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Swiss Costumes

Wüst's Swiss Cantons souvenir deck was published in Frankfurt in c.1875 for the emerging tourist market.

C. L. Wüst: Swiss Costumes, c.1875

Wüst's Swiss Cantons souvenir deck was first published in Frankfurt in c.1875 for the emerging commercialised tourist market which took off in the mid-19th century. Since 1863 Thomas Cook offered guided holidays to Switzerland which catered to a mixed clientele, from heads of state and princes to upwardly mobile representatives of the middle, lower middle and working classes. French suit symbols were used in this pack (rather than Swiss) making them appeal to international visitors. The costumes and canton shields along with four Aces depicting Swiss scenes were, of course, very attractive as souvenirs.

Above: Swiss Costumes pack manufactured by Conrad Ludwig Wüst, c.1875. 52 cards, copper-plate engraving, stencil coloured, square corners, no indices. Wüst's star motif can be seen on the jack of clubs. The illustrations are double-ended and different at each end and the four aces show: Thoune/Vevey, Neuchâtel/Rigi Staffel, Lausanne/Unterlaken, Berne/Chapelle de Guillaume Tell. (Click image to reverse). Images courtesy Rex Pitts.


Facsimile Edition

A facsimile edition was produced from an original copy in the Schaffhauser Spielkartenfabrik AG Müller archive. See the Box

Above: cards from the facsimile edition. Courtesy Rex Pitts.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

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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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