B. Dondorf: Birma Karte No.194
Based upon one of the oldest standard patterns, the Kings and Queens are three-quarter length figures whilst the Jacks are full-length with legs giving the impression that they are walking about! Single-ended (full-length) courts were common in the early 19th century, but were gradually replaced by double-ended courts. All costumes are elaborately decorated. Whilst several manufacturers were experimenting with decorated versions of the standard International pattern*, this is definitely the most remarkable example designed by Dondorf. Examples are known with wrappers printed for Hegt & Co. Trading Company, Rangoon (Burma).
In an article published in ‘The Playing Card’ (Volume 45.2, 2016: pp.82-84) Ken Lodge notes:
I was somewhat surprised, however, to see that Hoffmann & Dietrich (1981: 150-53) describe the pack known as Birma-Karte (B) and a similar double-ended pack made for Portugal (D) as being derived from the standard English pattern (or “internationales Bild”). I have known these packs for some time and never considered them to be serious candidates for the label “English pattern”. They are both drawn in the same style, very ornate and stylized, but in a very different way from the standard English stylization, making the figures look much more realistic. The kings and queens of the single-figure court set are drawn three-quarter-length within the frame, whereas the jacks, having legs, are foreshortened, squat and look deformed. True, there are nods in the direction of the English pattern, for example, the strange object held by the English JS is held by the JD in (B) and the JC in (D), the patterns on the hats of some of the jacks resemble those of the English pattern, and the KS of (D) has a sword behind his head (note, not the KH). But if we take a proper look at the details, we’ll see that, in fact, the figures are mostly those of the French regional patterns that I dealt with in Lodge (2015 & 2016). I am not claiming that the model for these cards is one particular French regional pattern, but that it is made up of versions of the figures found in various French packs from the late mediaeval period to the late 17th century. To take just one example to start with, the single-figure JS is the Paris 1 JC (J7 in my system of classification), also found in an earlier JH by Valéry F(aucil?).
Theatre programme in the form of a pack of cards. East Germany, c.1967.
Hunters, animals and birds feature on all but the Kings in this pack by Theodor Wegener, c.1863-70.
A few items used for advertising or displaying Dondorf playing card products.
A set of advertising poster stamps for C.L.Wüst playing cards.
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.
‘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.
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.
Fairy Tales quartet published by Heinrich Schwarz + Co for Dutch market, c.1970.
‘Einhorn’ designed by Richard König, c.1986.
Renovation 2.000 playing cards with special courts designed by Jean Hoffmann.
Fairy Tales quartet game by F.X. Schmid, Munich, 1960.
Deutsche Nutzpflanzen - Quartett game promoting Kali brand crop fertilizer, 1938.
Märchen-Quartett (Fairy Tales) illustrated by J. P. Werth and published by J. W. Spear & Söhne, c.1915.
One Penny Card Games, 1920s.
One Penny Card Games, 1900-1910, mostly anonymous 'Snap' games and made in Germany.
Schwarzer Peter the Forest and its People, illustrated by Liesel Lauterborn, 1955.