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New Style ‘Jugendstil’

Playing cards showing the influence of ‘Jugendstil’ manufactured by the Soviet Playing Card Monopoly (U.S.S.R.) 1930

“New Style”

playing cards from Russia based on Literature & Theatre

Playing cards showing the influence of ‘Jugendstil’ first manufactured by the Soviet Playing Card Monopoly (U.S.S.R.) in c.1910 and then again in c.1930. The well-designed court figures are colour coordinated, and represent characters taken from literary works, pantomimes and comedy (Queen of Diamonds as Scheherazade, Queen of Clubs as a mermaid, Knave of Hearts as Pierrot). Some editions are known with English indices suggesting that the cards were also intended for export.

Above: the original Joker from the first edition.

Above: the box (front & back) from 1930s edition.

Click here to see the original back design.

Above: cards from a modern re-print, c.1980, with a new back design and box. Images 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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