‘Jugendstil Art Nouveau Bridge Nr.2136’
Jugendstil Art Nouveau Playing Cards were first released as a 54-card “Tarock No.1” by Joseph Glanz & Albert Berger in 1906, including 22 trump cards. The set was designed by Ditha Moser in Jugenstil style – the German equivalent of Art Nouveau with its preference for straight lines and simple geometrical forms which in this case resemble stained glass windows. Piatnik re-printed the 12 court cards with a full set of number cards as “Jugendstil Art Nouveau Bridge Nr.2136” in 1980. The Hearts court cards are dressed in Louis XVI period fashion, the Clubs courts appear as crusading knights (German Chivalry), the Diamond court cards are clad in ancient Egyptian style and Spades are inspired by the Edda sagas (Byzantium/early Christendom).
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Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.
His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.
Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.
Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.
His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.
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My wife and I have recently commissioned a unique pair of stained glass windows for our home.