The Mesmaekers firm had been established in Turnhout in 1859 by the partnership of Gustaaf Mesmaekers and Louis-François Moentack. In 1862 Moentack withdrew from the partnership, leaving Gustaaf Mesmaekers who then turned to his two brothers for their support to continue the business. From then on the firm was known as Mesmaekers Frères.
Even during this early phase of the firm's enterprise a wide range of cards was already being produced: Cartes Orientales; Bongoût; Impériales; Italiennes; Suisses; Belges; Hollandaises; Allemandes; Marbrées, etc. As shown on this page, packs with scenic aces were available, adorned with landscapes or historic events, views of the Rhine, Brazil, India, Switzerland, Germany and Portugal. These were the forerunners of the modern tourist souvenir packs.
Member since February 01, 1996View Articles
Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.
Images from the Ministry of Defence Cape Wrath Training Centre, Sutherland, Scotland. Published 2010.
Pack of cards celebrating Allied Victory in the Second World War.
Carte da Gioco Toscana souvenir deck, 2002.
Playing cards featuring traditional folk costumes from Romania.
Another pack of Dutch costume playing cards c.1880.
Souvenir pack from Garuda Indonesia, the national airline of Indonesia, c.1985.
Original designs from the French overseas department of Martinique by local artist Martine Porry.
Fifty-five paintings of Bulgaria published as “Sense of Bulgaria” by Land of Roses Ltd, Bulgaria, c.2015.
San Marino stamp designs combined with photographic views by La Fotometalgrafica Emiliana, c.1975.
Annapurna playing cards produced and published by Himalayan MapHouse, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Pack designed by Jean David (1908-93) for El Al Airlines. The courts are named after Biblical characters.
Dutch costume playing cards made for the Dutch market in the second half of the 19th century.
Dubois card makers from Liège in the Walloon Region of Belgium.
Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany
Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134 printed by Brepols for Germany, c.1940s.
Polska with artwork by Katarzyna Tomala & Krzysztof Korzeniak, 2011.
Ethiopian playing cards designed for the Ethiopian Tourist Organization by Afewerk Teklé.
Sapra Studio Original playing cards featuring wild animals of S Africa, 1999.
Genoese pattern with Pictorial Aces for Brazil by Brepols, Turnhout, c.1920.
Railway Stations quartet game illustrated by Wim Dolk and published by Servex BV, Utrecht, 1975.
Dynastie Royale de Belgique by Mesmaekers, 1934.
Year of the Child commemorative deck designed by Jhan Paulussen, 1979.
Bicentenaire de la Révolution Française 1789–1989 created by Christian Offroy.
A collection of 24 cigar bands with miniature playing cards.
RCI Playing Cards, a 20th century playing-card maker of Minneapolis, 1969-1985.
Souvenir from Zakynthos by Euro Card.
Souvenir of Norway deck.
Views of New Zealand published by G.B.Scott Souvenirs, Auckland, c.1960.
Souvenir from New Zealand by Croxley (John Dickinson) c.1950.
“Ocean to Ocean” Canadian Pictorial Souvenir pack by Chas Goodall & Son Ltd, c.1912.
Ocean to Ocean Souvenir of Canada by Chas Goodall & Son Ltd, c.1905.
Red Sea fish identification cards published in several languages by Horus of Egypt, 2005.
Austrian Folklore deck first published by Piatnik in 1934.
Baraja Turística de España by Heraclio Fournier, 1966.
Discover Romania souvenir published by Editura Foton, 2010.
Gold plated souvenir playing cards from the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel in Dubai.
Romania Unique Places souvenir playing cards by Age Art.
“007 Die Another Day” James Bond themed playing cards, 2002.
Spectrum Bridge by Cartamundi
Calavera playing cards designed by Jirs Huygen for Cartamundi, 2015