Grandville (1803-1847), probably based on his "Les Metamorphoses du jour", a series of 70 scenes in which human figures with heads of different animals were placed -in a comical way- in a daily situation.


design is same as B&S.


design is same as B&S.

We haven't been able to trace these 2 aces, any suggestions are welcome.


Courts in the red suits are humanized animals, in the black suits they are human. Large pips on the courts have a small design on the queens and jacks only.

With the exception of this lovely lady

The deck is complete, with 32 cards.