Sunday, November 18, 2018

Favorite Jokers

What are you favorite jokers? 
It's such a hard question. Not because I can't think of a favorite but because I can think of so many favorites. Here's a few.

These are favorites since they are classic jokers that I've seen all my life. In fact, in my own mind, I have nicknames for many of them.

For instance, I think of this first three are Sprinkleman, Biker, and Floater. 


In this next set, the top row far right is Truco, sort of Spanish for tricky.  Directly underneath that joker is floater again. I think of the bottom row, middle as Woopsie.


This once starts with Truco and Scatterman again. Bottom row, far left, is a variation on Owl Man (but without the Owl).




Friday, November 16, 2018

Card Collecting: Need Help with Tracking

Question: How to keep track of the information about the origin, details, and history that I learn about
each joker?

Answer - Very much a Work In Progress - I'm playing around with this idea for a sort of Google docs spreadsheet based database.
Where did this come from again?


I'd like an easily updated system which somehow sits on the computer (hopefully in the cloud) and which links to my physical collection. I'd also like to have it available online, perhaps part of this blog or a new system, so that other collectors can help contribute to it and use it

I also want it to help me keep track of duplicate jokers for trading purposes. Right now, the duplicates either get slipped in behind the original in the albums, kept in boxes by category, or left in a big pile for sorting.

Any ideas? I just started looking around by looking for some sort of image matching software and I'm looking right now at Bolide, image matching software.


One second generation collector,  Tom van Berkum, sets a high standard for his information on each joker.   Each joker gets this sort of description:

"Patience 12223" - A.G. Müller, Neuhausen, Switzerland > 1960. 52 cards + 2 jokers + 1 blanco. 61 x 43 mm. GvB0764

Which he explains like this:

When I post a joker or deck I always try to mention the name or brand of the deck. In this case: Patience 12223. Second I mention the manufacturer: A.G. Muller. Then city/Country and year: Neuhausen, Switzerland after 1960. Then: number of cards in the deck: 52 plus two jokers 1 one extra,blanco, card. Then the size of the cards in millimeter: 61x43 mm. The code GvB0764 refers to the initials of my father and the number in his collection. This was deck 764 he obtained. After his passing away in 2008 I decided to keep this system of organising. All the info of the deck he kept in a database. That is my main source of info and he was very accurate 🧐

Here's another example of Tom's incredibly high quality information (from Facebook):



What I don't understand is where to keep this info and in what format (also of course how I'm going to gather it for the 3K plus jokers that I already have assembled):

  • Should I have a big text file on the computer with a description and  picture of each joker?
  • Should I print out a page from this text file for each page in my collection?  (ie keep them in groups of 9)
  • Is there some database system that would be useful for this?
  • Should I take an image archiving system, say Flikr or Google images or shutterfly, and add a description of each joker? It turns out there are image management packages.
  • Maybe the image matching software is the right way to start?
  • Maybe each print out isn't by page it's by section of the joker collection

Joker Organization Today: My jokers in pages, in sections, inside three ring binders.


Card Collecting Albums
The jokers are in clear plastic pages of nine so that viewers can see the front and the back. Each nine tries to be a balanced page related to the pages around it and in a category of between 2 and 25 similar pages. A few categories to a book.

For example, here's a page of jokers sitting on barrels, it's one of eleven pages of jokers sitting. Other sections in sitting including sitting on the crescent moon, seated sideways (like Owlman), and sitting cross-legged (like the Piatnik). The sitting section is one of two in a medium size three ring binder.

Jokers on Barrels


Crescent Moon Joker Backs

Jokers Sitting on Crescent Moons

Seated on Barrel Joker Backs
But this blog is also part of the organization with some fascinating descriptions of jokers but no real way to retrieve or find it. Examples:

1895 or 1927?

A Brooding Court Jester by Jan Matejko

One of the jokers with the most interesting history is this one. The joker is derived from a famous enigmatic painting by Jan Matejko in 1862.



 In the painting there is a distraught brooding court jester who contrasts dramatically with his character and the court ball visible in the background.

 A Brooding Court Jester by Jan Matejko



The painting is about a specific court jester and moment in history. Stańczyk is the jester and the year is 1533 (OK, there's some debate if the jester is mythical or historical and the date seems to be also up for discussion).

On the table lies a letter likely announcing that Poland has lost Smolensk (now in Russia) to the Grand Duchy of Muscovy, causing Stańczyk's sorrow and reflection on his fatherland's fate. The letter seems to have been discarded by some official, and only the jester realizes its significance – while the rulers are partying...(Source: Wikipedia)

This joker seems to come from Poland and there are versions of him in several colors.



And thanks to Ronald Kruijmel of the FB Joker Collectors Club for cluing me in to the origins of this joker.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Collecting: Responsibilities and Record Keeping

As a collector, I have the opportunity to not only assemble lots of different jokers but also, to collect and curate the information about them.  For me, this is a challenge.  I have no way inside my collection to maintain any information about the jokers.

For instance, this week I received a number of jokers that I had bought. This whole group is of Polish jokers:
Jokers from Poland
Polish Jokers
However, once I integrate them in the collection, they will get moved out to different thematic areas and I'll soon forget that they were Polish in origin. The purpose of this post is to wrestle with these issues since I feel important info about these jokers, this meta data (there's another technical term jumping into general vocabulary), is being lost which I should be retaining.

As a second example from this group, here's more info that I have about one of these jokers in which the info is not integrated within the collection. Notice above that there are a series of jokers in various colors which show a brooding sad jester, the green  one is highlighted below.


This figure is taken from a painting of some historical significance:


The painting is  by Jan Matejko, 1862. The distraught brooding court jester contrasts dramatically with his character and the court ball visible in the background. The painting is about a specific court jester and moment in history. Stańczyk is the jester and the year is 1533 (There's some debate about the date and if the jester is mythical). On the table lies a letter likely announcing that Poland has lost Smolensk (now in Russia) to the Grand Duchy of Muscovy, causing Stańczyk's sorrow and reflection on his fatherland's fate. The letter seems to have been read and then discarded by some official, and only the jester realizes its significance – while the rulers are partying...(Source: Wikipedia)

A third set of examples of the problem would have to do with jokers that come from specific decks. I have the decks in some cases but the info about the decks is not transmitted across to my collection.

< add examples>

The collection

I have mostly organized and collected my jokers thematically by categories that I have selected. Alternative schemes would be to focus on:

  • Country of origin
  • Manufacturer
  • Date 
With these alternatives, there would be an emphasis on the info about the deck. I prefer it my way but I'd like to retain this other info inside the collection, not just here on the blog.

The collection sits on a shelf in three ring binders.


Inside each album are a series of plastic pages that hold 9 jokers showing the front and back.

Solutions.

I could add a page of info next to each page with the information about those jokers.  I would use a simple numbering scheme, one through nine with the top row being joker 1, 2, 3, etc and just write an info that I have about them.  For example, for this page:



1 and 3. These among the most beautiful and artistically significant jokers in the collection. It is of a dybbuk and designed by the great artist of 1930s-50s, Arthur Szyk. It pictures a dybbuk which in Jewish or Kabalistic mythology is a malicious possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person. Arthur Szyk was a famous artist in mid 20th Century who escaped the Holocaust by moving to America. Donated to me by Pam Stein in August 2017.

2.
3
4 & 6.
7 & 9. Multiple duplicates. This deck is: Jacob’s Bible cards printed by Piatnik for Israel company (Thanks to Ali Jerremalm in a Facebook discussion about these demon and devil jokers for helping me track it down). The WOPC.co.uk site says: "Jacob’s Bible Cards designed by Ze'ev Raban (1890-1970) in which the court cards and jokers represent personages from the Bible (old testament or history of the Jewish race). The numeral cards are not decorated. Ashmodai was made into the Joker, with the Hebrew inscription letz ( לֵץ ) which means jester."
8. A duplicate. (Repeat all the  Matejko, 1862, painting, history, and Stańczyk from above.