Fashionable Decks with a Fragrance


Sometimes Fortuna works in mysterious ways too. A deck may have been on your wish list for a few years and then you find two within a fortnight.
The first Roger & Gallet deck we found during a general collectors fair in Utrecht. It was offered by one of the few playing card sellers there and a few cards were shown in a plastic showcase. They were taken out by the seller and put in the box with the rest of the cards. Because we know this seller we took his word for the completeness and the condition of the rest of the cards and at home we found that his word could be trusted. But what he didn't mention and we didn't notice until opening the box at home, was that this deck didn't only promote fragrances, but had one of its own too.... that of damp old paper. Still, the cards were in excellent condition and we were happy to have finally found this deck.
However, Fortuna showed us another one at a meeting of playing cards collectors the next weekend. Same condition, but with a better looking box and.....without that fragrance. 

The deck was made by B.P. Grimaud & Cie from Paris in 1957 and promotes the perfumes of Roger & Gallet. It was published in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Jean Marie Farina, who had founded the Roger & Gallet company. The deck was designed by M-F Lenoir.

Directly above is the original text of the description. However, when we found a second deck we somehow decided to research this Jean Marie Farina. The French Wikipedia brought the following story..........

Jean-Marie Farina was born in 1685 in Italy and he set up a perfume shop in Cologne, Germany, in 1709. He died there in 1766. His "Eau de Cologne" was in fact a light perfume, which he named in honor in of his new residency and in thank of obtaining citizenship. His perfume rapidly made fame and in the 18th century it was supposed to be an indispensable item at the courts. There were no protective laws, so after the French annexation of Cologne a lot of counterfeit fragrances were sold as "eau de Cologne" and the name became generic for light perfumes in the 19th cent...
Hold it! According to the extra card the deck was published to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Jean Marie Farina and this deck doesn't look as if it dates from 1835!
Well, in 1806 Jean Joseph Farina, a descendant of Jean-Marie, opened a perfume shop in Paris, where he wanted to sell his own "eau de Cologne". He had the family's permission for that. But he also appropriated the name of Jean Marie Farina for himself in order to make better sales. It was tolerated by the family in Cologne. Much later the Farina's from Paris sold their name to Roger & Gallet and this company still produces the fragrance as "eau de Cologne Roger & Gallet Jean Marie Farina".
So.... 1/ the deck doesn't celebrate the actual anniversary of this Jean Joseph (or Jean-Marie) Farina, but the 150th anniversary Jean Marie Farina as the brand name, which was newly created in 1806 in Paris and.... 2/ Jean-Marie Farina didn't found Roger & Gallet. But yes.... 3/ the deck was still designed by M-F Lenoir!

The design of the courts is based on the Parisian pattern, but the center part is embellished with flowers.
Sometimes the courts hold a perfume bottle.

The aces are embellished with flowers too.

Per suit a different fragrance is depicted by the flowers that are used to make this fragrance.

Maker's name is on the Jack of Clubs.

The deck consists of 52 cards, 2 jokers and a title card.

The box mentions Roger & Gallet on one side and "Made in France" on the other. Both short sides: "Jeu de 54 cartes".
A funny bilingual box, or was the deck meant for export to English speaking countries too?



Pascal Pette from Paris has send us these images and thus provided us with additional information about this publication. The deck was part of "A Royal Gift", a special gift box that contained a bottle of Jean-Marie Farina Eau de Cologne, shaped like a Queen or a King.

In the shiny silvery foot of each "statue" a deck of these cards was stored. According to the text in the advertising poster the deck was specially created and published in a strictly limited edition. Although the price of 3.250 francs for a set, Queen or King, was in "old" francs, it was still a bit expensive in the 1950's.

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