AUSTRIA

 

 

The playing card manufacturer Ferdinand Piatnik & Sons from Vienna has been the major Austrian manufacturer throughout the 20th century, so it’s not a surprise to see that all the Austrian decks with Dutch scenic aces, that we could find here, came from that manufacturer. The deck was printed around 1930. The deck was published here as “Perry’s Speelkaarten” by Perry, a Dutch department store. The Piatnik factory number was probably 205. There are views of 7 different Dutch cities on the aces. The name of the publisher was printed in the ace of Hearts. The courts have a not often seen fantasy pattern with remarkable Kings: they all have very long beards.

     

 

     

This deck was published here as "Piatnik Speelkaarten No. 345" in a 33 cards version in the 1930's. Although the indices are Dutch, the extra card is in French. The courts have the Rhineland (Dondorf) pattern. There's a set of aces with 6 views from Amsterdam and 2 of Rotterdam. No other towns are shown. The choice of views in Amsterdam is interesting. It's the only time that we see the Leidseplein (top-Diamonds), the Vijzelstraat (bottom-Hearts) and the Vijgendam (top-clubs). The latter is a remarkable choice, as it was opposite the often depicted Royal Palace on the Dam square. It’s the place where you'll find our National Monument since 1956. The name Vijgendam disappeared at the same time; it's now called Dam square too.

 

 

 

FRANCE

 

Although we've seen that sometimes older available pictures were used for their designs, we occasionally have to use scenic aces as an aid to roughly date a deck. Sometimes the depicted scenes can give you a timeframe, when there are no other sources available. A nice example of this is the following deck. We found it on a local flea market and it came without a box or wrapper, so there were only the cards to supply us with information.

The maker and country were easy: the name of B.P. Grimaud and Paris is printed on every court card. The –for the French rather unusual- Frankfurt pattern was used on the courts, probably because it was thought to be recognizable enough for the Dutch card players. The cards have no indices, so it could be late 19th century or early 20th century. The timeless design on the backs doesn't help either, but there are Dutch scenic aces with the deck. The aces are printed in b/w and show scenes from 8 different Dutch cities. In this set the most interesting picture is that of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. 

Besides the Royal palace and the New Church, there are two other features in the picture:
the monument in front of the palace and the electric trams.

The monument was officially called "De Eendracht", but commonly referred to as "Naatje".  It was erected on the Dam square in 1856 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the "Ten Day Raid", a short and successful military campaign against rebellious Belgians, that nevertheless lead to the sovereignty of Belgium. Maybe it was because the artist was originally Flemish, but his chosen material was of such poor quality that decay set in rapidly and the monument had to be removed in 1914. The electric trams of line 1 and 2, that had stops on the Dam square, were not in use until 1904. These two features in the picture will date the scene between 1904 and 1914. With this information we have dated the deck as around 1910.

 

Around 1950 the French company Heron published this deck with a Dutch pattern, Dutch indices and a set of Dutch scenic aces. The same set of aces has also been published by Heron, accompanied by an international pattern.

        

The aces show views of 8 different Dutch towns and cities. On the Ace of Clubs, it is not the usual view on the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, that catches the eye, but the odd view of the City Hall in Middelburg. It has been depicted on other aces too, but always the complete building with the richly ornamented front was shown. For some mysterious reason the French have only depicted the roof of the building here.

 

 

HUNGARY

 

There's a great resemblance between this deck and the one above. The courts and aces are remarkably similar. But this deck wasn't made in France. It was made in Hungary. The original company of F. Piatnik Nandor és Fiai from Budapest was fully nationalized in 1950, when Hungary had become a Peoples Republic and communist state. The company produced playing cards until 1975 under the name of Játékkátyagyar és Nyomda, Nemzeti Vállalat (Playing Cards Factory and Print Shop, National Enterprise)
This deck was produced between 1966 and 1982.

 

Because labour was cheap in Hungary, the company could export cheap decks to the Netherlands for many years since the late 1950's.

 

This deck was specially designed for export to the Netherlands. The deck comes with similar jokers as the deck above, but has a standard Belgian-Genovese pattern with Dutch indices on the courts. The set of aces contains somewhat different views. It was made by the Játékkátyagyar és Nyomda, Nemzeti Vállalat and dates from 1964.

 

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