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Very old Czech/German cards

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Very old Czech/German cards


As there was recently quite a lot of talk about the techniques used to make old cards, I thought that this might be of interest. Yesterday we found these cards are on display in the Town Museum in Rumburk (Rumberg in the German version - it is right on the border). They are clearly very old. Slightly frustratingly however, no-one seems sure how old. The very charming museum director didn't exactly know. But presumably that's in part because dating cards IS difficult as many patterns went on being used for so long (edited to add - there were no tax stamps or anything of that sort that could help determine a date). If anyone here can suggest a date, I'd be grateful.

One thing that's interesting is the shape - very tall and thin as these older cards tend to be. They are also quite large - you can see a normal modern-sized standard playing card beside them for contrast. These are big files - sorry, they take a while to download, but necessarily so to show the technique.

What else can I say about them? Well, in reality they are more faded than the photo implies. They appear to be on thin card - almost paper. By what we could see close-up they are done with stencils - but of course without putting them under a magnifying glass it's hard to be sure.

Interesting I hope.


http://www.magic-realist.com/rumburk...rot_cards3.jpg

http://www.magic-realist.com/rumburk...rot_cards4.jpg
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Trappola cards, I would guess, not very early, late 18th, 19th century, perhaps.
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It may be Trappola, a Czech game with Italian suits.


I did a search under double-figure decks; Czech card games; Italian suits. This may assist....


1. A playing card review describes Tomas Sovboda, who discovered a game variant of Trappola game in a Czech village Sumice in Romania--scroll down to page 12:

(Link may have become broken: will edit for new link when find it)

http://i-p-c-s.org/pattern/ps-41.html

2. Czech games:

http://www.pagat.com/national/czech.html

3. R.Somerville has scans of a reproduced Trappola card game with Italian suits - by Piatnik. This version has only 36 cards--very beautiful and many double-figured:

http://www.playingcardsales.co.uk/ca...8_trappola.jpg



Hope that helps!

Cerulean
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Oh...Huck posted before I did....


and I believe that he would know--my guesses and links were because I am not certain. Perhaps the links posted will be of assistance in your searches. The Czech historian's information sounds quite interesting.

It is a lovely card deck! I really feel delight when I see older Italian-suited and double-figure designs.

Regards,

Cerulean
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Trappola cards were common in Czechia, see:

http://trionfi.com/0/s/k/ (catalog)
- type "trappola" in search field "name"
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huck
Trappola cards, I would guess, not very early, late 18th, 19th century, perhaps.
Yes, I'd guess late 18th century - but to me that IS very old!

Mind-you, we were recently shown a set of Czech cards in an antique shop and told they were 18th or even 17th century. They were crudely made and very worn. When we got home (having not bought them) I looked them up and discovered that they were 1880 or so. It can be hard to fix the age of cards simply by looking.

These look as though they were made in quite a basic way with stencils - so in technique may not differ much from earlier cards. However, again I'd be very interested to hear any comments on this.

Thanks for the links so far - useful!
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An odd excerpt on Trappola


The History of Playing Cards: with Anecdotes of their use in Conjuring, Fortune-Telling and Card-Sharping

Edited by E. S. Taylor and others
published by Charles E. Tuttle Col, Inc.
copyright 1973, All Rights Reserved
First edition, 1865 by John Camden Hotten, London
First Tuttle edition, 1973.

P. 128

The use of the word Trappola (which is properly the title of a game), by some writers, is also liable to misconception. In the British Museum, there is nearly a complete pack of cards which Breitkopf, in his Enquiry, &c, calls "German Piquet Cards of the fifteenth century with Trappola characters;" by which he apparantly means such as have the Southern marks of suits, in the same manner as our present cards are often distinguished as French Piquet Cards. The complete pack appears to have consisted of fifty-two, each suit containing king, queen, valet or knave, with ten numeral cards. They are generally ascribed to Israel Van Mecken, a native of Bocholt, in the Netherlands; and the substitution of pomegranates in them for that of money, is possibly in compliment to the Spanish dynasty, which assumed the Granada, or pomegranate, as one of its badges, on the conquest of the kingdom and the city of its name by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1497. The pomegranate also appears as a mark of a suit, with roses, leaves, and flowers, on a pack which bears the monogram of Erchardt Schon, who flourished about 1530. Specimens of these are given by Singer in his Researches, from Mr. Ottley's collection, bearing fantastic goups of figures, but they are of inferior execution to the pack of 1511. Leber, also describes German fanciful cards of the earlier half of the 17th century, with the suits of leaves, acorns, pomegrantes and leaves.

The so-called Trappola cards of this period present none of the grotesque imagery which is characteristic of the German style. None are known of earlier date than the sixteenth century and these are colored with the same simplicity as early German cards, the colours being red and green, and laid on by means of pierced patterns or stencils, in a similar manner. Some, from the collection of Mr. Douce, are described by Singer as being composed of three pieces of paper pasted together, that forming the back being wider than the others, so that the edges when brought over the front, formed a border. The reverse bears some device, or is simply tarottee, or diapered.*

*The ace of danari in this pack bears a legend, unfortunately partially illegible, IESI.FECE.....ANTONIO DA..., but which is probably the name of the artist and place of manufacture.

The marks of suits, cups, or rather chalices, of elegant form, batons and swords, grouped or interlaced, and coins, are the same as in the numerical cards of the modern tarots, and probably identiical to a great extent of the original type; but the number of cards follow the French reduction, the principle of which remaining unaltered in the country of its invention, speedily superceded in Italy during this century, not merely the German importations, but even the minatures of Florentine and Venetian art."

I thought this quaint excerpt might be helpful...it's certainly a period taste of language and I hope you can make out some useful bit of Trappola should you ever return to this...I was trying to make sense of my period 1860 Gaudais reproduction and thought of the fruit in the deck might be pomegranates...but my deck isn't as pretty as the samples I've seen in this thread...

Oh, a direct link to the 1820 Prague Trappola..I think it's the same as the one above, just takes me less time to find. The links to the queens don't seem to work for me...

(gambler link does not work; will post when find better link).

Cerulean
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Many thanks for this link. Yes, they are Trappola cards, although of a slightly different style to the ones on gamber-ru. We plan to be in Rumburk again next year (we will have another exhibition there) so next time I will ask more - and also ask if there are other cards in the collection (I think the museum has many more items that aren't on show).
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