INDIGENOUS SCENIC ACES

"SMALL DUTCH PRINTERS"

 

Beside the Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland there was no other large manufacturer of playing cards in the Netherlands in the 20th century. Smaller printing companies have however occasionally published a deck of cards. The quality of their products varies. Usually they were issued as an advertising deck for a Dutch company and in most decks the aces are "scenic": there’s a picture -drawn or photographic- on the aces. The examples shown here below do not include decks with aces that have pictures of products or company buildings. Although the latter might have qualified as "scenic" in the sense of this article, we’ll only show one example of them here below.
Because most advertising decks that were imported from Belgium had a standard pattern, these small Dutch printing firms often used a non-standard design on the courts.

Our collection of decks by small Dutch printers is not complete, but there are only a few decks with scenic aces in the sense of this article, that we cannot show here.
To begin, a deck of which the manufacturer is unknown, but which was probably made in the Netherlands around 1920. Prof. Van den Doel of the Tax Museum classified it as such in his catalogue of the museum's playing card collection.

 

The courts have a -for the Netherlands- very unusual pattern. There are no indicators or numbers on the cards and small suit-symbols are integrated in the design of the Kings, Queens and Jacks.
The set of aces shows scenes from the 3 major Dutch cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. In the latter the "Binnenhof" is represented, but with a tram. The only tram that went through the Binnenhof for a while, was the former line 5, which went into operation in 1906.

On the ace of Spades the "White House" in Rotterdam is depicted (also see the SN "Neerlandia" deck). So the deck could even be from an earlier date than 1920.

 

This deck was printed by Drukkerij Juten from Bergen op Zoom and published in 1969 by "De Kloof", a company, that produces matchbox labels.
The deck was designed by Walter Hagenaars.

The courts show a fantasy pattern, the aces show silhouettes of Dutch castles in a single image. The backside of the cards was designed in a way that the same advertising as on matchboxes could be used on the backs of the cards.

 

The deck has no official title, but is known as the "Aesculaap" deck, named after the company that published the deck. It was printed by Drukkerij Van Roessel B.V. from Amsterdam in 1976.

The aces show churches from 4 different towns. Three are Dutch towns, but for some reason the Belgian city of Gent was also included in this set.

A later edition of the deck was printed in Belgium by Carta Mundi. It has the same set of aces, but the cows on the Queens have been replaced by farm girls.

 

Sometimes decks are printed on regular -here a lightly brownish- card, like the one that was published by VIP Men’s Fashion from Haarlem in 1976. It was printed in offset by Drukkerij (print shop) Oudt from Zandvoort. The deck was designed by Jan Sijpestijn.
Non-standard courts and scenic aces with different Dutch churches. There are no references to the towns or cities in which they can be found, but most likely they are from Haarlem (Ace of Spades) and vicinity.

 

A true private edition, of which the printing office is only known to the two people who have published the deck: Jelle and Diny Sietsma from Kraggenburg. It was published for their twelve and a half wedding anniversary in 1985. Jelle Sietsma is a Dutch collector of jokers, so his face is on the jokers. The scenic aces show views of Amersfoort, Barneveld, Kraggenburg and Amsterdam. All these places have had a special meaning for the family at some point in their life. The deck was published in an edition of 300 copies. It was designed and drawn by another Dutch collector of playing cards, Gerrit van Berkum.

   

 

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