Wednesday, 29 February 2012

"Old maid" ( anon)

"Old maid" ( anon) 27c. ( of 28?)
This deck by an Anonymous maker represents one of the idle childhood amusements of singaporean children during the 1970s. The game of  "old maid" ,and the cards for playing it, are still sold to this day in the country, with very little change.
The deck we know of today has 36 cards, but the deck that is shown here only has 27 cards from the "old maid"deck, and one other "Mrs. Dauber", ostentatiously from a "happy families" deck.

The intresting thing, is, that this deck appears to be inspired by [?] a deck produced bt Tower press , "Old Maid, no. 5862" with similar illustrations.  [see]- go figure

Saturday, 25 February 2012

"cego"( animal tarot) , ASS

"cego"( animal tarot) , ASS . 54c.
( if'you dont know what a tarock deck is, see )
Sometime in the 18thc, a german maker tried to revamp the tarock/ot deck. Instead of putting the standard imagery in the trumps, he replaced it with a series of animals, and called it the tiertarock ( ger. - 'animal tarot/tarock".)
  Now, several patterns to this theme developed, but eventualy, a pattern known to some as the "alder-cego" won out, and is the deck that is shown here.
The deck has exactly the same composition as an ordianary tarock deck, save that the rural images on the trumps have been replaced by those of animals. The trumps sometimes have a sort of contrast of the animals between them, most often male/feamle  (the 21 has a cock on one side and a hen on the other. )
 The sküs ( fool) is placed here with the 21, as in the game of cego, it is the highest card.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Tarock ( ASS )

Tarock ( ASS ),"industrie und glück" 54c.
For an introduction to tarot decks, see;
When  tarot cards came into germany, the players decided to discardmost of the non -scoring pip cards in the deck , to make the game more interesting. The result of this is that the deck is shortened from 78 to 54 cards. The pip cards that remain are ;
in spades and clubs - 10, 9,8,7
in diamonds and hearts- 1 ( ace) , 2,3,4
The trumps and the court cards remain unchaged. 
Note the Jacks of clubs and diamonds. they carrry the maker's addresson their shields

Now, this pattern is known as the Industrie und glück ( "industry and luck") , or rural scenes tarock, the name coming from the text on trump II , aldough even this is known to vary sometimes, with "AUDACES FORTUNA JUVAT "( lat; "fortune favours the bold") or "SZERENCSE FEL !" ( hungarian ; "good luck") . Also note trump I, with the harlequin & columbine.
 Note the fool , Which is depicted as a harlequin, and is holding a smaller fool ( puppet?)

Saturday, 18 February 2012

French tarot ( Grimaud), part II

French tarot ( Grimaud), 78c.  -part II-  the trumps.
( for part I, discussing the court cards , see
The trumps in the French tarot/ tarot nouveau , are markedly diffent from the mysterious images of the italian suited ones. Gone are "death", "temprance" and "the world", replaced by "13", "14" and "21"respectively. The cards bear innocent scenes for rural/city life.
The only card that has not changed drasticaly in both decks is the fool or excuse. The card in this deck is represented as a jester with a lute.

French tarot ( Grimand) Part I

French tarot ( Grimaud), 78c.
The french tarot,  Bourgeois Tarot   tarot nouveau is the tarot deck which is used in france ( and sometimes denamark) today, for gaming, as opposed to divinatory uses. It may be found in all types and qualities, from ones printed on cheap pastebboard, to those with gilt edges. This is surprising, give that the design is said to have been inspired by ones made in germany....

The french tarot is identical in structure with the Italian tarot ( see
Note the following;
I- the cards are french suited , using spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds instead of the italan suits of swords, batons, coins and cups.
II the cards have indexes, with V for the valets =jacks, C for chevaler = cavaliers,  D for Dame = Queen and R for roi = king

Some pip cards

For part II, dealing with the trumps, see;

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Miniature playing cards ( anon)

Miniature playing cards ( anon), 54c.
The following deck is of 54 cards , and it is so small that it is scarely conceivable that these cards not were used for anything other tha a showpiece. Nevertheless, the maker managed to reproduce, within the space of  22 by 17 millimeters faithfully, evey detail of the standard english pattern.
Note the jokers. evidently, the maker derived the illustrations form through the looking-glass

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Austrian large crown pattern ( piatnik)

Austrian large crown pattern ( piatnik) , 52c. + 3 jokers

This deck is of the austrian large crown pattern, but posses some ususual features;
I- the deck has 55 cards. Normaly, the deck only has 32 or sometimes as little as 24
II the deck has indexes.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Gnav cards

"Gnavspil" ( gnav cards), S. Salomon & co. , reprint by SALK, 42c.  The game of 'Gnav" is a Danish descendant of the cuccú cards
, and when comparing the decks, the similarities are obvious.The game later spread to Norway, where it is more common ( I got this deck in Denamrk, at "den gamle by", the famous open air museum. The game is practicaly extinct there)

Gnav is usually played with small pieces , much like chess pawns. they have a little circle of paper pasted on their bottom, and by lifting up the piece, the value may be reckoned. However, sometimes, the game is played with cards, as shown here.

The highest ranking cards , which are shown below are [ L-R], the cuckoo, dragoon, cat , horse and house. These cards are collectively known as "matadors" and have special powers in the game
Below them are the numbers. They rank from 12 -0.

Now, the numbers run from 12 (XII) to zero (0) Below them , like in the cuckoo deck, a motley crew of subjects, viz; the fool, pot and owl ( in descending value)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Berlin pattern ( FX schmid)

Berlin pattern "Skat" ( FX schmid) , 32c.
The Berlin pattern, or north German pattern as it is more properly known, is one of the more widespread patterns in germany, its use not being confined to Berlin.  The confusion of the 2 names is beacuse the pattern was first printed by a company in Berlin, who printed its address on all of the court cards.
The pattern itself is a version of the Paris pattern, which you can see here:

Monday, 6 February 2012

"Pygmy playing cards" ( De la rue)

"Pygmy playing cards" ( De la rue), c. 1895, 52c.
The following patience deck ( 3 x 4.5 cm) is from 1895, and goes under the name of "Pygmy playing cards"
The deck how some very interesting features:
1- note the pips ( suit-signs) of the cards. They have a pair of letters set into the suit signs. These are a very early version of the "index signs" ( the little numbers and suit signs) that we are so familar with on our cards today.De la rue called this  feature "dexter indexes"
2- Note the aces. they have a little frame in the side, in the shape of the suit, that says "ace". Likewise, to accomodate the "dexter" indexes,  The pips of the 2s and 3s have been shifted to the sides, as you can see in the 3rd image.
3- Note the Jacks. the index sign on them says  "Kn". This is a short form for "Knave"- the old word for a jack.

Oh, and by the way, wishing Q. Elizabeth II a very happy 60th jubilee.
viva regina!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Swedish playing cards, "Luxor", ( cartamundi)

Swedish playing cards, "Luxor", ( cartamundi)
Another swedish pattern, printed by  cartamundi.
Compare :
The court cards have a more "computer-designed"feel to them than the above. Otherwise, the cards are very much the same.

Swedish playing cards ( offason)

Swedish playing cards ( Offason), 56 c.
This patience deck, ( one of a pair) is made by Offason of sweden. The pattern was originaly made by Öbergs at the turn of the 20thc, inspired by German "luxury" patterns
Note the fact that the costumes worn by the courts have a colour scheme, the Spades wearing green, the Clubs, purple, Diamonds, blue, and Hearts, red.
Also note the queen of clubs, who carries a fan.

Friday, 3 February 2012

" Kobana" (小花) - Matsui Tengudo

"kobana" (小花) - Matsui Tengudo - 48c. + 1 spare.
This deck is a miniature version of the Japanese Hanafuda, ( see
When I first opened the deck I uttered to myself,  " how on earth could they make it"
The deck is small, even by japanese standards ( the very name means "small flowers") -  The cards are about 2 x 3 cm.
The deck is coloured by stencil, and with some silver decoration added by hand. I am informed that the black outline was printed by woodblock. If that is true , I salute the japanese block-cutter who carved the block.
This deck also preserves some features of the earler hanafuda , namely:
1- the parts that are black in the current hanafuda, are green in colour
2 Note the "thunder" card in the "november" suit.  as opposed to a thundercloud, you see a drum

compare this deck with:

Hanafuda "都の花" (Nintendo)

The flowers that bloom in the spring;
Tra la!
bring promise of merry sunshine...
( Gilbert and Sullivan- the Mikado )
Hanafuda, "都の花", Nintendo, 48c. +1 spare

The subject of the hanafuda, amongst card-collectors is a very famous one. To cut a long story short, After playing cards were introduced to Japan ( and their subsequent banning) , some smart players decided to change the 12  ranks of the card decks into 12 series ( "suits", ) of 4 subjects each , the subjects being 12 flowers , one for each of the 12 months. In spite of frequent bans, the cards survived to the present day, and still maintain their popularity.
Now, I have seperated the deck into 3 images. Image 1 contains all the "suits" form Jaunary to May, image 2, the flowers from june to october, and the last image, november and december.
Note the following:
1- note the "thunder" card on the november suit ( 3rd image, 1st row, 1st card on left). Under the large black blobs, note the stylized thunder-cloud
2- note the 3 cards of the "december" suit ( 3rd image, 2nd row, 1st 3 cards fr. left).
the maker's name is usualy put on them.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

"Jie mi pu ke"

"Jie mi pu ke" ( 解密撲克)[ mystery solving poker"] -- "卡之王" ( "kazhiwang" , "king of cards") 54c.

 The following children's deck is a testament to Chinese ingenuity. Aldough the deck is printed on poor quality cardboard, and the printing is much off register, the maker managed to squeze six seperate decks into the space of a patience sized one .
as you may see, the majority of the card is taken up by a depiction of a superhero . however, notice that, beside the index signs, there are a pair of dice values.  there is also a circle, in which contains one ofthe symbols for "rock-paper-scissors".
to illustrate these features [and more] more clearly, I have labelled them bellow:

1- the standard index-signs
2- a pair of dice-values. evidently used as a substitute for dice
3- "rock paper scissors" symbols. - as above
4-"defence power"  - evidently used for a sort of comparing game
5- "attack power" - see above
6- a series of stars, each card hsving a diffrent number. Perhaps used for a comparing game?

The box that contains the cards, bears the legend:
" Jie mi pu ke must not be used for gambling"
This is all for a very good reason, as the cards come supplied with a little plastic sheet. if you place the backs of the cards to the plastic sheet, their value may be discerned.

note the faint "3 ❤"