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Published December 16, 2012 Updated July 01, 2022

Ceska Graficka Unie AS

Playing Cards printed by Ceska Graficka Unie AS, Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1890-1925.

1961 Czechoslovakia Ceska Graficka Unie AS Artuš Scheiner Art & Design Art Nouveau & Jugendstil Add to Collection

‘Jugendstil’  designed by Artuš Scheiner.

From the days of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, this magnificent piece of fantasy graphic art in the ‘Jugendstil’, Art Nouveau or ‘Secessionist’ style was designed by noted Czech graphic artist and illustrator Artuš Scheiner (1863-1938) and first printed by Česká Grafická Unie AS (Czech Graphic Union), Prague, in c.1920. Artus Scheiner worked as a financial clerk in Prague when he began drawing as a hobby. Soon magazines in Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary began publishing his work. 1902 saw the release of his first book of fairy tale illustrations. He is not so well known in the English-speaking world.

Above: ‘Jugendstil’ playing cards designed by Artus Scheiner (1863-1938) and first printed by offset by Česká Grafická Unie AS, Prague, in c.1920 and reprinted at various later dates. The court cards have an almost fairyland appearance and allude to different cultures, with distinct colour schemes for each suit. The geometric back design came in blue or red. These cards also exist in smaller Patience size packs. Images courtesy Barney Townshend.

Note: I happen to have a double pack of the Patience cards and can report that there are no major differences between the full-size and the Patience cards except for some very minor colour differences which could simply be due to different printings over time. The additional scan of an Ace of Hearts is from the Patience pack with a tax stamp which, according to Peter Endebrock's site (http://www.endebrock.de/stamps/st-cs.html), was probably used during the German occupation. Note that the stamp includes the name of the maker. I have also taken the opportunity to show the other back colour. One curious feature of this pack (large or small) is that, on the four aces, the company name is followed by "S.A." and not "A.S.". This must have something to do with the "Marque Déposée" (trademark) wording being in French. "S.A." would therefore stand for "Société Anonyme". Note too that Prague is spelt in French - "Prague" rather than "Praha" - Roddy Somerville.

See also:  Czech Nationalistic playing-cardsEagle Playing Card Co., Ltd.

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131 Articles

By Barney Townshend

Member since October 06, 2015

Retired Airline Pilot, interested in: Transformation Playing Cards, Karl Gerich and Elaine Lewis. Secretary of the EPCS. Treasurer of the IPCS.


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