Tuesday, December 24, 2019

My Joker Taxonomy

How should a collection of jokers be organized? I tried alphabetical but they all start with J... I spoke to other card collectors who have encyclopedic knowledge, they organize their cards first by country, then by the manufacturer, then by date.  I think their systems are marvelous but they couldn't possibly work for me since I can't remember nearly enough to work that way. I needed an organizational system where I could look at a joker and without any memorization, know where it belongs. Here is my system.

Ten sections: animals, art, Christmas, entertainment cartoons, real people,  jesters, musical, travel, ads, and topsy turvy. Most sections has subsections. Some subsections have sub-subsections. When a joker could be put in two or more places (ie a topsy joker with Mickey Mouse), I have rules for which rules takes precedence (these rules are listed at the bottom of this article).

1-1-2021 Update: today the  count is 7,456 😏 (Click for previous counts). The collection keeps growing and evolving. All of the sections are now on the website but they are not current. I update my collection weekly and my website less often. 

While my collection is by theme, I’ve looked at jokers some other ways. I’ve some materials on early American jokers organized by publisher: examples: Dougherty , ARRCO, or Standard Jokers  Other views : how I frame jokers to put on the wall, whether I have all the jokers from the Joker Poster, and what resources I find useful. I’ve started an extras for trading section. Also, I've described how I handle the old decks (100 years plus) that I've collected.  I enjoy comments: don’t be shy. 
  1. Animal Jokers - Ensemble Animal combinations (cats AND dogs)
  2. Animals: Flyers - Bee Boy
    Animals: Flyers - Bee Boy
    1. Cats  or  Dogs . Now there's a big cat subsection! 
    2. Flyers:  Birds, OwlsBees,  Butterflies  & Dragons 
    3. Horses , zebras, donkeys, giraffes ...
      1. Fantasy horses: centaurs, unicorns, pegasus
    4. Monkeys, bears, and others with paws 
    5. Animals with antlers, horns, and tusks
    6. Reptiles, amphibians, sea creatures  
  3. Art and Artsy Jokers
    1.  Art: Traditional art  (ie, there was a canvas or drawing to start with). Digital art
    2. flowers, fruit, mermaids
    3. Card-themed Jokers (YES, this is intentional) 
    4. Mystical, deathly, and devils. Pirates too. There's a new subsection: Skulls!
    5. Masks. Three subsections:   My Masked and Theatrical Jokers.  Archaeological masks,  Topsy Turvy Masks
    6. Bicycle - Unicycle
      Bicycle - Unicycle
      Statues and Sculptures 
  4. Entertainment Jokers: Animated
    1. Cartoons: Classic, NeoClassic, Modern/ Diverse / Foreign
    2. SuperHeros  , Cartoon Heroes
    3. Harry Potter Entertainment: 
    4. Speciality: Peanuts, Betty Boop, Alice In Wonderland  
    5. Anime Japanese Jokers
  5. Real People
    1.  Politicians: American European and Rest of World.   American historical figures etc are in the travel section.
    2. Star Wars, Star Trek
    3. Movie Stars
    4. Musicians. There's an Elvis section.
    5. Comedians -TV Personalities Commentators
    6. Historical and contemporary American. (There's also an Americana symbols section)
    7. International:   People of ColorOld Europeans with names,  Old European stereotypes
    8. Plain people jokers (not celebrities)
    9. Pin Up Girlie Glamour Jokers (ie erotica and porn) is split into bikini girls (the essentials covered), illustrations (soon to be split with a a new girls with wands subsection per Fred de Soet)  old fashioned,  Asian, and harder core.
    10. Sports Jokers: Golf, Baseball, Football (American), 
  6. Jester Jokers (not real people or celebrities)
    1.  Dancing Jokers  are split into 
      1. Dancing jokers with Wands who dance in one of three directions: 
        1.  To the Right
        2.  Straight ahead 
        3.  To the Left
    2.  Performers with cards or without cards 
    3. Juggling things 
      Juggling Jesters
    4. Scatterman - The Cartamundi jester
    5. Sitting Jokers. It depends on how they are sitting...
      1. SidewaysCrescent moons, Bird/Owl Man, Sideways
      2. Forward: Sitting Facing Forward or Cross Legged
    6. JestersStanding jesters with WandsWalking Jesters with WandsNO WAND (standing still or walking)
    7. Head shots or busts 
      1. Jesters on a Stick or Jack in the Boxes 
      2. Heads Only  
        1.   Heads of Jesters but no hands   
        2. Heads, not of Jesters, but no hands 
        3. Hats  
      3. Heads WITH Hands  ...  
        1.  NOT holding Cards or Wands 
        2. Holding Cards   
        3. Holding Wands
    8. Fighters! ie Jokers with swords, etc
    9. Clown Jokers  
    10. Jokers, not jesters, standing (or walking) 
  7. Musical Jokers - Note this excludes real musicians which are in the real people section.
    1. Stringed Instruments 
    2. Wind Instruments sans flutes  (the flute players recently split into their own section)
    3. Percussion including piano.
    4. Musical Ensembles (to keep joker sets together)
  8. Travel Jokers (outdated post from 2017)
    1. Vehicles. This section is now split into: 
      1. Vehicles: SeaFlying (translations too), Trains, Cars & Motorcycles 
      2. Bicycle Jokers, Skater JokersUnicycle Jokers  

    2. American places and Americana,  Congress Jokers 
      1. American Scenery Jokers
      2.  American people
      3. Cowboys
      4. Native Americans
      5. People of Color
    3. Non US Places
    4. Maps
    5. Old Europeans with names, Old European stereotypes
    6. Chinese Jokers - Acquired Collection, Collected
  9. Ads: 
    1. Casinos 
    2. Cigarettes,  Liquor, Beer, Text jokers for drinks 
    3. Desserts and Candy 
    4. Coca Cola Jokers      
    5. Cars 
    6. Public Interest Messages, space science and technology
    7. Logo type jokersGeometric Designs Jokers featuring "Joker" 
    8. Ads         Text based jokers
    9. Jokers promoting playing cards , Ads for brands of playing cards
  10. Topsy Turvy - Two headed jokers take precedence over other criteria for organi
    zing so this section is large and has subsections that mirror the overall organization:
    1. Animals
    2. Card Themed  
    3. Musician  
    4. Ladies & Masks  
    5. Jesters and clowns  
    6. People  
    7. Things  
  11. Christmas Jokers with angels and cherubs. The Christmas section
    1. Santa Claus Christmas Winter  (needs updating)
    2. Coca Cola Santa Claus (needs updating)
    3. Cherubs and Angels 
  12. Large, small, and weird-shaped jokers 
      Thoughts? Comments? Here's one: I start by saying that I have ten groupings but my list goes to 11. There are two sections that I'd like to revisit and perhaps fold in: Christmas and Odd Shaped.
       
      Rules: Let me clarify my rules for organizing (I'm still getting this codified):
      1. Two headed is a dominant rule. If it's an animal or a travel or cartoon but it's two headed, it goes in the two headed or topsy section.  This means the topsy section is huge and has subsections that start to reflect the overall collection. That's fine.
      2. Cartoon animals whose name we know go in the cartoon section. This is to make sure that Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, and Garfield are recognized as the characters that they are, not as just rodents, dogs, and cats.
      3. Americana and real known people are dominant categories So the Statue of Liberty goes to Americana, not to statues.  A picture of George Washington from the waist up goes in Americans, not in busts and heads.  A picture of an actor's head goes in people / actors, not heads.
      4. Having just the head or just from the waist up is another dominant characteristic. So clown heads goes in heads, not in clowns.
      5. Clowns is dominant over heads and busts but not dominant over unicycling. 
      6. Jesters are first characterized but what they are doing, then by what they have. This means that the first distinction is between standing, dancing, performing, or sitting. Then, whether or not they have jester wands or are performing with cards. 
      7. Jokers from the same deck are never split up. This means that if they pictures should be in different categories, then one is going to ride along because nepotism trumps visual consistency.  
      8. Rules about pages.  I explain my efforts to organize the pages in my article about jokers with statues and sculptures. The keep pairs together makes some pages look fine.
      9. Troubling areas: 
        1.  

          The Little Mermaid. What to do with the statue of the little mermaid. It wants to be a statue, it could go with the mermaids, and it  obviously fits in the travel section. It's in the mermaid section. Why? What's the rule?
        2. Travel. There are so many scenery and tourist sites. Organize by geography? Rural vs urban vs water vs church? Why and how?

      Strengths and Weaknesses of my system.

      It basically works for me despite my weak memory. My goal is to know at a glance where to look for a joker. And at the start of that section, to have a simple guide to the subsections within that section. So for instance, I can remember that "sitting" is a category but when I get to the sitting section (both online and in the albums), there's info there to guide me thru the subsections (which I tend to forget). For example, take a look at sitting:

        1. SidewaysCrescent moonsBird/Owl ManSideways
        2. Forward: Sitting Facing Forward or Cross Legged
       But, while others have found my system interesting, I have yet to hear of another collector who has adopted my system so maybe it's too arbitrary, confusing, or personal to be useful to others.
       
      Are you interested in using my organizational system? Please do. It is available for free use with attribution.  Specifically, consider it to be available under a Creative Commons CC BY license.This license lets others distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials. No registration or permissions required. But please do remember to attribute. And I'd appreciate knowing about it.

       There are problems in the system so I keep making refinements. Current issues include:
       
      - Christmas jokers as a top level category:  It's just too small even when split into Santa Claus, Winter, and Cherubs/Angels. Maybe it should become a cartoon subsection?
      - The art category is stretched a little too much. It includes masks, deathly spirits, and mermaids. That is definitely my quirkiness since it makes perfect sense to me but is maybe not "industry standard".  And should mermaids be in the animal section? Perhaps closer to dragons (in birds/flyers / animals) and fantasy horses (centaurs, flying horses, and unicorns) which is the equestrian / animals section.
      - The distinctions can be a little confusing between jesters standing, walking, dancing, performing, or juggling. 
      - Clowns as a subset of jesters, this bothers me.
      -
      All my rules of dominance were unrecorded, until I started writing them 4-27-2021. It will take awhile to make explicit all the rules. Will I ever be able to eliminate all the conflicting or contradictory or ambiguous situations?
      - Performers with cards versus jokers about cards. I have one category of jokers about cards which I really love. But I can't really explain the rule about when a joker goes into jokers about cards versus when it goes into the performers with cards section.
      - My cartoon section is now enormous. Plus, I'm not that familiar with many modern cartoons so I could use help getting them sorted.
      -
      The logic of the categories and subcategories are still a little unrelated to the physical albums. I could color code my albums by section but right now, the categories sometimes stretch across many albums, sometimes fit into one. If you are curious about what my collection physically looks like, the most recent pictures are here where I discuss the joker hobby.
      - New Subsections are always trying to emerge from jokers grouped together on a page or across several pages. For instance, inside the cat jokers section, there's now a Big Cat section beginning to appear and which soon could get its own proper subsection.
      - Duplicates. I'm not set up for trading. I'm trying to fix this. Right now, my extras or dupes just go into the same sleeve in the album. When there are too many, I start a box of duplicates. Here's my current effort to get organized for trading.
      - Keeping information on this website current with the albums is a problem. I’ve no real system for recording info about my jokers despite several efforts. Someday graphic search databases will get so good that computers and AI can be applied. I just learned that my iPhone images, I can now type in “car” and get my car pictures...

      Laherte Guerra just proposed a different organizing concept with Ethnic/folklore, cartoon characters, and mythology.  It’s a solid concept that I’ll think about.

      Here’s an article from March 2017 which is when I first articulated an overall system for categorizing joker cards.

      Enjoy
      some extras for trading

      9 comments:

      1. Just heard about a site that has value info for, among many other items, certain decks of cards!
        https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/1983-barok-cards-van-genechten-463641247

        ReplyDelete
      2. Who is willing to exchange with me ? - my current JOKERS to exchange
        http://restaurant.web-album.org/album/52561,jokers-playing-cards-to-exchange

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      6. Hello John
        Attractive collection, look forward to build mine.

        ReplyDelete
      7. Hi there, lovely collection you've got. I'm seriously trying to find a specific joker, and I'm hoping to find some help here. I've looked through my decks and on the internet and have been unable to find it. It's a card which has what I believe is a jester, on his hand (balancing or doing a one handed cartwheel?). I've seen in in various red, yellow, and black color combos. And from here, I can only guess my memory, I think he may be tossing something, such as cards or the suits over his feet at the top end of the card. If you can find a picture or title to reference, I'd really appreciate it. I didn't expect it to be so difficult to find, I've been searching for hours.

        ReplyDelete
      8. I have. Inherited a huge amount of playing cards...very very old ones..I have like six big cardboard boxes full of decks...but ...I have no interest in collecting cards...can anybody point me in the right direction for selling as a lot please ..I'm not very computer savvy...any help would be much appreciated

        ReplyDelete
      9. Hello anonymous. Here’s two places to look for your inverted joker who might be juggling with his feet (are you sure you didn’t dream it?). Either performers https://www.amusedbyjokersami.com/2020/11/performing-jesters-and-jokers-but-with.html or jugglers https://www.amusedbyjokersami.com/2017/02/juggling-jokers.html

        ReplyDelete

      Thanks for your input.