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Jacob Holmblad c.1820

Standard woodblock and stencil deck produced by Jacob Holmblad with double-ended court cards in the tradition of the French ‘Paris’ pattern. The A♥ features a red over-stamp referring to Jacob Holmblad's royal license to print playing-cards which had been granted in 1820.

Standard woodblock and stencil deck produced by Jacob Holmblad with double-ended court cards in the tradition of the French ‘Paris’ pattern but with no names on the court cards. Some of the cards have handwritten inscriptions at each end by a former owner who was evidently a student of cartomancy: the A♥ predicts “a ring” or “a duel” and also features a red over-stamp referring to Jacob Holmblad's royal licence to print playing-cards which had been granted in 1820. The A♦ has the red Danish playing-card tax stamp with three lions and a crown. The J♣ has an oval shield with the manufacturer's name.

Standard woodblock and stencil pack produced by Jacob Holmblad with double-ended court cards in the tradition of the French ‘Paris’ pattern, c.1820

Above: Standard woodblock and stencil pack produced by Jacob Holmblad with double-ended courts and numeral cards in the tradition of the French ‘Paris’ pattern, c.1820. Handwritten cartomancy interpretations in Danish.

Fortune Buchholtz wrote: One of the antique words sends us to the Danish equivalent of the OED for historical usages! 9♥rx, the mirror, apparently used to be an interesting building feature where people would have these half-mirror windows so you could look out into the street but passersby could not see into the drawing room; this was the so-called "window mirror." Perhaps in contrast to joy it evoked loneliness or isolation at that time?

A♥: Upright - A Ring (union); Reversed - A Duel (opposition)
A♦: Upright - A Happy Letter; Reversed - A Jealous Lover
J♥: Upright - A Suitor; Reversed - The Same
J♣: Upright - A Servant; Reversed - The Same
J♠: Upright - A Priest; Reversed - The Same
10♥: Upright - A Great Gift; Reversed - A Rendezvous
9♥: Upright - Profound Joy (deep); Reversed - A Mirror (superficial)
10♠: Upright - Tears; Reversed - A Death


REFERENCES

Hinrup, Hans J.: The Holmblad Playing Card Patterns, in "The Playing-Card" vol.33 no.4, IPCS London, Apr-June 2005.

Jensen, K. Frank: French suited tarot packs in Denmark and the Jacob Holmblad Animal tarot, in "The Playing-Card" vol.36 no.3, IPCS London, Apr-June 2008.   [download here].

All images courtesy K. Frank Jensen.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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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.


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