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6:23pm on Thursday, 3rd February, 2011:

173 Jokers


So, yesterday I took delivery of a package containing 174 playing cards. All but one (a circular King of Diamonds from a Wimpy-branded deck) were jokers. They're from entirely different decks: most decks come with two jokers, but there's only one joker from any one deck in this batch.

I don't know why anyone would collect 174 jokers from different packs of playing cards, but they did. As for why I bought them, well I thought they might be interesting.

[Collective QBlog readership: but, but, does that mean he's going to — ?!]

Yes, it does: I'm going to blog about them, multiple times.

I'll start with the mundane: jokers that all look the same because they're all made by the same manufacturer. Here are the ones I have three or more of in this batch, with their manufacturer's name alongside:

In terms of quantity, there are:

Some of them vary in terms of whether they're colour or black & white, but they're essentially the same designs. There are two De La Rue designs because Waddingtons bought them; the first one is from the subsidiary (Waddingtons De La Rue), the second from the De La Rue brand itself.

Some of the Universal cards are unusual in that they're actually usable. For all the complete decks I have by them, the cards stick together and are hopeless. It seems they weren't always that way...

One of the jokers for the middle unknown-manufacture cards has been hand-modified to be the Ace of Spades. The other 173 jokers have survived without being repurposed, though.

Of these top 10 jokers, my favourite is the classic Waddingtons; it's exactly what a joker should be, with no fuss and nonsense. I have to say, though, I have a sneaking admiration for the Piatnik, and I wish I could track down who made the bottom-right unknown because it promises that the rest of the cards in their decks might be a bit different. The other jokers here I can take or leave, except the Carta Mundi (cards that show cards: no thanks).

Given the preponderance of cards with same-design jokers and the lack of duplicates from the same sets, I think it's fair to say that whoever collected these didn't do so for the joker images; rather, they did it for piece-of-a-pack reasons. Looking at the backs of the cards, there are some very nice ones, but others that are just ordinary.

That's a post for another day, though (which you'll either be pleased with, because it spares you further torture now, or fills you with dread because it means there's more of this to come...).

Referenced by More Jokers.

Referenced by Interesting Backs.

Referenced by Ships and Women.

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).