September 2022



This month I finally took a vacation and attending the joined IPCS and Asescoin convention in Madrid was a good reason to add a week to it. I still have a lot of duplicate decks to sell and had already decided to take some 350 of them to the trading sessions there. So I went by car.
Stayed 3 nights in Vitoria-Gasteiz and of course visited the Fournier Museum there. But it was also close to Bilbao, where I visited the Guggenheim Museum, and San Sebastian, where I had a 3 star lunch at Akelare (Pedro Lubijana). Then 3 days in Madrid with John & Helen and Christian: walking, wining and dining, but I did get to visit the Prado and the Naval Museum.

The convention would be a good place to find a deck for this spot. So during the trading sessions I spyed around. A Spanish deck would illustrate the occasion. I've always liked the "chocolate decks" and found a very cute one. Later I found 3 other ones with nice graphics and decided that I would decide at home which one to take for this spot. However, on the last day Arno agreed to the proposed price for a deck that had been at the top of my wish list for a long time.
So here it is!

As this deck was most likely created by the same artist as the "Cartes Comiques" (03-22), Braun dates this deck as c1860 too. He doesn't mention a factory number, because he didn't have the box. Schultz/Stolzenburg did have the box and in their book about Dondorf they show one of the sides of the box, which mentions No. 227. It also mentions the title of the deck: "Cartes Enchantées Musicales". The number and part of the title are missing from the side of my box, shown at the bottom of this page. The other side of the box promises an infinite number of dances (nombre infini de danse). The front of the box shows the humor of the artist, when he warns "beware of counterfeit and the ears" and shows a figure terrified by noise. This could have been a valid warning too about the conclusion of the convention diner, but that's a different story.

The musical deck doesn't appear in the 1885 pricelist, while the Cartes Comiques are still mentioned there. Of course there are several plausible explanations for that, but I believe that the main reason could be that musical decks were only in fashion for a short while and Dondorf decided not to make a second edition of this deck, as they did with the Cartes Comiques. However, I find these musical cards delightful and humorous.


The courts don't have the usual indices, but above the pips a crown, a bootee and a cap refer to the K, Q and J. Each of the courts also has a specific background colour: gold, green and blue, repeated in each suit. They are basically single figures, with the musical sheets over the design.


At the bottom suit and index are printed upside down. This is also found on all the pip cards. On the aces (instead of an A) a 1 is used, as is usually done in France. As I said in the description of the Cartes Comiques, in that era French was the language spoken in the higher and middle classes in Europe, including Germany.


The illustrations on the aces reveal those on the pips in that suit: dancing pairs in the spades, dancing girls in the clubs and animal musicians in the red suits.
Click the ace to see the pips of that suit.


Five of the courts use some sort of wind instrument, although the KS looks a bit lost with his inverted funnel, and in this suit the singing queen seems a bit afraid of not being heard between these fierce horn players.


Other used instruments are the harp, a bass, an organ and a drum with cimbal, seemingly stacked on 2 other drums.


The D7 has a different coloured back, which didn't bother me as much as it usually does, as it is only one card and it shows the other version of the back.


The deck also came with parts of the original box and a leaflet in French and German.

Description how to place the cards to get 2 musical pieces. By changing the pip cards, one can create lots of different musical pieces.


Place an ace in the middle, then a court card further away to the left and a 7 further away to the right. Then fill the space between court and ace and ace to 7 randomly with 3 pip cards on either side. It should result in 2 musical pieces (a Waltz and a Polka), not difficult to play.