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Published November 10, 2012 Updated March 12, 2022

22: Belgian Makers: Van Genechten

Van Genechten started making playing cards in c.1840 and continued until the founding of Carta Mundi in 1970.

Belgium Van Genechten

Antoon (Antoine) Van Genechten started printing playing cards some time between 1837 and 1841 in partnership with Jacques-Edouard Glénisson. This partnership was dissolved in 1855 and Glénisson continued a separate card-making business until 1899. Van Genechten, on the other hand, continued into the twentieth century and was one of the component parts of Carta Mundi. A prolific card-maker, he has left behind many examples of his work. In addition to the traditional Turnhout version of the English single-figure courts (based on De La Rue's D3) he produced a most unusual version, which I illustrated on page 19 of this blog.

For a full list of the Van Genechten cards in my collection, click here

Above: Cheap grade, c.1870

Above: A more expensive version, c.1870

Above: From a sample book in the Turnhout Museum, c.1870

The double-ended version was considerably redrawn in the style of many continental designs with human faces. (See also Brepols' version of the design on page 21.)

Above: From the same sample book

Note that the AS of this era is a close copy of Old Frizzle printed in blue; people sometimes think this is a rare version of the English duty ace. IT ISN'T!

He also used a different version of the single-ended courts based on De La Rue's D3, with a double-ended version, too.

Above: From the same sample book

He even produced a turned version of the single-ended courts, which I've never seen done by any other maker.

Above: Turned, c.1880. He also used De La Rue's double-ended D4.1 as a model.

Above: c.1875

And he used Reynolds' single-figure courts (R1) and made a double-ended version of these. Note that, as was quite common in Europe at the time, double-ended courts are made from single-ended courts cut in half with the head half printed both ends.

This is quite an extraordinary range of designs to have available all at the same time. Slightly later his version of De La Rue's D4.1, shown above with fancy decorative additions, was used in a lot of cheaper packs as well, and he did a triplicate version, too.

Above: c.1880

He also turned six of the courts of this design and produced packs with or without four indices, with or without round corners.

Above: c.1880-1900

Much later, in the 1930s, he was using a copy of De La Rue's last design (D9), which had been discontinued in England in the late 1920s.

In the 1930s Van Genechten was also making a lot of cards for India, as mentioned previously, and he used a completely turned version of De La Rue/Goodall's GD10 on very thick card. [See also page 22.]

Above: c.1935

Finally, right up until the 1960s, he used a version of USPCC's US5 with turned courts to put all the pips on the left, which meant a turned QH and a normal-facing JS.

For other Belgian makers, see pages 18, 21 & 23. For some of the non-standard packs produced by Van Genechten, see the wopc website


By Ken Lodge

Member since May 14, 2012

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​I'm Ken Lodge and have been collecting playing cards since I was about eighteen months old (1945). I am also a trained academic, so I can observe and analyze reasonably well. I've applied these analytical techniques over a long period of time to the study of playing cards and have managed to assemble a large amount of information about them, especially those of the standard English pattern. Read more...

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1945 Jeep Playing cards

Jeep Playing cards

Pack of cards celebrating Allied Victory in the Second World War.

1880 Dutch costume playing cards from an unknown maker

Dutch costume playing cards from an unknown maker

Another pack of Dutch costume playing cards c.1880.

1860 Dutch costume playing cards

Dutch costume playing cards

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.

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134 printed by Brepols for Germany, c.1940s.

1920 Brazil Pictorial Aces

Brazil Pictorial Aces

Genoese pattern with Pictorial Aces for Brazil by Brepols, Turnhout, c.1920.

1975 Stationskwartetspel


Railway Stations quartet game illustrated by Wim Dolk and published by Servex BV, Utrecht, 1975.

1934 Dynastie Royale de Belgique

Dynastie Royale de Belgique

Dynastie Royale de Belgique by Mesmaekers, 1934.

1979 Year of the Child

Year of the Child

Year of the Child commemorative deck designed by Jhan Paulussen, 1979.

1960 Cigar Bands

Cigar Bands

A collection of 24 cigar bands with miniature playing cards.

2002 007 Die Another Day

007 Die Another Day

“007 Die Another Day” James Bond themed playing cards, 2002.

Spectrum Bridge by Cartamundi

Spectrum Bridge by Cartamundi

Spectrum Bridge by Cartamundi

2015 Calavera Playing Cards

Calavera Playing Cards

Calavera playing cards designed by Jirs Huygen for Cartamundi, 2015

1969 Belle Vue Gueuze

Belle Vue Gueuze

Promotional playing cards designed by Wim Simons, Belgium, 1960s.

1760 Anonymous Spanish Suited pack, c.1760

Anonymous Spanish Suited pack, c.1760

Anonymous archaic Spanish Suited pack, c.1760

1968 Boerenbond Veevoeders

Boerenbond Veevoeders

Promotional deck designed by Ray Goossens for the Boerenbond farmers’ union, c.1968.

1963 Bayer


Humorous pharmaceutical deck made by Antoine van Genechten for Bayer, c.1963.

1976 Butagaz


“Butagaz” playing cards for the French gas company, c.1976

Mickey for Kids

Mickey for Kids

Mickey for Kids playing cards from Disney.

1990 Velux


Velux - la fenêtre de toit de qualité, c.1990.

Biermans Genoese pattern

Biermans Genoese pattern

Biermans Genoese pattern for Clayson agricultural machinery, late 1960s.

Jean Borin

Jean Borin

‘Cartes de Luxe’ with artwork by Belgian artist and designer Jean Borin (1907-1997).

1962 Banque Nationale de Paris, c.1962

Banque Nationale de Paris, c.1962

Special deck made for La Banque Nationale de Paris by Van Genechten, Turnhout, c.1962.

M/S Kronprins Harald

M/S Kronprins Harald

Souvenir of Jahre Line Ferry M/S Kronprins Harald

2003 British Airways Concorde

British Airways Concorde

British Airways Concorde playing cards made in Belgium by Carta Mundi, before 2003.

1877 Cartes de Luxe (1877) facsimile

Cartes de Luxe (1877) facsimile

‘Cartes de Luxe’ first published by Biermans in 1877 was reproduced in facsimile by Amstel Beer in c.1980.

1950 Genever Giraf

Genever Giraf

Dutch pattern advertising deck for Genever Giraf made by Van Genechten in the 1950s.

Piket Fijne Speelkaarten, c.1925-30

Piket Fijne Speelkaarten, c.1925-30

‘Piket Fijne Speelkaarten’ by La Turnhoutoise, c.1925-30.

1980 BG Bouw Building Company

BG Bouw Building Company

BG Bouw Dutch Building Company publicity deck manufactured by Carta Mundi, c.1980.

1964 Max Velthuijs for KLM

Max Velthuijs for KLM

Playing cards designed by Max Velthuijs for KLM airlines first published c.1964

Domino Cards, c.1890

Domino Cards, c.1890

Domino Cards by Mesmaekers Frères, c.1890

1999 Millennium


‘Millennium’ limited edition playing cards by Carta Mundi, 1999

1945 Le Jeu des Alliés

Le Jeu des Alliés

“Le Jeu des Alliés” manufactured by Mesmaekers N.V., Turnhout, 1945.

1973 Food Exchange

Food Exchange

“Food Exchange“ playing cards designed by Ralph Dobson for the British Diabetic Association.

1875 Anon Spanish Cards c.1875

Anon Spanish Cards c.1875

Spanish-suited playing cards made in Belgium by Léonard Biermans, c.1875.

Manuf’d for L.N. Mann

Manuf’d for L.N. Mann

Standard English pattern manuf’d for L.N. Mann by Van Genechten, c.1890.

1960 Tobacco advertising

Tobacco advertising

Advertising decks made in Belgium by A. Van Genechten, 1960s.

Four Colour Cards / 四色牌 / Si Sek Pai

Four Colour Cards / 四色牌 / Si Sek Pai

Four Colour Cards made in Belgium for Far Eastern markets

Brepols Genoese pattern

Brepols Genoese pattern

“Cartes Françaises” and Genoese pattern by Brepols.

Abbey Playing Cards

Abbey Playing Cards

Abbey Playing Cards made in Belgium by La Turnhoutoise, c.1950s.