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Published February 16, 2023 Updated February 16, 2023

Lidia Schöffer art-deco playing cards

A prize winning design from The Netherlands

1942 Netherlands Lidia Schöffer Art & Design Art Deco Add to Collection

This pack of playing cards was the winning design of a competition organised for the pupils of Association of Arts and Crafts Education (Vereniging voor Kunstnijverheidsonderwijs) in Amsterdam. It is now known as the Rietveld Academy. The winner was Lidia Schöffer who designed these cards in a striking art-deco style using only three colours. They were printed lithographically by NV Drukkerij v.h. Dieperink & Co., Spuistraat 84, Amsterdam in 1942 in a limited number of 50 packs. There are rumours that a second edition was printed by the Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland but none have been found, and I have only ever seen a very few packs from the original edition. Whatever the case, it is an extremely rare pack to find. The pack consists of 52 cards plus one joker in a cardboard case, with either a blue or green reverse.

If you look carefully at the top flap on the scan of the reverse of the box you will see a small number printed 'K187'. These so-called K-numbers were issued during the occupation in WW2 to printers in the Netherlands who had to print their number on everything they produced. They were in use from 1942 until 1947. Printers were only allowed to print approved items and only on certain qualities of paper or card, often with only a single or reduced number of colours.

Below: The reverse, the joker


Below: both sides of the box

References:
- In de Kaart gekeken. Exhibition catalogue Amsterdam 1976. Cat.nr. 31
- Spielkarten Jugendstil und Art Deco, Segeth 1994. Page 145
- Auction catalogue Spielkarten Jugendstil und Art Deco, 1997. Nr. 102

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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