October 2008


There were a few flea markets, a collectors fair and a meeting of the Dutch playing card collectors this month, so it's not a surprise that we gathered a good number of new decks this month. Even on one of the last days friends brought us a deck from their vacation in South-Africa, which was a serious challenger. But this time the (international) meeting of the Dutch playing card collectors in Nieuwerbrug brought us our new "Deck of the Month".

It was on offer by a Belgian collector and although we knew that we had this pattern in our collection, there was something unusual about the deck and as the price was very reasonable it was quickly decided to take it along. Of course it wasn't the only deck that we acquired during the meeting, but when we got home it was the first one to be checked. And our gut feeling turned out to be right........ it was an unusual variation. At least for us.

We already have 2 versions of this deck in our collection. Both were made by B.P. Grimaud and consist of 52 cards and a joker.  The pattern is known here as "cartes hollandaises". Both have a French tax stamp and were probably made in the 1920's.
The first (here on the right) was published as "Luxe Bridge Poker" and the cards measure 85x56 mm. The second is a patience deck, that was published as "Nr 536", measuring 44x31mm. The patience deck only has 2 indices.


Our deck of the month was also made by B.P. Grimaud. The pattern is the same and this deck was also printed in chromolithography. But besides the fact that the colours used on the courts are softer, there are a few other differences too. The first one you cannot see: the cards are somewhat larger and measure 91x62 mm.

The obvious difference is that the indices are not French, but German. Also the names of Grimaud and their location Paris are not mentioned along the sides of the courts anymore. The maker's name is now on the back of each card (see below).

The deck was published as "Whist poker No. 154" and consists of 52 cards only. The cards have gold corners.

Another remarkable feature is the "X" on the 10's. That's highly unusual in a French deck. There are a few German manufacturers (C.L. Wüst for instance) who have used this feature and in some German patterns it is used too. But these are regional patterns and there's no association there with this pattern. However, the Swiss pattern also uses this feature and the Swiss manufacturer Müller has often used it in combination with other (fantasy) patterns too. We have to be careful, but this feature -in combination with the German indices- could suggest that the deck was made by Grimaud for export to Switzerland.

But then again there's the French text on the wrapper....... can anyone help us out?