November 2018



November last year  we found a deck that we called our best find in years, but it seems that this year our November find will surpass that easily. We had already seen the cards during a large collectors bourse in the last weekend of October, but the final acquisition of this deck was realized during an even larger collectors bourse halfway November.
It is a hand painted transformation deck and as such a unique piece. In fact we bought 52 small pieces of art, as the artist must have been a professional or a very gifted amateur. Just look at this King of Spades and Jack of Diamonds and realize that they were painted in watercolor on paper of about 98 by 68 mm.
So one would expect that the deck will be shown here in full, but we decided otherwise. Normally we don't mind sharing our images with anyone who wants to download them. But we are also aware that there are people who download pictures from the internet and print them on playing cards, just to make a buck, disregarding copyrights if they have to.

We don't want this to happen to this deck. We've shown some of the cards from each suit on Facebook and will share those with you HERE.

So we had to find an other deck to show here in full. It wasn't a difficult choice, when a pretty rare German deck ends up in your hands twice within 30 days. The first time was after winning a lot during a live  auction. The lot consisted of 2 bezique boxes. One had 4 decks (32 cards each) by Frommann & Morian with a not uncommon pattern and plain aces. The other box was decorated in tartan style and contained two decks of 32 cards by a then unknown maker. We showed the deck on FB and asked for information. About 2 weeks later we received an email with some images of a patience deck by Frommann & Morian, of which most of the courts had the same design as our full sized deck. The anchor logo of Frommann & Morian was on the Jack of Clubs. This lead us to believe that our deck was most likely made by Maximilian Frommann, who was active as a lithographic printer in Darmstadt since 1835. After his death in 1866 his print shop was lead by his daughter Anna and his son Friedrich, but their cooperation wasn't working very well and after a few years the company was split up. Friedrich found a companion in Friedrich Morian and founded Fromann & Morian (logo: anchor), while Anna and her husband Georg BŁnte founded Frommann & BŁnte (logo: deer head). Both companies used designs of courts used by Maximilian Frommann, but with their logo's on it.
The second time was when we won a small wooden box on a Dutch auction site, containing 2 of these decks, but..... in better condition and both decks had 52 cards. The decks arrived just in time for one to take its place here.

The deck was lithographically printed and stencil colored. It was probably published sometime between 1860 and 1870. The cards have gold corners.




The aces shown scenes from Heidelberg with famous buildings, printed in fine soft colors.



The deck consists of 52 cards, no joker was ever issued.