The designs are a meld between the standard international pattern and German-style French-suited cards. Elements from various other standard patterns can be detected.
“Cartes Comiques”, published by B. Dondorf, printed by chromolithography, c.1870-1888.
After the Second World War, the deck continued to be produced both by the VEB Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik as “Rokoko” and by ASS-Spielkartenfabrik, Leinfelden-Echterdingen as “Baronesse”.
Based upon older ‘standard’ patterns, the Kings and Queens are three-quarter length figures whilst the Jacks are full-length with legs giving the impression that they are walking about!
“Cartes Lenormand” published by H. P. Gibson & Sons Ltd, London, printed in Germany by B. Dondorf, 1920s.
There have been many variations in the design of “Club Karte” including the introduction of borders, corner indices and rounded corners, and variations in the inscriptions on the Aces over the years.
The court cards in this well designed double-ended pack are realistically dressed in 16th century costumes with German suit symbols. The Kings and high ranking personnel are strict and austere.
Dondorf’s “Die Vogel-Welt” No. 351 quartet game, c.1905
The luxury playing card factory founded in Frankfurt am Main by Bernhard Dondorf in 1833 existed for 100 years.
Dondorf Poker-Karte No. 195, re-issued as Poker No. 140 for the "Argentina Compañia General de Navegación Sociedad Anónima", 1920s
Spanische Spielkarten "Naipes Finos" No.304, manufactured by B. Dondorf designed by the catalan artist Apel-les Mestres, Barcelona, 1902.
Dondorf's “Microscopique Tarock“ was first published in c.1870. The scenes portrayed at each end of the trump cards are marvels of miniature graphic artwork and printing.
The four suits are associated with four countries: Clubs = Germany, Diamonds = UK, Spades = Russia and Hearts = France.
Dondorf Tarot Court Cards
Dondorf no.332: ‘Jeu des Fleurs’ French edition
French language edition of a children's quartet game published by B. Dondorf, c.1900, consisting of 40 amusing illustrations of birds and animals with humorous captions.
A coat-of-arms quartet game published by B. Dondorf, c.1900
Dondorf's ‘Einköpfige Deutsche Spielkarte No.303’ (‘Single-ended German Playing Cards’) were produced during the period 1900-1930.
The Queens, who wear short sleeved dresses with bonnets adorned with chin straps and roses, hold a rose, a fan, a bird or a letter.
Dondorf's 'Four Continents' Patience, c.1910
The beautiful artwork in Dondorf's “Fruits et Légumes” quartet game reminds us of the benefits of natural food.
Dondorf's "Fynste Java Speelkaarten No.17" was published to commemorate the second marriage of King William III with Princess Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont, on January 7, 1879.
The Valets in this deck appear in costumes of the Biedermeier period, portraying sentimental and pious poses in keeping with the iconography of traditional German playing card patterns.
Card-playing rapidly became popular in medieval Bavaria and German printers were quick to supply the goods.
Each Ace shows views of two European capital cities.
A new ‘medieval look’ is intended to suggest the power and virtue of the German character.
First published in c.1870, children are presented in these miniature Patience cards disguised as Kings, Queens and Jacks. The Kings' crowns are slightly over-sized for their heads and the children are wearing false beards.
Dondorf's “L'Hombre No.60” was manufactured for the Danish firm Adolph Wulff of Copenhagen between c.1910-1930.
Dondorf's “La Zoologie” card game no.335 features a collection of 40 chromolithographic prints of species of animals from around the world
Another of Dondorf's masterpieces of chromolithography, the detailed artwork on these cards has multiple tints and highlights giving the figures a brilliant, glossy character.
Stylistically, the deck fits easily into the Dondorf “luxury card” group. The deck has been produced for the Danish firm Adolph Wulff of Copenhagen, also for F. Tilgmann in Helsinki, and a Swedish version by Öberg & Son, Stockholm.
The deck has Italian indices (A, R, D, F) and was probably produced for the Italian market. The four scenic Aces are double-ended and illustrate buildings relevant to the history of the Medici dynasty.
These designs imitating late medieval costumes were published by B. Dondorf in Germany in various editions between 1889-1933 as Mittelalter No.150, 151 and 135.
Facsimile of Dondorf’s “Musikalisches Kartenspiel” (c.1862) published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004
Karl Gerich was a great admirer of playing cards produced by B. Dondorf and his tenth pack was inspired by Dondorf's “Luxus-Spielkarte Vier-Erdteile” (Four Continents Luxury Playing Cards) designed by Friedrich Karl Hausmann, 1870.
Heinrich Hoffmann (1809-1894) wrote the Struwwelpeter stories in 1847 for his son Carl. The stories quickly became famous and were translated into many languages...
This pack was probably the culmination of a mixture of designs from 19th century Germany which emerged as one of Dondorf's more popular house patterns by around 1900
This pattern was published between 1889-1933, at first with no Joker, which was added in 1906 along with small indices in German or English.
Promotional playing cards printed by Dondorf for Saks & Company, New York, late 1920s.
Schweizer Trachten No.174 (Costumes Suisses) by Dondorf.
Faulkner & Co. Ltd were prolific card game manufacturers over a period of around 50 years, c.1870-1920. The Shakespeare Playing Cards pack was published in the 1890s. The original paintings for the courts are by John H. Bacon.
French-suited tarot cards made by B. Dondorf, c.1870.
Dondorf's Luxus-Spielkarte “Vier-Erdteile” (“Four Continents”) was first published in c.1870 and has been re-published in several editions, variations and formats since then.
In this version an explanatory verse is printed at the top of each card.
Whist No. 32 - Cartas de Jogar Nunes
Although not historically accurate this example is subtitled “Stuart period”, with rich costumes creating associations with an imaginary period sometime before the French Revolution.
Stylistically, the deck fits easily into the Dondorf “luxury card” group. The deck was produced for the Danish firm Adolph Wulff of Copenhagen in c.1928-35.