The designs for the Saxon pattern probably originated in the 18th century, making it one of the older German-suited patterns. The Saxony coat-of-arms appears on the daus of acorns (under a lion's head) and on the daus of leaves. The pack is usually described on the daus of acorns as “Schwerdter Karte” or “Schwerter Karte” referring to the crossed swords on the coats-of-arms. The four kings are seated on thrones, each one having two suit symbols. The upper and lower knaves are all civilian figures, and the unter of bells has a bird perched on his wrist. In earlier versions six of the knaves wear hats with upturned brims, but in later versions the costumes have changed style and the unter of bells and the ober of leaves have top hats. The daus of bells shows a loving couple about to be discovered by a third person and the number cards have small decorative vignettes at the bottom.
The pack usually has 32 cards and was used principally for the game of Piquet in the early 19th century. It is known in single-figure and double-ended versions.
These cards are a reproduction of an original from 1832 and feature the knaves wearing hats with upturned brims rather than top hats. Also the tunics are simpler in style than later versions and there is no ground beneath the courts' feet.
In the double-ended versions, although more convenient, many charming features of the designs are lost.
Member since February 01, 1996
Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
‘National Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800-1825.
French-suited Æsop’s fables tarot produced by Leipzig Industrie Comptoir, c.1800-1825.
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.
The “Parisian Tarot”, early 1600s, with imagery and design synthesizing several influences.
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.