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Published July 24, 2012 Updated July 04, 2023

Rhineland Pattern

This pack was probably the culmination of a mixture of designs from 19th century Germany which emerged as one of Dondorf's more popular house patterns by around 1900.

Germany Netherlands Poland Dondorf KZWP-Trefl Piatnik Schmid F.X. Java Rhineland Add to Collection

Dondorf: “Rhineland Pattern”

...a Dondorf House pattern.

This pack was probably the culmination of a mixture of designs from 19th century Germany which emerged as one of Dondorf's more popular house patterns by around 1900. The four Kings each have white wavy hair and beards, giving rise to the nickname “Jewish Pattern”. Its popularity was increased by its being widely used and copied by Austrian, Belgian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese and other manufacturers, some of whom created new variants. Some versions have scenic Aces (historical or geographical) which vary from pack to pack; others have plain Aces. The pattern continued to be produced after the takeover by V.A.S.S. in 1933.

Whist No.122 'Rhineland Pattern' manufactured by Dondorf GmbH, c. 1910 Whist No.122 'Rhineland Pattern' manufactured by Dondorf GmbH, c.1910

Above: Whist No.122 manufactured by Dondorf GmbH, c. 1910, sometimes referred to as “Jewish Pattern” because of the Rabbinical look of the bearded Kings. This example of the “Rhineland Pattern” has plain Aces.

'Rhineland Pattern' with special aces for Java manufactured by Dondorf GmbH, c.1910

Above: this slightly earlier example of the “Rhineland Pattern” with no indices has special Aces for Java showing scenes are of Dutch history (click to see up-side-down). Images courtesy Rex Pitts.

Rhineland Pattern by KZWP, 1980s

Rhineland pattern printed by KZWP, c.1986 Rhineland pattern printed by KZWP, c.1986

Above: Rhineland pattern with English indices printed by KZWP, c.1986. The ace of hearts has a different font for the indices, and has four indices while the other cards all have two. Housed in an unmarked silk-lined bridge box with no indication of a brand name. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

Rhineland Pattern by F. X. Schmid for The Netherlands, c.1990

Rhineland Pattern by F. X. Schmid, c.1990 Rhineland Pattern by F. X. Schmid, c.1990

Above: Rhineland Pattern for The Netherlands by F. X. Schmid, c.1990.

Rhineland Pattern by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna, 1996

Rhineland Pattern for Copenhagen by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna, 1996

Above: Rhineland Pattern for Copenhagen by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna, 1996.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

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.


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