- ARTICLES -

Cards from far off lands and bygone days!

- ARTICLES -

Unread postby dazzleguts » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:05 pm  

This thread is for articles on vintage, antique and international playing cards. If you have an article you would like to submit please contact Eoghann or dazzleguts by PM. An article can be something you wrote/compiled yourself, or something you have come across and asked permission to re-use.

If you want to comment on any of the articles please do so in the General Discussion thread.

INDEX

*1* WORLD PLAYING CARD VARIETIES - dazzleguts

*2* The Deck That Broke A Card Factory's Back - Fred Taylor
The story of the fall of the Dondorf Playing Card Company.

*3* A Brief History of Waddingtons Playing Cards & some of the more common Aces - Jock1971
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Re: - ARTICLES -

Unread postby dazzleguts » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:42 pm  

*1* WORLD PLAYING CARD VARIETIES
(in roughly the order they first appeared)


You can see some examples of these cards in the Worldwide Time Machine threads for the respective countries.

Chinese
- The first playing cards were likely made in China following the invention of paper sometime between 140 and 86 B.C. Traditional Chinese cards are generally long, narrow, and belong to 4 different types: Domino cards, Money-Suited cards, Character cards and Chess cards. Historically the different card types appear to have originated in that order - Domino cards first and Chess cards (from Chinese Chess) last.

India
- These are round cards in large decks of 8 or more suits, 12 cards to each suit. There are 2 court cards in each suit, a king (or lord, or rajah, etc.) and a general (second in rank), and pip cards from 1 - 10. Used to play a game called Ganjifa the cards may have been based on the now extinct Persian cards for the anciant game of As-Nas. The name Ganjifa comes from the Persian word ganjifeh (گنجفه), meaning playing card, and is used to refer to cards in India, Nepal, Iran, some Arab countries and Turkey. The traditional Ganjifa cards used in India were, and are, handmade and hand painted, each single card being a work of art.

Latin
- Are still used today in Spain, Italy, South and Central America, the Philipines, some parts of France and North Africa. The Spanish use 4 suits of Copas (Cups/Hearts), Oros (Coins/Diamonds), Bastos (Clubs) and Espadas (Swords/Spades). The one-way courts are all male with Sota (Jack), Caballo (Knight) and Rey (King). The pip cards go from 1 to 9 for a 48 card deck, with sometimes the 8s and 9s being droppped for a popular 40 card game. In most of Italy playing cards use the same suits as Spanish decks and have the courts Re (king), Cavallo (horseman) or Donna (Woman), and Fante (infantry soldier). The Latin card family is based on earlier Arabic (Mamluk) cards which used coins, cups, swords, and polo sticks. The archaic Italian word for "playing cards", naibi or naibbi, and the Spanish equivalent, naipes, still used, both come from the Arabic word na'ib, meaning "delegate" or "deputy", which was one of the four court cards in the old Arabic deck.

French
- France first used imported Italian and Spanish decks. By the 1480s they had started using the new suits diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs, and a queen in the courts. The simple French suits were very easy to print, using the stencil and woodblock technology of the time, and were produced in great quantity, soon spreading to England, and, through the English and French, to North America. This suit family is also now known as the International deck and is used all around the world for many modern decks.

Japanese
- The Portuguese brought Latin playing cards to Japan in the 1500s and the Japanese made their own versions of them in the traditional tile-like form they were already using. Originally painted on sea shells, traditional cards are small and thick like tiles and can only be shuffled by being placed face down and mixed. Oldest is the Game of Poets and most popular is Hanafuda. The gaming company Nintendo was started in 1889 for the purpose of making and selling the popular Hanafuda decks.

Germanic
- At the end of the 1500s, though Spanish suits were sometimes used, the German suits of hearts, acorns, bells and leaves were created and are still in use today. Before that the earliest playing cards were hunting decks - hand painted, and later wood block printed - with varying symbols of the hunt as their 4 suits, ie. deer, falcon, dogs, ducks heron, etc. Germany experimented with more playing card suits than any other nation before, and even after, establishing the official German suits.


*Many nations of the world did not develop their own cards and have adopted either Latin or French playing card designs, sometimes with their own innovations, such as the dragons on the aces of traditional Portuguese Latin based cards.
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Re: - ARTICLES -

Unread postby dazzleguts » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:05 pm  

spacerspacerspacer
This article first appeared in Hobbies magazine in 1960 and was written by Fred Taylor, an ardent collector, scholar and writer on a wide variety of playing card subjects.

You can see the deck in question here, along with a shorter form of the article:
http://www.pjmadsen.com/museum_010.htm

*2* The Deck That Broke A Card Factory's Back

With few exceptions, manufacturers of playing cards have been and are in the business for profit. Few have been collectors, and far too few have been imbued with deep idealism. A notable exception was the famous Dondorf family of Frankfurt-on-Main, Germany.

The Dondorf firm was founded in 1833, and in the 100 years of its existence produced possibly the finest playing cards ever manufactured. Any collector who has Dondorf cards in his or her collection can attest to their beauty and infinite variety.

On the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of the firm in 1933, it was decided to mark the centennial by issuing a special deck to be presented as a souvenir honoring guests attending the ceremonies. These decks were not offered for sale on the German or any other market. The project was so lavish, the printing so complicated, and the costs so exorbitant, the firm never recovered. Instead it was forced into bankruptcy and was acquired by the Altenburger-Stralsunder Playing Card co. of Altenburg, Thuringia, now of Stuttgart, West Germany. Some 16 separate color printings were required for the court-cards, and 12 color printings for the backs of this unusual deck. A total of 28 separate color printings! Surely the pinnacle in the printing of playing cards was reached in this idealistic and ill-fated venture.

The deck is German in character throughout. While no definite personalities are depicted, one can see in the Kings the founders and rulers of old Germania. The Queens are all of noble mien, full of virtue and good works, pious and given to the gentle arts. The Jacks depict knights in various activities. The original backs show a page-boy and a Coat-of-Arms against a background of the Wartburg Castle. This Castle is connected in German history with Saint Elisabeth, Dr. Martin Luther, Walter von der Vogelweide, Wolfram von Escenbach, and Richard Wagner. In the background of each court-card may be seen figures reminiscent of German industry and handi-craft. These include ship-building and agriculture, the arts, religion, and the military.

It is unfortunate on the one hand that the 1933 anniversary of the firm coincided with an almost universal depression. Given normal times, who knows what other marvelous decks might have been issued by this family, dedicated as it was to the printing of beautiful and unusual cards. On the other hand it is reassuring to know that many of the Dondorf designs are still being printed by the present legal successor, the West German firm of Altenburger-Stralsunder, in Stuttgart. The director, Hans Reisig, is an avid collector and an authority on the history and development of playing cards.

One can imagine circumstances under which a playing card firm might become insolvent by printing inferior cards. This must be an almost isolated instance where a firm went into bankruptcy because of an ideal, and because of its refusal, despite the costs, to produce anything but the very best.


*These cards can be found in the Fournier Catalogue: vol 1, pages 194/195, # 258 of Germanic Countries
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Re: - ARTICLES -

Unread postby Jock1971 » Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:31 pm  

*3* A Brief History of Waddingtons Playing Cards & some of the more common Aces

Waddingtons started out as a general printer in the 19th century and began to manufacture Playing Cards in 1922. The first packs were crude efforts printed by Direct Lithography with images transferred by hand onto stone. This changed over to Offset Lithography over the next couple of years. The Ace used in these early packs was quickly withdrawn and replaced by the 2nd design, possibly due to Goodalls complaining about similarities to their Ace at that time.

Please click on images to see details.


Aces 1.jpg

1. The Earliest Ace, Quickly withdrawn. c1922
2. The Second Ace. c1922-28
3. Early Anonymous Ace, used in Advertising Packs. c1923-30
4. Anonymous Ace, used in the more expensive Packs. c1930-60
5. Special design, for the "Beautiful Britain" range. c1924 - 1956



In 1924 Waddingtons began the Beautiful Britain range which lasted until 1956. The range ran for six series with each series having a different back design. The Beautiful Britain range was subsidized by The Great Western Railway Co, and later by The London and North-East Railway.

Different Back designs of The "Beautiful Britain" range:

Beautiful Britain Back Designs.jpg


Around 1926 Reel Printing was introduced and Waddingtons built a new factory to print standard packs with one colour backs. Around this time artists were being contracted to work for Waddingtons, the most notable of which was William Barribal. The Barribal range began in 1928 and were some of the more expensive packs produced by waddingtons, usually with an anonymous Ace of Spades. Good quality cards at this time cost 9d (9 Old Pence) which included a 3d excise wrapper. Cir-Q-Lar Cards were produced in 1929 and became quite popular, especially in America where sales went beyond expectations.

In 1930 Waddingtons, along with a few other playing card companies, became involved in the Wills Gift Scheme. Wills Tobacco Company began placing 1 or 2 miniature cards inside their cigarette packs and once someone collected all 52 cards they could then send them off for a Full-Sized replacement. There are stories about Pubs and Clubs around Britain having large bowls on the tables, where you could place your doubles and look for any cards to complete your collection.


Aces 2.jpg

1. Ormond Printing Company, Dublin.
2. The most common design. c1925-60
3. "All-British Make" removed. c1930-75
4. Makers name removed, used mostly in cheap-grade and Advertising Packs. c1925-80
5. Anonymous Ace. c1963-70


In 1935 Waddingtons obtained The Ormond Printing Company and all card production moved to Eire. In 1940 supplies of card board were cut off after Norway was invaded. Churchill requested that playing card manufacture continue throughout the war at any cost. When De La Rue`s factory in London was hit during the blitz they moved their playing card production into the Waddingtons factory in Leeds.

In 1945 Waddingtons and De La Rue began The Amalgamated Playing Card Co., for the Home market, and The International Playing Card Co., for the Overseas market. This was on a 50/50 basis with each company keeping their own Aces and jokers. The agreement was later re-affirmed in 1963. Also in the early 1960`s Waddingtons bought the French companies La Ducale and Grimauld, and then later sold them to Miro in 1968. De La Rue sold their half of the playing cards business to Waddingtons in 1969.


Aces 3.jpg

1. Based on the De La Rue Ace, Amalgamated Playing Card Co. as legend. c1969-71
2. Waddingtons Playing Card Co. as legend. c1971-74
3. The Welsh Leek added to the design. c1974-95
4. Leeds and London removed. c1995-Present day
5. Used in Easy-To-See, Large Index Packs. c1974-95


Two jokers were introduced into packs around 1953 when the card game Canasta became fashionable. During the 1960`s Waddingtons stopped using their own court design in favor of Goodalls courts, but they kept their own Ace and joker designs. In 1971 the acquisition of Alf Cooke enabled Waddingtons to upgrade their equiptment and achieve a higher quality production.

In 1994 Waddingtons Games Division was sold to the Hasbro Toy Company and very little printing of playing cards was done by Waddingtons after this date, although there was until recently a subsidiary called Special Design Products which handled special orders. The Waddingtons Number 1 brand is still one of Britains best sellers today, but now they are being marketed by Winning Moves who bought the brand from Hasbro.


Sources
    - The World of Playing Cards
    - World Web Playing Card Museum
    - Plainbacks.com
Special Thanks To *Dazzelguts* For Support and invaluable Help with this Article.
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