Thursday, January 18, 2018

Congress Jokers

First, a mystery. Is this "Congress Joker" part of the USPCC Congress brand and if so, why is he not mentioned in Hochman?

Mystery solved: Thanks to Tom VB. “It's a Canadian version  of Congress deck #606 printed by The U.S. Playing Card Co., Windsor, Ontario, ca. 1930. Hochman CDN25, Congress #606, page 174.”

Is this next joker the oldest of my Congress jokers, perhaps from 1895! Is it from a Congress No.606 deck  by U.S.P.C.C, 1908. (sources an article by Simon Wintle from June 2010 on The World of Playing Cards. Hochman P87). Some distinguishing features:
-    This image of the Capitol with the roads approaching it
-    It is a wide card
-    I also have a blue version of this with small lettering: CU 451
-    The US branding indicates it is post the renaming in 1891. The earlier Russell Capital cards had a different image of the Capitol on it.

Pink Congress Joker
Pink Congress Joker - Perhaps from 1895

Congress Playing Cards were first produced by the Russell & Morgan Company in 1881. They were one of the four original brands produced by Russell & Morgan. The others were Tiger (101), Sportsman (202), Army and Navy (303 and 505),  and Congress (404 and 606).  In 1891, the company changed its name to the US Playing Card Company. (Source: Wikipedia Article on USPCC  Jan 18, 2018). The original joker from the Congress brand decks featured a Moon Fairy.

This joker could date from 1899, it's also described on the WOPC Congress article. I don't keep it with my Congress Jokers (since they are themed as Americana and feature American monuments), it is instead grouped with the other characters sitting on crescent moons.  (source an article by Simon Wintle from June 2010 on The World of Playing Cards)

Original Congress Brand Jokers

 Around 1900, Congress switched to putting a picture of the US Capitol on their jokers.  The World of Playing Cards website. has some historical info on these decks.

Here's the 35 different (11/2020 (updated from 27 different  8/2020) Congress Jokers in my collection.

In this first set, notice the different road structures into the Capitol Building. The middle row on the right has the roads approaching it. Also, quite a different picture of the building.

While these might be too small to tell, the view and details on the building change as does the text on the word "Congress", the design around it, and the corner indices.

Want an idea of what jokers to look at next?  Here's a summary of the travel subsections of the joker collection: now all online and counted!
The total is 354 travel jokers (June 2020).

Monday, January 15, 2018

Masks Jokers

October 2018 - This article went up in January 2018 and while i usually just update the old articles, this time I'm obscoleting this one and sending people to the newly updated post with a video about masks and theatric jokers.

The following jokers are all theatrical, mostly masks. Do you have any theatrical or masked jokers?

Joker Masks
Joker Masks

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ads for Cigarettes, Liquor, Desserts

This article is an old one about advertising. There are updated articles which segment this into: Casinos CigarettesLiquor and Drink,  Desserts, and  Coca Cola Jokers   34  

The next set of advertising jokers are for cigarettes and liquor with a few desserts thrown in at the end. But it starts with an advertisement for a fancy perfume. At least, I assume it's fancy.

This joker is holding a hand of cards and a beer. The deck was made by LĂ©onard Biermans from Turnhout, Belgium, c1970. The ace of spades is particularly lovely with the sun shining its light over the earth, the joker-character holding the earth on his back like Atlas holding the world, the spade itself seems to be a sort of amniotic sac protecting a plant, the dog in the jesters hat, and the little person looking out at us. The joker character, not as elegant in my view, has the same character from the ace of spades (where's he's holding the world) but now, he has four aces in one hand and a beer in the other. 

Here are the jokers with advertisements on them:  

  1. Casinos 
  2. CigarettesDrink,  Desserts and Candy  
  3. Coca Cola Jokers        
  4. Cars  
  5. Public Interest Messages
  6. Logo type jokersGeometric Designs  
  7. Ads   63      Text based jokers 150
  8. Jokers promoting playing cards

Want to see jokers that advertise for casinos?

Or how about jokers that have pictures of girlie pinups and such things?

Advertisements for the Casinos

The Las Vegas casinos all publish their own cards with their own jokers. I would have thought how important cards are to their business that they would have invested a little more in the designs.  The Luxor is one of my favorites from the casinos.

Luxor Casino Joker
Luxor Casino Joker

The Harolds Club joker at least has some color and an interesting theme.

These jokers are pretty nice, I particularly like the one with the monkey. And the girls.

Yikes, what's going on with my scanner in this next picture?  It's shmeered. I imagine I picked it up before it was finished scanning. Remind me to do it again if I forget.

The jokers below are duplicates. Want to trade?  Just put your contact info in a comment and then I'll get back to you (I won't let your comment be seen publicly so your email won't be published). For references, there's a top row and numbers 1, 2, and 3 in each row, except the top row which only has 1 and 2. Got it?

NOTE - In row 2, both joker 2 and 3 have holes in them punched by the casino.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Elvis Jokers

How many Elvis Presley jokers do I have in my collection? (I only had 13 of the King.when this article first went up but many more today, 5/21).

The Elvis jokers are in the Real People section in the entertainer subsection.  Here they are.

Elvis Collection: Jokers
Elvis Collection: Jokers

And here is what the Elvis jokers look like in the collection. They are in the  Real People jokers section, in the Entertainers subsection (versus the Politicians or Normal People subsections).

And here are their backsides.

This last shot is of what my dining room table looks like when I'm sorting my jokers.
Joker Collecting
Joker Collecting

Are there are more jokers with Elvis than with anyone else? Is he King of the Jokers?
There are also a lot of jokers of Snoopy and the other Peanut characters. Also, there's a bunch of Batman jokers but of course, neither of them are real people like Elvis.