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Published March 20, 2023 Updated March 20, 2023

La Compagnie de 1602

Characters from the annual festival held to commemorate the failed attempt to storm Geneva in 1602.

1991 Switzerland AGMüller Commemorative Historical Add to Collection
‘La Compagnie de 1602’ commemorative deck printed by AGMüller, Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland, for La Compagnie de 1602, Geneva, 1991

La Compagnie de 1602 is a historical society with around 2,200 members which organises the festival held in December each year to commemorate L’Escalade (the act of scaling defensive walls), the failed attempt to conquer the Protestant city-state of Geneva by the Catholic Duchy of Savoy on the night of 11-12 December 1602, the darkest night of the year. The comic-looking court cards and Jokers depict characters in historical costume connected with the festival. On the Jokers one can read “BENE 91”, presumably the artist’s name and the year. On the back is a vivid night-time scene of a raider being eyed by a defender.

‘La Compagnie de 1602’ commemorative deck printed by AGMüller, Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland, for La Compagnie de 1602, Geneva, 1991 ‘La Compagnie de 1602’ commemorative deck printed by AGMüller, Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland, for La Compagnie de 1602, Geneva, 1991

Above: ‘La Compagnie de 1602’ commemorative deck printed by AGMüller, Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland, for La Compagnie de 1602, Geneva, 1991. 52 cards + 3 Jokers. No box. Size: 57 x 88.5 mm.

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By Roddy Somerville

Member since May 31, 2022

Roddy started collecting stamps on his 8th birthday. In 1977 he joined the newly formed playing-card department at Stanley Gibbons in London before setting up his own business in Edinburgh four years later. His collecting interests include playing cards, postcards, stamps (especially playing cards on stamps) and sugar wrappers. He is a Past President of the Scottish Philatelic Society, a former Chairman of the IPCS, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and Curator of the WCMPC’s collection of playing cards. He lives near Toulouse in France.


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