Sunday, June 28, 2020

Crescent Moon Jokers

I have a charming set of jokers with ladies sitting on the crescent moon.  It's inside the sitting section of the collection more specifically, inside the "sitting sideways" section.

Let's start with the Moon Fairy Joker, a venerable piece of American card and joker history. This Moon Fairy joker was the joker on one of the first Congress decks that the USPC published, in 1895 (I'm not sure that this is an original Moon Fairy although it does seem to match the example from Hoffman' Card Encyclopedia on page 87.)


 The World of Playing Cards cites an 1899 Congress Number 606 Deck that looks a lot like this. How do I tell what era mine is from?  Here's the back of myMoon Fairy joker.

Betty Boop has her own  Betty Boop article on this blog.

I call this one Witchie.

This NuVue crescent moon joker was one that I encountered a lot when I started collecting bakc in the 1970s. I think it was because it was the standard joker on most airplane decks (which were free back then) and so I got them often. BTW, if you want a cheap thrill, next time you are on a plane and the attendant is of a certain age and asks you want you want (while she really wants to know if you want water or a coke), tell her you'd like a deck of cards.  It seems to transparent them back to a different era and takes them awhile to recover with "And has it really been 40 years since you've flown?"


 This joker troubles me since the crescent moon is facing opposite all the others.  Does that happen?
More about the joker above. This joker was  featured by Joop Muller as the Joker of the Month, June 2020. Since his research and knowledge is so deep and thorough, I'll quote: 

So here she is, sitting on the moon holding up a drink, surrounded by stars and some light brown nebula's. No, she's not in the best condition. The back shows a goose in flight and advertises Miller High Life, "the champagne of bottle beer". So that's probably in the glass she's holding. Google brought some more information. Apparently this logo is called "Girl on the Moon" and there have been at least 5 versions of her. This version would have been in use in the 1950's. I think it's safe to say that the joker was made in the US, but couldn't put a maker to it. Nevertheless...... cheers!”





Plus there are four more topsy turvy crescent moon jokers. There are two where they have musical instruments and are drinking. (Only one is shown).
 
And there two (only one shown) in which they just have an instrument but nothing to drink.



What to look at next, I suggest the:




Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Joker Nicknames from Dan's Childhood

In the summer of 2018, I had an extended business trip to Chicago. I remembered that there was a joker collector on the Facebook group in Chicago. I contacted him and we met. So far, Dan Nordquist is the only other joker collector that I've met face to face.

Dan Nordquist

Dan is charming, very knowledgeable about the history of jokers especially the early American jokers, and has a wonderful collection particularly of early American jokers.  But what struck me most was his story that he had started collecting jokers as small kid along with all the other kids in the neighborhood. And since they talked about jokers and started seeing the same designs over and over again, they gave them nicknames.  

I asked him if he could remember the nicknames and whether he minded if I shared. Here they are:

He called this joker: Head. 

Comedy Head Joker
Comedy Head Joker

Another anecdote that I found interesting that he shared was about his "little gang of 5th and 6th grade joker collectors" and I quote:

We decided to canvas the entire neighborhood for decks that had interesting jokers.  We told everyone whose doorbell that we rang that we were gathering old and maybe "stale" decks for an old folks home.  We discovered a few new Jokers this way ( such as "Livingston" ) and although we initially were just using the old folks thing as a pretext, we ultimately did give almost everything we found ( lacking a  few Jokers ) to a real old folks' home.  Now we are all "old folks" ourselves!

Candy:
Candy Joker
Hand
Picker
Shovel Player
Jockey
Donkey Clown
Throner
Canadian
Voodoo
Baggie
Mardi Gras
Plaque
S Rider
Pirate


Pinwheel Joker by Western Publishing

And Old Pinwheel.

I like the idea of a bunch of neighborhood kids ringing bells, asking for decks for an "old folks home", and then opening the deck and saying: "Durn, just another Old Pinwheel."  It somehow reminds me of my childhood where I collected cards and coins with my brothers and we would go to local banks to get an entire pound as a bag of either copper, threpences, or sixpences. But that's another story.