Friday, October 30, 2020

Unicycle Jokers

The unicycle section!  Also, some skaters.  (There's a separate bicycle joker and a skater joker section). The first unicyclist is particularly tricky.

The next joker vintage jokers is the Roman Goddess Fortuna. She is the goddess of luck who probably originated as the goddess who controlled the harvest and hence prosperity or ruin. She is often shown blindfolded to emphasize that she seemed to bestow good or bad luck irrespective of other attributes. The wheel on which she is riding is often portrayed as the wheel or fortune and in her hands, is the a rudder which she steers with (not a sickle). As the goddess determining ill or great luck, she is a natural fit with cards. It's unclear to me where this image came from: Was it created for the cards or is it a recreation of an older image.
The card could be from the Russell “Fortuna” deck made by Columbia Playing Cards Company c1905, RU36, P135 Hochman. Or, as Steve Bacon said on a listing to sell a deck with this joker, it could a a “Bridgit 227” deck made by Russell (which does not seem to be listed in Hochman).

This jester's unicycle is tiny but the tweetie bird on this finger is bigger than his head. And the bells on his hat are larger than the bird's head.

Now, some clowns on unicycles...

And a clown on a sort of unicycle. Actually, it looks like a ball. But I thought he belonged here with the others.

Here are the ensemble shots, update May 2023.


What jokers should you look at next?  Bicycle jokers? 

Historical jokers from Dougherty from the 1800s and early 1900

Monday, October 26, 2020

Mermaid Jokers

 Mermaids intrigue me. Do they exist and do they lure lonely sailors to a watery but ecstatic death like in the Odyssey?  Do they fall in love with humans like Ariel and the mermaid in the Splash film? The ones in Harry Potter were a particularly mean strain of merpeople.

 I have seventeen fish-tailed lovelies in the art section and another five in other parts of the collection. 

I’ll start with a particularly lovely joker and mermaid who just this week (11/20) joined us from eBay.

This next one hadn’t even arrived yet but I’ve paid for it on eBay:

This next one is definitely my favorite. Very 50s fantasy, reminds me of the old film South Pacific.
A two tailed joker? Must be time for a Starbucks coffee.
Very colorful and a full robust tail on this lovely. A full head of hair too.

Here are the mermaids that I've collected in one space.

 There is one mermaid that appear to have human legs. hmmmm

Here is the Little Mermaid sculpture from the port of Amsterdam, created in honor of Hans Christian Anderson. She is in the mermaid section although, as a statue, I could have put her in the statue section (subsection of the Arsty section).

ARe there mermaids in other sections of the collection?  Yes, there are. There are this pair of mer-people in  the juggling section! Aren't they magnificent?

And in the cartoon section, there is the Sea Witch. Ursula!

Here's  more mermaid jokers which could also have been in the musical category, wind section.  They are jokers by Nintendo. Note the Nintendo brand the restaurant promotion both below the creature and  on the banner.  Some are more fully customized than others.

And here’s a lot more Nintendo mermaid advertising jokers.

What type of jokers do you want to see next? 
- Musical String Section
- Jokers: The Wind Section
Musical Trios Ensemble Groups of Jokers
- Percussion Musical Jokers
Famous Musicians
Star Wars Jokers
Juggling Jokers

Monkey and bear jokers

Friday, October 16, 2020

Musical Trios - Joker Band Ensembles

Since so many jokers feature music, I've split the musical jokers just like an orchestra into a wind section, a string section, and a percussion section . Today, to keep the jokers from a deck together (and not split across sections),  I've create a new group: the ensembles (initially just trios but a few larger groups emerged, maybe some duets might appear too).  

Here are mostly ensemble trios where a deck of card publishes three jokers each of which is playing a different instrument.

There are six trios that make up this ensemble section

I’m confused about these jokers below. While I have the bottom row of these as a set in the ensemble section, I'm now thinking that it's more complicated than that since they seem related to the two guitar jokers that I have in the Musical String section.  These five musical jokers appear related. Are they from decks with four jokers or do they get mixed and matched? Who is the publisher? I have several sets of the bottom 3 with the identical back. I have one from the top left (guitar, dark shoes) with a back that matches the one playing the bells. I have a few from top right with very similar backs to many in bottom row. Any help with these mysteries?

Want to see more jokers related mostly to music?  How about:
Musical String Section
- Jokers: The Wind Section
Musical  Ensemblers of Jokers (this section)
- Percussion Musical Jokers
Famous Contemporary Musicians
- Topsy Jokers: Music Subsection (In my system, a two headed musical joker, see the example below, would go into the Topsy section where there is a musical subsection which in turns subsections into winds, strings etc). 
- Old Europeans on Jokers, Musician subsection (This is for Beethoven and his crowd, see example below)
Topsy Section, Musical Subsection
Mix of Strings, Percussion, and Wind

Old Europeans Section, Composers (and other artists)

The Orchestra Wind Section - Musical Jokers

 The article is slightly outdated as I’ve now split the flute joker section  from the rest of the wind section. I might soon split out the brass or horn section. 

****.    ****

The wind section musical jokers start with a faun, a Medievil, and a youthful flutist.

Here's the ensemble of the wind section of the musical jokers. It starts with the flutists.

Now to the horn and bagpipe section.

Old trumpets provide the fanfare for the announcement of all these other jokers.
On the page above, there are three horn blowers whose lower limbs are fishy and so they are not fully human. These mermaids or merpeople are a Nintendo joker design often customized slightly for custom printed decks. The colored joker in the bottom left has the Nintendo N on the banner and a standard Nintendo copyright notice below. The joker in the bottom right also has the N banner and the text says “World Famous Garden Restaurant CHINZAN-SO Tokyo Japan”.  The black and white joker in the middle row on the left is for Japan Airlines and the banner has the Japan Airlines logo, not the Nintendo N.

I’d suggest Joop /Miriam’s DX Expo webpage for a very fine listing of these Nintendo Mermaid jokers. Also, this website now has an article on mermaid jokers

Want to see more jokers?  How about:
- Musical String Section
- Jokers: The Wind Section
- Musical Trios Ensemble Groups of Jokers
Percussion Musical Jokers
- Famous Musicians
- Star Wars Jokers
- Juggling Jokers
- Monkey and bear jokers

article on mermaid jokers. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Framed Jokers on the Wall

This display of jokers is I think it is one of my best. They make a colorful ensemble, none are overwhelmed, overwhelming, or clash.  Note how the two on the top right are oriented back towards the picture's middle. And how the BeeBoy in the top left is marching back towards the middle. 

This display was made for my nephew Will whose reflection you can barely see in the glass.

This next framed set of jokers is for my nephew Jay. Also excellent, it has the darkest background and a very classy set of jokers.

Here's the framed jokers in my office. I put this set together maybe in the late 1980s (yes, I've been doing this for a long time now)!

This framed set of jokers in my company office ( It is bolted to the wall. I've spent a lot of time staring at this selection and I feel that I made some mistakes. I wish I had not put in the seagull, horse, or the seal joker. I put them in for diversity but I think they wreck the aesthetics. I also regret the modern Congress joker and the juggler in the middle row.  The peacock joker in the bottom right is among my most lovely jokers and is extremely rare and valuable (ie ~$45).

The framed set of 23 jokers shown below is my most recent (11/2020) and is my only vertically oriented one. I think it demonstrates a new level of sophistication and maturity in the selection and balancing of the ensemble.  My photography is still weak and if you look hard, you can see my reflection in the glass.  I'm going to try to get info on each of the jokers in this picture and create a post about it (it’s now done! Checkout my article called Who are these jokers to learn about those in the frame). These jokers hang in the condo in my living room.

This was the original set of framed jokers, made in the 1970s. I think I hung it in my offices and homes in the 80s and since then. The jokers are a little faded. I should have used museum glass that protects art from fading. But I created it in high school using an old frame that I found around some art that was being thrown away.

These are Jill's jokers which are hard to photograph without a reflection.

This is one of my best efforts, this framed set of jokers are at Lester and Michael's condo.

The jokers below is a hand-painted one of a kind joker. Florencia made this, she starts with a card from a deck of cards, scrapes off the image, and then paints on it.  She'll do this as a commission. 

BTW, the lady below looks a lot like my wife.  

My children have received some framed joker selections for their walls. 

Many readers seem to want to know how many framed sets have been created; the Catalog shows that I've made 14 so far:

  1. Original 1975. Above
  2. Office version. Somewhere between 1990-2002. Above
  3. David’s. His is above and in this article: my legacy for my children.
  4. Kate's -  look at this article: my legacy for my children.
  5. Ariana’s -  look at this article: my legacy for my children.
  6. DJ & MG - 2015? - need photograph
  7. Laura and Ian - need photograph
  8. Jay - above
  9. Will - above
  10. Harry Gruner - need photograph
  11. Sam Gruner - need photograph
  12. Lester & Michael - 2018-19 ? - above
  13. Jill 2018-19 - above
  14. John & Carmen, condo living room - 12/2020 - Above and also, the framed jokers in my living room analysed
While the collection is organized thematically, I've dabbled with historical views of American jokers: American card publishers:  Dougherty , ARRCOor Standard Jokers  See also, the framed jokers in my living room analysed and whether I have all the jokers from the Joker Poster, plus what resources I find useful.