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Published April 26, 2013 Updated February 28, 2023

L’union fait la force

“L’Union Fait la Force”, sometimes known as “the Allied pack”, has the four suits dedicated to the victorious nations of the Second World War.

1945 Belgium Mesmaekers Commemorative Political Wartime Add to Collection
Winston Churchill as the King of Spades

Ets. Mesmaekers Frères, Turnhout, 1945

Mesmaekers issued two commemorative packs after the war in 1945, at a time when trade had more or less ceased. L'union Fait la Force has four suits dedicated to the victorious nations of the Second World War. The Kings show political leaders of the four largest allies: Churchill (Spades), Stalin (Hearts), De Gaulle (Clubs) and Roosevelt (Diamonds) with Adolf Hitler as the Joker. The Queens are ladies in patriotic dress and the four Jacks are soldiers. The Aces show Big Ben, the Kremlin, the Eiffel Tower, and the Statue of Liberty.

Right: the back design is a decorative pattern with a Belgian lion and motto
"Union fait la Force" which is also printed in the box (click image to zoom)

“L'union fait la force” produced by Ets. Mesmaekers Frères, Turnhout, 1945

Above: “L'union fait la force” produced by Ets. Mesmaekers Frères, Turnhout, 1945, commemorating the close of the Second World War. 52 cards + Joker in box, 58x88mm, gilt corners. The four Kings depict allied leaders Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, De Gaulle. The Joker is a caricature of Adolf Hitler. The Aces show the Kremlin, the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and Big Ben. Gilt corners.


REFERENCES

Autenboer, Dr Eugeen van: The Turnhout Playing Card Industry 1826-1976, Aurelia Books, Brussels 1976

• See also: WW1 Commemorative pack.


“L'union fait la force” produced by Ets. Mesmaekers Frères, Turnhout, 1945

Above: image courtesy Deborah Kirby, from the collection of John Sidney Copp (1915-2004).

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By Rod Starling

Member since January 09, 2013

Rod Starling was one of the founding members of the 52 Plus Joker card collectors club. He authored many articles for the club's quarterly newsletter, Clear the Decks. His collection encompasses both foreign and American decks. Rod also authored a book titled The Art and Pleasures of Playing Cards.


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