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Published February 03, 2023 Updated February 03, 2023

Paris pattern for WWII troops

Wartime edition of standard designs with fewer colours, a special back design and an overprint.

1939 France Army Wartime Paris Pattern Add to Collection

Packs produced in time of war have always had a special fascination. They may be produced for propaganda purposes or merely for entertainment. The latter is true here, as these cards were produced “A L’USAGE EXCLUSIF des TROUPES en CAMPAGNE” (i.e., for the exclusive use of troops on active service), as shown on the Ace of Clubs. Fewer colours than usual have been used to print the court cards (there is no yellow). A tricolour back design includes the text “ARMÉE FRANÇAISE GUERRE 1939”. One wonders how long they thought the war was going to last! The Ace of Clubs carries the normal stamp found on most French packs between 1890 and 1940 but with the addition of “Franchise de l’Impôt” (“free of tax”). The cards have been well used – as one would expect.

wartime edition of standard French Paris pattern playing cards with fewer colours, France, 193 wartime edition of standard French Paris pattern playing cards with fewer colours, France, 193

Above: wartime edition of standard French Paris pattern playing cards, with fewer colours, maker unknown (possibly Grimaud?), France, 1939. 31 of 32 cards (8C missing). Size: 54 x 84 mm.

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By Roddy Somerville

Member since May 31, 2022

Roddy started collecting stamps on his 8th birthday. In 1977 he joined the newly formed playing-card department at Stanley Gibbons in London before setting up his own business in Edinburgh four years later. His collecting interests include playing cards, postcards, stamps (especially playing cards on stamps) and sugar wrappers. He is a Past President of the Scottish Philatelic Society, a former Chairman of the IPCS, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and Curator of the WCMPC’s collection of playing cards. He lives near Toulouse in France.


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