The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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3:11pm on Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015:
I saw a "buy it now" lot of 5 sets of playing cards on eBay a couple of weeks ago at £20. As two of the packs are individually worth £30 and I liked them anyway, I went for it.
They're pretty good! This one is Dondorf L'Hombre set number 109. It's in its original box, complete at 40 cards (no 8s, 9s or 10s — it's for playing the classic card game L'Hombre, which uses a 40-card Spanish deck):
Dondorf is my favourite playing card manufacturer, just for the sheet beauty of their designs. They were in operation from 1833 to 1933, but started liquidating their assets in 1928. One of the other packs in the group I bought bears the Dondorf name, but it dates 1937-1943 and is noticeably less luxurious:
You can see how the pattern (known as the Rhineland pattern) has changed over time, losing some of its personality. This is from a Tappkarte set number 115, also in its original box, complete at 35 cards (no 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s or 6s — it's for playing Skat, a later derivation of L'Hombre).
One of the other decks in my group of 5 also uses the Rhineland pattern (which was a Dondorf invention), but I can't find any indication of its manufacturer as it isn't in its box. It's not a classic-era Dondorf deck, though, because as with the Tappkarte 115 it doesn't have the Dondorf name on the Jack of Clubs:
This is a 52-card bridge deck, which I shall have to investigate further (if I can bear to touch it — the cards are rather grubby...).
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