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1:42pm on Wednesday, 30th May, 2012:



I got some more antique cards today off eBay. They were less than half the price I was expecting to pay for them, I think because they're made up of two sister packs combined into one (24 have a red back and 28 have a blue back). Here are two of the cards (both of which have red backs, as it happens):


I was particularly interested in them because of the way the picture cards have two separate halves instead of halves that bleed together.

Anyway, as you can see from these, they're pretty old. They have no corner indeces, the corners are almost square, they have two-way pips and two-way picture cards: if they were English, I'd put them at around 1875. However, they're German, which I know less about.

The pictures use the "Berlin Pattern". Because the manufacturer thoughtfully wrote their name on the Queen of Clubs, I know that they were manufactured by Ludwig von der Osten of Stralsund. The other two names, Ludwig Heidborn and Theodor Wegener, were other manufacturers of playing cards in Stralsund: the three companies merged in 1872 to form the Vereinigten Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken Aktien-Gesellschaft Stralsund, which Google Translate tells me means the United Stralsund Game Card factory stock company Stralsund. It's known as VSS, anyway (for obvious reasons of brevity). They still wrote their three names on the Queen of Clubs for a few years afterwards.

The Ace of Hearts carries a tax stamp. This is the one used by Imperial Germany from 1879 to 1888, which fits nicely. District 4 is Stralsund.

Given the lack of indeces, I'd guess they were probably going to be earlier rather than later. So, say, 1885?

Not bad for £14.

Referenced by More Old Cards.

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).