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Published July 05, 2022 Updated July 06, 2023

Jeu d'aluette by Fossorier, Amar et Cie

A very distinctive 48-card Spanish-suited pack is used to play Aluette.

1902 France Fossorier Amar et Cie E. Hellé Aluette Add to Collection

The game of Aluette originated in France and was known as early as 1502. It has been played continuously in a restricted area, namely the western coast from the estuary of the Gironde up to Cotentin, together with the Loire valley as far as Orleans. It continues to be cherished as a part of French cultural heritage and serves as a reminder of the rich history of card games in Europe.

A very distinctive 48-card Spanish-suited pack is used to play Aluette. It is a trick-taking game in which eight cards have special names and have a special place in the game in that they beat all others. The 2 of cups is 'la vache', the 3 of cups is 'Madame', the 3 or coins is 'Monsieur'. Many of these idiosyncrasies can be traced to early sources, and likewise many of the court card postures and stances derive from much earlier patterns. For example the king of coins holds a battle axe which can be traced back to fifteenth century cards. However, there are no border breaks, or 'pintas' which were common in Spanish-suited packs. In the example shown here, the publisher’s name appears on the ace of coins and on the 12 court cards. The signature of the lithographer, E. Helle, can be seen at the bottom of the ace of cups. A blue tax stamp is on the two of swords.

Jeu d'aluette published by Fossorier, Amar et Cie, Paris, 1902. Source gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France Jeu d'aluette published by Fossorier, Amar et Cie, Paris, 1902. Source gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France Jeu d'aluette published by Fossorier, Amar et Cie, Paris, 1902. Source gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France Jeu d'aluette published by Fossorier, Amar et Cie, Paris, 1902. Source gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France

Above: Jeu d'aluette published by Fossorier, Amar et Cie, Paris, 1902. 48 cards, colour lithography by E. Helle. Source gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France • Jeu d'aluette, Helle, Lithographe

References

Dummett, Michael: The Game of Tarot: From Ferrara to Salt Lake City, Duckworth, 1980 - see Appendix 1 Aluette, p.29.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder 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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