While on vacation in Bavaria I visited Schloss Thurn und Taxis in Regensburg, the home since 1748 of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis, a family of German nobility, which was a key player in the postal services in Europe during the 16th century through to the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. It was here that I came across this pack of Schafkopf playing cards, dedicated to the history of the German postal service. It was published by A.S.S. (Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkartenfabriken), Leinfelden, c. 1994, and the court cards feature the original designs of Monika Dostler (Artwork Marketing), depicting 19th century Postillions from various towns and cities of Germany. The aces show different post horns used by Postillions of the 18th and 19th centuries to signal the arrival or departure of a post rider or mail coach.
The 36 cards have standard German suits of acorns, hearts, bells and leaves. Schafkopf (also called Bavarian Schafkopf), is a popular German trick-taking card game for four players that evolved, towards the end of the 19th century.
Note: Dostler has also produced a pack celebrating Mercedes-Benz►
In addition, a “Postillion Skat” pack of 32 cards was produced with the same illustrations on the courts (but not the aces), and with standard international suits of hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades. The card reverse is also different.
Member since July 27, 2022
I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.
Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.
Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.
A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.
Pack conceived by Berthold Conradi, commemorating the 700th anniversary of the granting of town righ...
Dondorf Jägerkarte Nr. 465 playing cards dedicated to the theme of hunting, c.1930.
Publicity pack for the East German furniture industry, with designs by Werner-Hans Schlegel.
Complete pack of 36 hand-painted and silk-inlaid playing cards with French suits made in Germany.
Review of “Trzes’ Moorish Deck” facsimile published by Ulrich Kaltenborn, Berlin, 2023.
Promotional pack for a German steel hardening business, with designs by Costante Costantini.
Some early examples of popular German playing cards from the XV and XVI centuries.
Costumes of people of Brazil, Peru and Mexico, with views of Rio de Janeiro on the aces.
Cards on cards in celebration of playing-card collector Franz Braun’s 75th birthday.
Artist Edward Locker’s view of London life in 1799, using every card in the pack as part of the pict...
Designs by Jürgen Pankarz for the 20th anniversary of the Wolfgang Dorn advertising agency, Cologne....
Detailed pen and ink drawings of the major arcana by the German artist Helmut Wonschick.
‘Iceberg Free State 1923’ fantasy playing cards with a cautionary moral lesson, Germany, 2006.
Pack devised by Volker Scheub depicting characters associated with the city of Tübingen.
Publicity pack for the German brewery Nordbräu with Bavarian pattern courts (adapted).
Facsimile of cards attributed to Hans Schäufelein (c. 1480-1540) produced by ‘Calliope’, a New York ...
Publicity pack designed by Henning Loerzer for Busskamp & Koch, an advertising agency in Munich.
Playing cards issued to mark the German federal elections held on 2 December 1990.
Modern transformation pack including some saucy images created by Siegfried Heilmeier.
A colourful 1970s take on the major arcana designed by Peter Geitner, with titles in German.
‘Aces Playing Cards’ collaborative art deck published by Zeixs, Cologne (2nd edition).