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Published December 06, 2022 Updated December 06, 2022

Dietsche Playing Cards for the Dutch Shipping Company

A beautiful early pack from The Dutch Playing Card factory.

1909 Netherlands Nederlandsche Speelkaartenfabriek Salon Shipping Add to Collection

The Netherlands produced some excellent and beautiful playing cards in the first part of the twentieth century, although these are not often described in much of the available literature. Nico van Berkel & Bob Haleber (known as the magic duo Niberco brothers) together with Lex Rijnen & Arno Sinselmeijer, were the first to publish a catalogue of playing cards produced by the Dutch playing cards factory in 1986. In recent years Joop Muller has created the online Speelkaartenmuseum where the the full production of the Amsterdam factory can be seen. The factory started out with the name Nederlandsche Speelkaartenfabriek, which existed from 1909 until 1912. After going broke it was restarted as Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland which ran on until 1969 after which is was taken over by Van Genechten in Turnhout, Belgium, soon to become part of Carta Mundi.

The deck shown here, known as Dietsche playing cards, is in my opinion, one of the nicest from their early production. Printed in chromolithography it has colourful court cards in Dutch style costumes from around 1600. This particular pack was made for the Scheepvaartmaatschappij Nederland (Dutch Shipping Company) with aces depicting international cities with harbours frequented by the company. The ace of hearts shows the ship S.S.Vondel which was built in 1907. The reverse of the cards shows the SMN logo of the company. The box describes the pack as ' Salonkaart Whist'.
Why the cards were registered as ' Dietsche Kaart' is unknown, but maybe this was the name of the designer. The cards were available from 1909 until 1914.
The standard version of the Dietsche Kaart was issued with illustrated aces showing heraldic style representations of a shield, tower, castle and a ship. These are shown at the end of this article.

Below: the reverse of the cards and the box.

Below: the aces from the standard edition together with the reverse of the cards and box.




All cards shown are from the collection of Paul Symons ©


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By Paul Symons

Member since February 01, 2016

I'm British but I have now lived in the Netherlands for more than 50 years and am still enjoying every minute of it. I started collecting playing cards in the early 1980’s after speaking with my neighbour who was at that time a croupier in a casino. I started with just collecting jokers, but that soon led me to complete packs of cards and eventually to specialising in old and antique playing cards, particularly those of C.L. Wüst of Frankfurt, Germany. I am presently the Dutch representative of the I.P.C.S. and the auctioneer at the IPCS conventions.


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