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Published February 16, 2024 Updated February 16, 2024

Jeu Boléro

Sweeping, semi-abstract designs by J.L. Jolin in red and black only.

1962 France La Ducale Jolin Abstract Art & Design Add to Collection

Sweeping curves in red and black were all that the artist J.L. Jolin needed to create this striking pack. A few essential elements (a crown, a flower, etc.) give clues as to which card is which. The pips have been given a modern look. ‘LA DUCALE’ and ‘MADE IN FRANCE’ appear across the central heart on the Ace of Hearts. The back design is also made up of swirling curves in red, black and white. Who was J.L. Jolin? Possibly an architect from Metz who was born in 1935 and who died in 2015. Judging from the sweeping curves, the artist may also have been a calligrapher. Does the name Boléro have anything to do with the Spanish dance of the same name? Not obviously so.

Jeu Boléro published by La Ducale, Saint-Max, Nancy, France, c1962 Jeu Boléro published by La Ducale, Saint-Max, Nancy, France, c1962 Jeu Boléro published by La Ducale, Saint-Max, Nancy, France, c1962

Above: Jeu Boléro published by La Ducale, Saint-Max, Nancy, France, c1962. 2 x 52 cards + 2 (identical) Jokers + 1 title card, in brown plastic wallet. Size: 63 x 88 mm.

If proof were needed that card players do play with non-standard packs, this set shows many signs of having been very well used! For all that, it remains a set which is hard to find nowadays

References

François, André. Histoire de la Carte à Jouer. Editions Jacques Freal, France, 1974. Chapter 10, illustration no. 29.

Janssen, Han. De Geschiedenis van de Speelkaart. Rijswijk, Netherlands: Elmar b.v.; 1985. p. 270.

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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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