This special deck was issued to celebrate the Jany Group of Private Investors acquiring a controlling majority of Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten Fabriken in 1983. The four suits feature court cards from 4 different times in the company’s history, which includes numerous takeovers of older firms. The three jokers contain further details►
Turn of the century
The spades courts are taken from Dondorf’s popular “Baronesse” Whist No.160 which first appeared sometime in the early 1900s. 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”.
Late 19th century
The hearts courts are from Dondorf’s “Empire No.170” first published towards the end of the 19th century. In 1933 Dondorf’s business was renamed “Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkartenfabriken AG” and production was gradually transferred to Altenburg.
Turn of the century
The club suit courts are a 1930s pattern reproduced in 1970 as Salon Bridge Canasta No.66 by AS►
The diamonds courts appear to be from Comtesse by Bielefelder Spielkarten Fabrik GmbH, which had been acquired by Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten Fabriken in 1972.
The chronological table shown below is from a 1957 book listing the takeovers in the company’s story. It was a special issue book supplied to customers celebrating 125 years of being around since 1832.
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Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.
His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.
Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.
Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.
His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.
Theatre programme in the form of a pack of cards. East Germany, c.1967.
54 different personalities from the city of Inverness published by the Highland Hospice.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme covers from 1956 to 2016 published by Winning Moves UK Ltd.
Hunters, animals and birds feature on all but the Kings in this pack by Theodor Wegener, c.1863-70.
Cards slanted to the right, issued to mark George W. Bush’s second term of office.
A few items used for advertising or displaying Dondorf playing card products.
A set of advertising poster stamps for C.L.Wüst playing cards.
Pack of cards celebrating Allied Victory in the Second World War.
Celebrating the work of Andreas Vesalius in the quincentenary year of his birth.
Celebration of the work of David Kindersley, stone letter-carver and typeface designer. Published by the Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, Cambridge, UK, 2015.
Miniature playing cards, possibly for children, with a romantic theatrical theme. C.L. Wüst c.1890.
This miniature pack is very similar to one made by C.L.Wúst in c.1890.
An interesting pack of playing cards with illustrated Indian aces made "Specially for the Bombay Market", c.1915.
‘Aphorisms on the Kiss’ published by C. A. Solbrig, Leipzig, 1808.
Wüst Spanish pattern c.1910 advertising Cuban ‘Tropical’ beer.
The maker is possibly Kaspar Traugott Knaut (1799-1881).
Schweizer Trachten No.174 (Costumes Suisses) by Dondorf.
Video by Art of Impossible. In this video you will get a short overview of the most important historical facts about playing cards and their history.
Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany
‘History of fashion’ cultural quartet game designed by Erika Werner-Nestler, 1954.
The ‘Rinker’ highly amusing snap game, c.1910.
Geschichte des Buchgewerbes illustrated by Ludwig Winkler, published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck.
“So Fängt Es An” beautifully illustrated by M. Neugebauer, published by Helingsche Verlagsanstalt, c.1950.
“Verkehrsmittel Einst und Jetzt” transport quartet game by Bielefelder Spielkarten Fabrik GmbH, 1958.
Asterix Adventure quartet game by ASS, 1989.
‘Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien’ family card game by Dondorf.
Zwarte Piet by Dondorf for the Dutch market, 1906.
Gulliver in the Land of Dwarfs quartet published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pößneck.
Bass & Bass ‘Jeu des Familles’ made by Franz-Josef Holler, Münich, 1989.
Fifth Centenary of the Discovery of America by Heraclio Fournier, 1992.
‘Significant Inventions in Everyday Life’ quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pössneck, 1979.
A facsimile of an early 19th century French-suited deck from the collection of F.X. Schmid.
History of Motorcycles quartet published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck, 1989.
Gilroy Special Edition Playing Cards to commemorate the centenary of the birth of John Gilroy, 1989.
Delightful comical deck designed by Loriot, the German cartoonist and comedian, 1973.
Kaffeehaus-Pikett featuring the old Viennese Large Crown pattern, made by ASS.
Musikinstrumente quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pössneck, 1984.
‘Seefahrers’ maritime deck designed by Klaus Ensikat for Deutsche Seereederei Rostock, GDR.
Darling pin-up playing cards designed by Heinz Villiger, c.1950s-60s.
Year of the Child commemorative deck designed by Jhan Paulussen, 1979.