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Löjliga Spel Kort

Facsimile edition of “Löjliga Spel Kort” (1825) illustrated playing cards from Sweden, showing scenes from Fredman‘s Epistles and Songs

Löjliga Spel Kort

Facsimile edition of “Löjliga Spel Kort” (Comical playing cards, 1825) from Sweden, with engraved illustrations by the popular artist and painter Elis Chiewitz (1784-1839) featuring imaginary characters and events from Stockholm of that era. The subtitle “med Scener utur Fredmans epistlar” refers to a collection of poems and songs (‘Epistles’) by 18th century Swedish poet, songwriter and composer Carl Michael Bellman (1740–1795) in which Jean Fredman, an alcoholic former watchmaker, is the central character depicted in the scenes. The ‘Epistle’ number is shown at the bottom-right of each card, for example on the queen of hearts Epistle No 23 “Ach du min Moder!” is illustrated. The general theme is drinking, but the songs combine words and music to express feelings and moods ranging from humorous to elegiac, romantic to satirical...

See also: Wikipedia Carl Michael Bellman

Above: the front of the box and the speckled back pattern.

Above: facsimile edition of “Löjliga Spel Kort” (1825) illustrated playing cards from the Nordic Museum, Sweden, facsimile published in 1990. 32 cards: 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A in each suit. The set includes a fold-out paper leaflet in Swedish. 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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