This pack of cards is titled 'Ivory Elephant Playing Cards' and was most probably produced by Emil Zippel & Co. of Hamburg, Germany in about 1915 or thereabouts. The aces each depict elaborate black & white illustrations of famous landmarks in different Indian cities. The court cards are very similar to those used by Dondorf from 1889 onwards, but were also used by Ockelmann & Buss of Hamburg (1916-1936) and Conrad Jäger of Proschwitz (1888-1938). Although the text 'TRADE MARK - SPECIALLY FOR THE BOMBAY MARKET' is found on all the aces, there is no indication of the maker or publisher on the cards or the box. The playing cards have been printed on very low quality board and have square corners. There was no joker in the pack. Similar cards described in the literature were made by Emil Zippel or Conrad Jäger but have different illustrated aces.
Above: The box and reverse of the playing cards
- Spielkartenhersteller in Deutschland zwischen den Weltkrieg, Jürgen Platz (2021) p.162-164
- Braun Band 4 (Dondorf). BD1889/1 p.68-70
- Cartorama 32 p.36 (166 & 167)
All cards shown are from the collection of Paul Symons ©.
Member since February 01, 2016View Articles
I'm British but I have now lived in the Netherlands for 50 years and have enjoyed every minute of it. I started collecting playing cards in the early 1980’s after speaking with my neighbour who was at that time a croupier in a casino. I started with just collecting jokers, but that soon led me to complete packs of cards and eventually to specialising in old and antique playing cards, particularly those of C.L. Wüst of Frankfurt, Germany. I am presently the Dutch representative of the I.P.C.S. and the auctioneer at the IPCS conventions.
Theatre programme in the form of a pack of cards. East Germany, c.1967.
Cards made by John Waddington Ltd. for the Madras Club, Chennai (formerly Madras), India, c.1930.
Hunters, animals and birds feature on all but the Kings in this pack by Theodor Wegener, c.1863-70.
A few items used for advertising or displaying Dondorf playing card products.
A set of advertising poster stamps for C.L.Wüst playing cards.
Miniature playing cards, possibly for children, with a romantic theatrical theme. C.L. Wüst c.1890.
This miniature pack is very similar to one made by C.L.Wúst in c.1890.
A colourful pack of round cards with Ganjifa designs by Asha Industries, Mumbai, India, 2002.
An interesting pack of playing cards with illustrated Indian aces made "Specially for the Bombay Market", c.1915.
‘Aphorisms on the Kiss’ published by C. A. Solbrig, Leipzig, 1808.
Wüst Spanish pattern c.1910 advertising Cuban ‘Tropical’ beer.
The maker is possibly Kaspar Traugott Knaut (1799-1881).
Schweizer Trachten No.174 (Costumes Suisses) by Dondorf.
In standard English packs the Ace of Spades is associated with decorative designs. This is a historical survey of why this should be.
Video by Art of Impossible. In this video you will get a short overview of the most important historical facts about playing cards and their history.
Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany
‘History of fashion’ cultural quartet game designed by Erika Werner-Nestler, 1954.
The ‘Rinker’ highly amusing snap game, c.1910.
Geschichte des Buchgewerbes illustrated by Ludwig Winkler, published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck.
“So Fängt Es An” beautifully illustrated by M. Neugebauer, published by Helingsche Verlagsanstalt, c.1950.
“Verkehrsmittel Einst und Jetzt” transport quartet game by Bielefelder Spielkarten Fabrik GmbH, 1958.
Asterix Adventure quartet game by ASS, 1989.
Counties of Britain by John Jaques & Son Ltd. c.1930.
‘Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien’ family card game by Dondorf.
Zwarte Piet by Dondorf for the Dutch market, 1906.
Gulliver in the Land of Dwarfs quartet published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pößneck.
Bass & Bass ‘Jeu des Familles’ made by Franz-Josef Holler, Münich, 1989.
‘Significant Inventions in Everyday Life’ quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pössneck, 1979.
A facsimile of an early 19th century French-suited deck from the collection of F.X. Schmid.
Polska with artwork by Katarzyna Tomala & Krzysztof Korzeniak, 2011.
History of Motorcycles quartet published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck, 1989.
Delightful comical deck designed by Loriot, the German cartoonist and comedian, 1973.
Kaffeehaus-Pikett featuring the old Viennese Large Crown pattern, made by ASS.
Musikinstrumente quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pössneck, 1984.
‘Seefahrers’ maritime deck designed by Klaus Ensikat for Deutsche Seereederei Rostock, GDR.
Genoese pattern with Pictorial Aces for Brazil by Brepols, Turnhout, c.1920.
Darling pin-up playing cards designed by Heinz Villiger, c.1950s-60s.
Fairy Tales quartet published by Heinrich Schwarz + Co for Dutch market, c.1970.
‘Einhorn’ designed by Richard König, c.1986.
Renovation 2.000 playing cards with special courts designed by Jean Hoffmann.