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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Rokoko-Bild No.158

This pattern was published between 1889-1933, at first with no Joker, which was added in 1906 along with small indices in German or English.

B. Dondorf: ‘Rokoko-Bild No.158’

A lovely antique set of Dondorf's “Rokoko” No.158 playing cards, with beautiful court cards and floral backs. The designs have clear outlines which stand out against a tinted background. The two black Jacks carry halberds; the Jack of Clubs reads “B. Dondorf” and “Frankfort a/m”. The other two Jacks are a falconer and an archer. Although the court figures are not an accurate reflection of any historical period, this deck has been nicknamed “Rococo”. The cards are slightly small by contemporary standards, measuring 85x58mm. This pattern was published between 1889-1933, at first with no Joker, which was added in 1906 along with small indices in German or English.

Dondorf's 'Rokoko' No.158 playing cards printed by chromolithography

Above: Dondorf's "Rokoko" No.158 playing cards printed by chromolithography, 52 cards, gold corners. The backs show honeysuckle on a pink or blue ground. Images courtesy Barney Townshend.

See also: Piatnik Rococco Mini-Patience

Cribbage Board Card Box made by Hilliard & Thomason in Chester, England, 1897

Above: a Victorian silver mounted Cribbage Board / Card Box that has a colourful court card concealed under a beveled glass cover. The box was made by Hilliard & Thomason in Chester, England in 1897. Image courtesy David Buck.

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By Barney Townshend

Member since October 06, 2015

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Retired Airline Pilot, interested in: Transformation Playing Cards, Karl Gerich and Elaine Lewis. Secretary of the EPCS. Treasurer of the IPCS.

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Comtesse

Comtesse

“Comtesse” by Bielefelder Spielkarten Fabrik GmbH, 1960s.

Rococo Playing Cards

Rococo Playing Cards

Piatnik’s Rococo style playing cards issued as “Rococo Patience”, “Luxus-Patience”, “Empire Patience”, “White Horse Patience”, “Patience-Whist No.140”, “Mini Patience” and “Lady Patience”

Baroque No.2118

Baroque No.2118

“Baroque” by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna, reflecting a bygone era of fashion.

F. X. Schmid Mini-Patience

F. X. Schmid Mini-Patience

Miniature Patience playing cards in Rococo style published by F. X. Schmid, c.1960

Royal Dutch Mail

Royal Dutch Mail

Elegant “Nieuw Neerlandia” pattern designed by M.A. Koekkoek and produced by Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland, c.1930s

Rococo No.2130

Rococo No.2130

Piatnik: Rococo No.2130 playing cards designed by Prof. Kuno Hock, c.1975

Empire No.170

Empire No.170

The Queens, who wear short sleeved dresses with bonnets adorned with chin straps and roses, hold a rose, a fan, a bird or a letter.

Rococco

Rococco

Designed by Josef Maria Melchior Annen (1868-1954) who also designed several other packs for Müller & Cie.

Rokoko-Bild No.158

Rokoko-Bild No.158

This pattern was published between 1889-1933, at first with no Joker, which was added in 1906 along with small indices in German or English.

Baronesse Whist No.160

Baronesse Whist No.160

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”.