January 2018



Usually January is a slow month, in selling and therefore in buying too. But we spent our funds well and at the end there were plenty of decks to choose from.
However, we also acquired some card related items worth showing and we decided not only to go for a Card of the Month again, but -as an exception- introduce an Item of the Month here too. They are at the bottom of this page, but if you can't wait to see them, click CARD or ITEM.

This month we did some good buys on eBay and at the Dutch collectors meeting in Kerkdriel. Also two Kickstarter projects came through, each with 2 different decks. Plenty of decks always make it a hard choice. Do we go for modern and innovative or for antique and rare? Well, in the modern part of the shortlist there was a rare East German deck commemorating the opening of the stage play of My Fair Lady in Karl-Marx-Stadt in 1967, the limited edition of the NEO playing cards from 2017 and let's not forget the wonderful, surrealistic Swiss patterned deck by Benedikt Notter from 2015. The latter was such a striking deck, that we've decided to give that deck a spot in the ART & CARDS section of this site. In the antique part of the short list there was not much going on until the last Saturday of the month. A visit to a young couple, who had found playing cards in their grandparents attic and had contacted us to see if we were interested, brought 5 new decks for our collection. Among them were a Dutch SN Export deck from the 1920's (but in a wrapper that we didn't have yet) and a deck by Johann Müller from Frankfurt, Germany active in the early 1870's. The pattern is the same as in our Deck of the Month of January 2011. Our new found deck is a version with plain aces, but.... it's complete and in very good condition. And let's not forget to thank Rhonda Hawes for intermediating in a buy on eBay from a seller who wouldn't ship outside the US. Her package arrived on the 30th and brought us an improvement of the coloured HCA deck. Our pack missed one joker and came in a plastic box, but now we have a complete deck with 2 jokers, a blank card and the original box. HCA??? Click and see!

The first choice was to go with antique again this month and the final one to go for a Belgian deck, with a pattern that wasn't in our Belgian collection yet.


 Published as "Cartes Allemandes" (German cards) by Brepols & Dierckx zoon from Turnhout, Belgium, 1890's.
Stencil coloured (rather crudely) on cheap card, probably made for daily -but short lasting- use.

The Queens are all holding a fan. These fans were very popular among the ladies at the courts during the last decades of the 19th century. The Dutch Queen Wilhelmina was a collector


Sometimes Belgian makers name the decks after the used aces (e.g "Cartes Suisses" or "Cartes Hollandaises"),
but here the name seems to refer to the used images on the courts. The aces show cities and views from Portugal.

And indeed the pattern has a striking resemblance with a pattern that was used by the Vereinigte Stralsunder Spielkartenfabriken from Stralsund, Germany, around 1890 too. We have a deck to compare, that also came with a set of Portuguese aces. It was our Deck of the Month in January 2009. When compared, the images are the same in each suit, except that the JD and JH have changed places in this deck here. The Portuguese scenes on the aces are the same, but the VSS images are finer in design and print. The quality of the design and colouring of the courts are higher too.

I've often wondered why Belgian manufacturers hardly ever print their name or logo on one of the cards. It would make life much easier for collectors. Not always, but German manufacturers are usually easier to identify by a name or logo. The German deck has the logo of the Vereinigte Stralsunder Spielkartenfabriken on the QC. In the old days copyrights weren't as respected or protected as they are nowadays. So when a certain pattern was introduced by a maker in a certain country, a manufacturer in an other country would publish a similar pattern, hoping that it would become popular. I guess this pattern didn't do much for the Belgians, as it's not often seen.

The deck has 52 cards. No joker was issued and it came without box or wrapper.






Every once in a while we come across a single card that catches our eye. This month it was a card that was printed by the Dondorf company. It's a single card that can be added to the cards when playing a game. Judging by the size of the card that game will probably have to be played with German suited cards from a German regional pattern.
The purpose of the card is apparently to answer a question that is sometimes asked when in the heat of the game one has forgotten "Wer gab zuletzt" (Who dealt last). By mixing the card in the deck and having the dealer set it aside in every game played, the last dealer is easily found.

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Just like the card above, this will not be a regular feature on these pages, but perhaps every once in a while we'll present an "Item of the Month". This is the first in many years and the reason that we - especially Joop- got so excited about it, lies in the fact that there is very little known about this Dutch manufacturer and only 4 different types of decks have ever been found. We have one in our collection and based on the depicted cards on this still closed wrapper, we believe that it will hold the deck that we have. So if you click on the logo here below in the center, you'll see the content.
The Hollandsche Speelkaarten & Spellenfabriek was located in The Hague and apparently only active in the early 1920's. That's about all that's known about this manufacturer (or publisher). Besides the name the wrapper also shows the coat of arms of the royal family. The deck was meant for playing "Pandoer", a Dutch game. It's printed on both short ends of the wrapper. The long sides mention that it was made in the Netherlands. The back is interesting because of the two  poster-stamps with a logo that was unknown until now. Also intriguing are the numbers that are written in pencil. The 33 is written down twice and is most likely a reference for (or made by) the shopkeeper regarding the number of cards inside. The 25 in the middle could be the price in cents.
Joop's policy about antique boxes or wrappers that are still closed is not to open them, so for now it's not a deck, but an item and it has already found a place in one of our showcases. The 33rd card isn't a joker, but the 6 of Hearts. In the game of Pandoer the 6 of Hearts is used besides the A, K, Q, J and 10 - 7's of each suit.
So for now no need to set the deck free and we'll just treasure this as a rare item.

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