last update of joker section: 01/5/2024
number of jokers on xpo here: 1875




The most accepted explanation for the name and the role of the JOKER is that it originates from the game of EUCHRE. In this game two of the jacks were named Right and Left Bower. In the USA the "Best Bower" was introduced for the first time in a deck by Samuel Hart & Co from 1863, the "Imperial bower" used as "highest trump card". Pictured on the right here.
Bower is a corruption of the German word "Bauer" (farmer).

Originally the game of EUCHRE or JUKER was played in the Alsace, where it was the common name for "Jack". The best bower card evolved into Joker from the American version of euchre during the 1870's and arrived in Europe along with the game of poker in the 1880's. It was gradually incorporated into the French-suited packs with 52 cards.

by Samuel Hart & Co. New York ca 1900.

Here are two rare advertising best bowers. The first is advertising General Electric refrigerators and the second is from a souvenir deck by the Illinois Traction System, a railroad company. Both are from the early 1900's.


Ca. 1900 the joker was also used in fortunetelling decks, although not always by that name. 


The horseshoe joker was issued with the Ye Witches fortunetelling deck from 1896 and the Lifecard comes as joker in the Nile Fortunetelling deck  from ca. 1910. The roodles "joker" was issued with the Game of Roodles from 1912 and the joker comes from the Revelation Fortunetelling deck from 1919.


In France and Belgium a game with a special joker became popular in the early 20th century. The game is much older though and called "NAINE JAUNE" (yellow dwarf). Here are 5 from different makers. The first is a rare one by Hemeleers van Hoeter (Brussel, c1860), the second one is by Daveluy (Bruges, c1875), the third one is by Grimaud (Paris, c1920), the fourth one is by Brepols & Dierckx Zoon (Turnhout, c1905) and the last one is by Leonard Biermans (Turnhout, Belgium c1900).



Each 1st of the month there will be a new joker, that has -for whatever reason- been chosen by me as "joker of the month" from the number of jokers that Miriam and I have acquired during the years of collecting. They may have been found as a single joker or have come with a deck that we had added to our collection.

(# 241)

previous years
2004 2018
2005 2019
2006 2020
2007 2021
2008 2022
2009 2023
for more info about this joker


for 79 JOKER XPO'S Each xpo shows 9 jokers or more.

  - LINKS - 


  "Paddy's Jokers" by Patrice Blin (FRANCE)

  "The Joker Collection" by Ronnie Heyvaert (FRANCE)

  "Meine Jokersammlung" by Werner (GERMANY)

  "Emile's Joker Site" by Emile Kiderlen (NETHERLANDS)

   "Joker Kabinet" by Frans van Gessel (NETHERLANDS)

    "Romek's Jokers" by Remigiusz Rudkowski (POLAND)

    "Alexander's Jokers" by Alexander Wodinski (POLAND)

  "Dotpattern" by Alec Heehs (USA)

  "Amused by jokers am I" by John Edelson (USA)

  Your link can be added: mail to




To add some "interactivity" we invite other collectors to send us one of their favorite jokers for this category: the WORLD Xpo. Contact us by e-mail, attach a .jpg file with

your favourite joker

and maybe soon you will find your name mentioned among other "proud owners of...".

  Latest entry: February 2024 - a great joker from Allen Potter

See which 99 jokers 51 other collectors have contributed........  WORLD JOKERS