The first distinct pattern with these suit signs (Acorns,bells, shields & flowers)seems to have originated in Basle around 1530. The design of the small Basle cards is considered the precursor of the Swiss-German pattern. This is obvious in the numeral cards, especially in the 10`s and deuces: the under of bells was already a jester.But it is equally obvious that the 16th century courts look very different from their modern successors. we do not know when and where these major modifications occured.
One reason for our ignorance is the lack of Swiss pattern cards from the 17th century produced in the country. All of the surviving examples were made in Epinal,Lorraine; their size and designs are already closer to the modern ones. The Epinal Kings are no longer seated on chests, but on royal thrones, and most of the figures show the postures they still have nowadays. The main differences to the modern pattern are to be found in details of clothing and accessories.
Around 1700 cardmaking in the country started back up again. The Epinal type continued to be produced, but a new type of design was used in a pack by Rochus I Schar, Baden, dated 1743. The main characteristics of this "Schar type" are the designations Konig, Ober & Unter (later Under) on the respective court cards. A significant detail is the jester`s three pointed cap. The Epinal jester had a cap without points, the bells being fixed directly to the cap. The Schar type became dominant, but Hurter in Schaffhausen still made both types by 1850; the last example of the Epinal type seems to have been produced around 1926 in Altenburg.
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