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5:34pm on Thursday, 27th July, 2017:



It's "oh gawd, he's got some more playing cards" time again.

This pack is by the German manufacturer Vereinigte Stralsunder Spielkarten Fabrik AG, which for reasons obvious to non-Germans is abbreviated to VSS. The company operated out of the German town of Stralsund between 1872 and 1931, when (having outgrown its premises) it merged with a subsidiary company it owned called Vereiniget Stralsunder Spielkartenfabrik AG Abt. Altenburg vormals Schneider & Co. (VSS had bought it off someone called Schneider; originally, it was called Herzogliche Sächsische Altenburger Concessionierte Spielkartenfabrik. You can't make these names up...). After more mergers and takeovers, the company eventually became Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkartenfabrik, or ASS, which is the leading manufacturer of playing cards in Germany today (although it's owned by Cartamundi of Belgium, as are several other playing card manufacturers in western Europe).

Anyway, my particular pack is VSS's take on the Rhineland pattern. It has a number of differences, for example the King of Spades has the pose normally adopted by the King of Clubs, and it has aces bearing illustrations of German towns and cities, but it's basically Rhineland. I've scanned the queens for you, though, because the Queen of Clubs bears the name of the company and the Queen of Diamonds bears its cross-shaped logo; the only version of the pack to do this is the XXc (ie. twentieth century) edition from 1901. That means I can date this pack fairly accurately.

The cards aren't as pretty as Dondorf's, and the colours are blocky, but they're nevertheless quite nice and I do like the aces (which are monochrome).

Now to figure out where to catalogue it in my cards boxes.

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Copyright © 2017 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).