Tuesday, December 29, 2020

American Historical People - Real and Typical

 These jokers are people, American people, symbolic people like Uncle Sam; specific  historical Americans like Washington, Tilden, and Cooper,  and generic types that have not yet been separated out into their own sections. There are some closely related sections such as American Historical Figures (this article), Modern American Politicans, Cowboys,  Native Americans. American travel jokers  (which have American sites but not people),  American Women,  and entertainers like Elvis, film people, musicians, or Sports Figures

This first page features George Washington and Uncle Sam jokers. The former is legendary but real: the second is mythical.

Sam Cooper who is the top left and right of the page below was previously miscategorized as a "Very Toothy Version of Santa". Joop pointed out that it came from a deck - "The Great Hall & Its Famous Speakers" - by US Games Systems in 1988. It has 53 different caricatures  depicting famous persons that have spoken at the Great Hall of Cooper Union. Each card is named, except for the joker. I believe the joker is of Samuel Cooper.  For more info, Wikipedia has articles on Peter Cooper and the Cooper Union.  

The joker in the top row center above is the Dundreary joker with the image of an actor named Edward Askew Sothern (the link is to David Seaney's write up of the the Forgotten People of Playing Cards website).  Dundreary first appeared on a joker published by Russell & Morgan on a Congress deck in 1881.  My version is from much later after USPC (note the US in the corner) has bought the company, perhaps it's from the USPCC (former Russell & Morgan) deck "Extra Congress no. 606" made in 1895 It has a wide blue lacquer back. Dundreary is a character played by Sothern who was a somewhat insipid British nobleman. Dundreary came to mean either a style of facial hair or a twisted combined saying like: “Brother Sam and I used to be boys when we were lads, both of us”.

This next page of American jokers is about the economics and business of America.
Much of the American characters and people have been involved in wars.
These Americans are well dressed and wear hats.

These characters are more like everyday Americans.

Why not look next at some closely related sections such as American Historical Figures (this article), Modern American Politicians, Cowboys,  Native Americans. American travel jokers  (which have American sites but not people), American Women, and entertainers like Elvis, film people, musicians, or Sports Figures

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Chinese Jokers that I collected

 These jokers are ones that I've collected and which are Chinese. They are not fully curated. There are 12 pages of nin ejokers. which one has two gaps.

To see some related jokers from the travel section: 

  1. Vehicles
    1. Bicycle JokersSkatersUnicycles  
  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 namesOld European stereotypes
  6. Chinese Jokers - Acquired Collection, Collected

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Who are these jokers?

I'm primarily a thematic collector sorting jokers into categories like sports, politics, or dancing jesters.  I'm now getting more interested in the publishing history of these jokers so I'm trying to identify all the ones that are now hanging in my living room. Suggestions, Corrections, or other Help Appreciated. You can use the comments. Thanks to TVB, CT, and others. 

You'll notice that I have nicknames for many of these jokers. (This started with Dan Nordquist).

1A - First row, first column. The one in the top left. Funny Joker is published by Cambissa & Co., Italy since 1956 (Per Tom van Berkum). I have 4 variations  in the Jester Walking section of the collection. 

1B (next one to his right). I call this joker the Hamburgler because of a slight resemblance to a character in an old series of McDonalds ads. He comes from China and is used in Japan. I have him in the jester dancing section. I can't seem, as is often the case with Chinese jokers, to find the publisher or history.

1C. Staircase Joker is by AARCO and is in my collection in the jesters standing section. I have 5 variations you can see there. The variation are also shown in my article on history of  ARRCO.

1D. This Scatterman joker is the standard Cartamundi joker: I have 90 plus variations of him. Scatterman has his own section in my collection,next to the juggling and performing jokers.

1E. Top right corner. The peeping tom with binoculars on the crescent moon is in the sitting section. He first appeared in the 1960s on souvenir decks made in Japan perhaps by DNP, Dai Nippon Printing Card Company. 

2A & 2E. Playing the Bells and Banjo-like instrument. There's also a drummer and a clarinest in this series. He's in the percussion musical joker section. He's the Coeur brand from East Germany (thanks Tom VB for steering me). It was set up after WWII in Altenburg.  The joker first appeared in 1947. Post Cold War, Coeur and the company, "VEB Altenburger Spielkarten" were bought by F.X.Schmid (Munich) and more recently by "Ravensburger Games" (source: GuntherAnderson)

2B. Beeboy! I have examples of Beeboy in my Flyers section that go back to the 1800s when he was published by the New York Consolidated Card Company, then by Consolidated Dougherty, and most recently, as in this example, by the US Playing Card Company.

2D. Bicycle Joker. The Bicycle joker dates back to the 1800s with few changes. The Bicycle brand was one of the founding brands of the US Playing Card Company. There are dozens of variations in the bicycle section

2E. Strumming a banjo or some stringed instrument. See 2A above to hear about his East German heritage. He's in the strings section. Now that I've confirmed that he's partners with 2A and others: I should move him to the Musical Ensemble section. 

3A. Truco. Tricky in English.  He is a Spanish Fournier standard factory joker, very popular.  He's in the performing with cards section since he seems to be slipping card out of his sleeve. 

3C. The puppeteer card king with the king and queen as marionettes.  This is a New York Consolidated Card Company Joker, one of my favorites.NY65 Bee French Whist #69. Hochman P 63. He is the jesters section, subsection performing with cards. I think he's marvelous. That's why I put him in the middle.

3E.  Shrugger is in the Performers with cards section. I have three variations and some duplicates. He is a British joker, created by Alf Cooke in Leeds in the 1920s in black and white. Corporations doing what they do, he seems to have become part of Universal Playing Card Company Limited and then, via Amalgamated Playing Card Company Ltd, part of Waddingtons. It's described on the World of Playing Cards. He is in the top left of the joker poster listed as Universal Playing Card Co., London, c 1940.

4A Walker  performing with cards and with a jesters wand. Belgian made (It says so on the joker).  I have at least seven variations and since one of them has Amstel on the back,  I'm wondering if these are also by LĂ©onard Biermans from Turnhout, Belgium.

4B This well-dressed The World Joker soldier is part of a British company (I think), he's published in British Hong Kong. He has a green jacket, red pants, a banner proclaiming The World Jokers, and a sword. He's in the jokers with swords section, one of many variations. World jokers appeared in the late 60s-70s through today on souvenir and custom decks made in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. It’s hard to pinpoint one maker.

4D Standard standing jester. I think of him as the most standard of jokers.  He's a USPC joker, most often on Gladstone, Hamilton, and store brands on bridge decks from the 1930s through the 1980s. (thanks Chris Turner of 52Plus). Of course, he's in the Standard Jesters with Wand section.

4E Dancer. He's in the dancing section.

5A Modiano making the shared secret jester gesture. He's in the Heads with Hands but no wands section. Modiana. Trieste, Italy. c 1950

5E Half a Jester. Piatnik.  Busts with hands holding a wand.

6A Hallmark dancing jester. I have five of these in the jesters dancing section. 

6B.  Topsy fat clowns. Or Pinwheel (Per Dan N.) Western Universal. I have four varieties in the topsy jester section.  Pinwheel first appears in Hochman on P149: MSW 131b Golf. Midland Playing Card Co, Chicago 1920. The yellow and black in the middle of the middle row below was the original version. Pinwheel became the standard Western Playing Card jokers and reappears on P150 as MSW 136 Universal Playing Cards, Western Playing Cards.

6C Cross legged seated jester holding up a card.  Printed in Vienna (Vien) by Ferd. Piatnik and Sohne. There's maybe a dozen of them in the jesters seated section, facing forward.

6D. Jesters chasing their tails in a circle. This two headed joker is the Standard Western Publishing joker. Printed on one side of the joker: "MADE IN U. S. A., W.P. CO., RACINE, WIS, No. 1876 Portraits". It was manufactured before the era of two letter state abbreviations. I think they were numbered sequentially in order of publication.  "Portraits" probably refers to the name of that deck. The lowest number deck I have is "No. 28, Sitting Pretty", the highest is "No. 1901 Frou-Frou." I have over two dozen of them in my Topsy Jester section

6E The seated juggler is a newer design from the 2000s, found in Chinese  souvenir and custom decks.  The sharp lines show it’s a current day digitally drawn image. He's reminiscent of the Chinese BirdMan joker and is the same section and subsection: Seater Jokers, Sitting Sidesways.  

This article relates to the ones on:

- The Joker Poster
- Framed Jokers on the Wall
- Jokers for my Children
- The Joker Organizational System

Friday, December 18, 2020


 As the joker collection mushrooms, categories fragment.  Before, there was a vehicle section that covered trains, cars, planes, bicycles, unicycles, and skaters.  Now, they are all separate categories!  Skater jokers...

Next, you should look at the marvelous organization system that I have created for jokers.
While I use to have a broad travel section, I now have a travel section with many subsections such as scenery, Americana, American scenery, and vehicles. The vehicles such has recently been broken down into subsections:  trains, cars, planes, bicyclesunicycles, and skaters. This skaters section is the page that you are on.

Science, Tech, and Industry Jokers

These jokers focus on the scientific and technology part of our world.  It includes space!

Here are some other categories of jokers to look at:

Public Service Announcement - Jokers

  Yes, that sounds weird having public service announcements being put on jokers.  So what!

I think of these as a type of advertising jokers. Other advertising jokers:
  1. Casinos 
  2. Cigarettes, Drink, Desserts  97 + 18
  3. Coca Cola Jokers   34    cars 35
  4. Public Interest Messages
  5. Logo type jokersGeometric Designs 162
  6. Ads   63      Text based jokers 150
  7. Jokers promoting playing cards

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Playing Card Museum Joker Poster: Can I Collect Them All?

 In 1991, the US Playing Card Museum published a poster with the pictures of 72 jokers. 

In December of 2020, I decided to see how many of these jokers from the poster were in my collection. And then I set out to collect all of them.  

How am I doing? There are still 15 that I don't have. This article goes through the cards on the poster, row by row.  I'll admit which jokers I don't have - or brag about those that I do - and share what I know about the history of each joker.  

Click through to see the updated list of the 15 jokers that I’m still looking for.  If you have any of them, even as part of a whole deck, I'm highly motivated. to buy or trade for them.

Background: This poster was published by the Playing Card Museum in 1991. The museum was run by the The United States Playing Card Company.  The fine print:  "Poster Design Margery B. Griffith Photograph, color separations and printing: Stevenson Photo Color Company. Paper and preparation: The United States Playing Card Company. Copyright 1991." I would love to hear how they picked these 72 jokers. I'm particularly intrigued by the choice of a joker published by Adobe Systems which was still a very young company back then.

Here's my status on these jokers. November 2023, I have 15  left to find.  The Perfection Joker 5B, Adobe joker 5E, Bengal Kalamazoo 3I were recent arrivals.

 If anyone has these jokers that I’m missing for sale as singles or with a deck, I’m highly motivated. 

Row by row review.  Starting at the top row.
Row 1.

1A. Universal Playing Card Co., London, c 1940.
In my collection, he's in the Performers with cards section. I have three variations and some duplicates. He is a British joker, created by Alf Cooke in Leeds in the 1920s in black and white. Corporations doing what they do, he seems to have become part of Universal Playing Card Company Limited and then, via Amalgamated Playing Card Company Ltd, part of Waddingtons. It's described on the World of Playing Cards.

1B. He is in the American People section of my collection (which doesn't quite make sense) and  is the source of much interest by me to figure out what myth he might relate to.  I have maybe four variations of him. He was first published in 1895 by the Standard Playing Card Company based in St Louis and Chicago. He first appears as SU2 on P137 of Hochman. The key says FASTMAIL (sic), Standard Playing Card co, Chicago, c 1905.


1C. He is in the topsy jokers with  clowns or jesters section. Two variations. Northbrook Playing Card Co., 1965.

1D. I have NY56 Mascotte.Spanish American War, Army Edition Samuel Hart.1895. Hochman P 60.  He is the standing section.

1E. Head no hands section. I have him in two colors and with duplicates available. Virginia Slims, USPC for Philip Morris, 1984.
1F - Picture provided by Matt Schacht who says that this is the Dougherty Indicator. MOGUL CLUBS 315. A. Dougherty, NY (Joker first appeared in 1890). I have him!

1G -  Parachuting clown. In the clown section.  A Special edition. USPC. c 1950. 

Waldorf Dougherty 1909 Clown Joker

1I Waldorf #240. A Dougherty, NY c1909. I bought him with the deck. I keep the joker, as I do with my most precious decks, with the deck and only have a photocopy in the joker albums. (I have an article about my oldest decks).

1G -  This card playing guy is in the head and busts section, subsection with hands but NOT holding a wand. I have six variations. Special edition. USPC c 1950.

 ROW 2

I do have A,B, D, E, F, G, and I.  I don't have C and I hear he is terribly rare.  

Row 2, Column A - 2A. This jester head is on a stick so he's in that section of jester wands. Arrco Playing Card Co, Chicago, c 1975.

#2B. This jack in the box should in my opinion, be with the other jack in the boxes that are in with the jesters on a stick. I'll move him shortly. Currently, to be honest, he is in the clown section since he is clown-like and his pair, below him, is also a clown. USPC for Barton Playing Card Co. C 1960.

#2C. I do not have this dancing skeleton. At least not yet. Want it.  I also can't find it in Hochman so it might not have deep roots, it might just be a modern novelty joker.  X-Ray Playing Cards Co. NY c 1940

2D - Topsy Jester or Clown Jokers - jester with wand, have dupe. Special edition, USPC 1935.

2E - Modiano. Have him with dupes and variations in the heads with hands section Modiana. Trieste, Italy. c 1950.

2F Clown with goose and balloon in the clown section.   Special edition. USPC. 1935. 

2G. - I got  this laughing head in early 2021, He's from Hochman P134.  He was initially published by the Kalamazo Playing Card Co under the St Louis Playing Card Co name for the Russell.  Kalamazoo Playing Card Co for Metropolitan Playing Card Co, NY c 1905. (is this right?). He's in the heads with hands holding wands section.

2H - Standing juggling joker that I do NOT  have. Adking USA for Pacific Telephone Yellow Pages. c 1960.

2-I Topsy Jester or Clown Jokers - Have twenty or so variations of this Western Publishing Joker, if you count different numbers at bottom

Row 3
I have A,B,F, G, and I. I'm missing a lot: C, D, E, & H.
Humiliating! Can anyone help me?

3A Donkey - He is my US Political Section.  Kennedy Kards, Humor House Inc. 1963

3B - Jester coming through the looking glass. I have him in color and black and white.  This Jolly Joker matches Ad12, Triplicate No. 18, c1876, Dougherty on P71 of Hochman and P54 of Paper Empires. She's in the hands but no wand of the Heads and Busts section. Interesting note: the first PM that I got about this post commented on my using she to refer to "the character peeking through a hoop".  Funny that I hadn't really though about the gender until Dan mentioned it. Since the character has make-up, I immediately thought it was feminine but really, as a circus clown, it's more likely a guy.Dupes. NAGPKA #708. A Dougherty, NY for export. c 1925

3C-D-E - I don't have any of these.
3C - Clown with a parasol off to the side. USPC for EW McCarroll Co. Pittsburgh c 1925.
3D - Perfecto Americana. Atlas Playing Card. Co, NY c 1925. Is this the Perfection deck that Glen says is unfindable?
3E - Smiling clown head.  Chess Deck. Unknown. c 1900.

3F - Nose itch head. It's in  in the hands but no wand of the Heads and Busts section.  It's the top one of this set. The joker is by Bernard Dondorf from Frankfurt, Germany. They were used from ca.1895 until 1933. Here's Joops page about him and his kind.  I have two variations above. Joop explains: "NASM stands for Nederlandsch Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschappij (Dutch American Steamship Company), which later became the Holland Amerika Lijn, better known now as HAL." Poster: B Dondorf, Frankfurt, Germany c 1895.
3G -  Topsy Jester or Clown Jokers - Historical clown.  Goose stepping clown. Originally published by A Dougherty, c1905. AD37. Hochman P77.  Climax #14.

3H - Don't have it. Eclipse Comic Playing Cards. EH Lowerre. First Original American Transformation deck with Joker. 1876. I’m told that this a collectors dream and probably unfindable and unaffordable. 

3I - I now have the Bengal. American Playing Card Co. Kalamazoo Paper Box Co, c. 1895. I bought it with the entire deck. Most expensive purchase yet. I'll keep the deck intact and together, I have a quality copy that I'll put in my album. I've done that with a few on this list where I had to buy an entire deck. It'll go in the seating section, facing forward.


Row 4.
I have A,B,C,D,E, G, H, & I. I'm missing F which is  known as the Democracy joker and which is   very rare. 

4A. -  Topsy Jester or Clown Jokers - Russian.  I remember when I first bought him, I was in Russia in 1979! That's a story.

4B -  The guitar playing joker was first made by King Press c1937.  It's listed as MSN51 King Press, P159 of Hochman. He's in the clown section. Imperial King Press. NJ c 1935. 

4C is this version of the Bicycle joker. Notice how the hat and plants are different than the standard Bicycle joker. The one in my collection is of course in the Bicycle section and is as best I can tell, a modern reproduction of the old one. I'm not sure if the poster shows and an original or modern repro.

4D - Hubert Humphrey on a Hobby Horse. Humphrey was known for his progressive views, persistence,  and his good nature: he was nicknamed the Happy Warrior. I have this one.  He was initially categorized (currently) in the horse section but when I understood more,I moved him to the  politicians jokers section of the collection.  This joker is one of two from “The President’s Deck” published by Alfabet, Inc. manufactured by USPC.  United States Playing Card Co. c.1972.  Richard Nixon (US President) was on the Kings, Pat Nixon (first lady) was on the Queens, Spiro Agnew (Nixon's first vice president who was indicted, convicted, and incarcerated for corruption) on the Jacks. The jokers featured the two candidates who has run against Richard Nixon in the election: Hubert Humphrey (Democrat) and George Wallace (who ran as an independent and was a racist populist who is best known for his statement: "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever").  Hochman p.229, P13; Fournier, Playing Cards, North America 232.USPC Presidents Deck. Smith Western Publishing. Oregon. 1971. 

4E - This crooked joker is in my Odd Sized and Shaped joker section. Crooked Deck. Arnold Free Novelty. 1969.
4F - I  have Uncle Sam on the globe as of 11/23/2023! 4F Charter Oak. N American Card Co. Chicago. C 1900. Hochman P30 L27. American Beauty Cards.


Row 5
I have only A, B, C, D, E, & H. I need  F, G,  & I. 
I have less than half of this row: I feel like such a loser... 

On the bright side, in 2021, I acquired Perfection! (Row 5, Column B). This is one of my favorites! I found that to get some of the most interesting jokers, like him, I had to buy some entire old decks of playing cards.  He's the Hartford Safety Bike. Perfection Playing Card Co. c 1895.
This deck is listed in Hochmans's  PU2 Top-Top #350, page 118. Philadelphia, c 1887. And I quote: The cards in this deck look slightly later than PU1. It came with at least three different Jokers. We have found several Perfection decks in special boxes for R. H. Stearns & Co., Engravers and Stationers, Boston, with the Perfection brand name and number on the ends of the boxes.

5E. I have the Adobe joker, published by Adobe Systems in 1988 to show off the power of Postscript and Display Postscript. Click for more info on Adobe Playing Cards.

Because this deck is a collectors item, I keep the jokers with the deck. I’ll put a photocopy of these jokers in my collection. Where? They’ll go in the garage art section, digital subsection. 

Row 6
I need B, C, D, & I.

Row 7
I need D, E, & F.

7A - Got it. Sitting Cross Legged Joker section. You can see him pretty clearly in the row above
7B - This jokers is from as of yet, unknown American publisher (per the poster key) c 1935. It's in the joker about cards section.

7C - Just got "Fact & Fancy" 3/6/21 from Matt (thanks!). He will go in the Jester Jokers with No Wand (standing or walking) section. He's circa 1961 designed by Dick Martin for the Chicago Playing Card Collectors, Inc. 
7D - need him
7E - Need him
7F - need him. He's a Justin Rodero joker (thanks to Steve Bacon of Two For His Heels for this info).
7G - He is the jokers with weapons section
7H - He's in the Topsy joker section, clowns and jesters subsection
7I - He's in the Heads and Busts section, subsection Jesters on a stick, page of Jack in the box Jokers.

7G Image below


Row 8

Have A, B,C, F, G, and H. Need D, E, and I.  *** NOTE need to add links***
A is standing not jester.
B is head with hands and cards. 
C is jesters dancing.
G is jesters standing.
H is jesters standing.
D, missing, is FairPlay from Dougherty, c1910. A juggler
E, missing, is a Piatnik c1949. He’s a small sized head with hands.
I is Clown Cigarettes, USPC, c1925. A clown in a horse costume

Would it be too much if I lined up my  jokers like the row above leaving blanks for the ones that I don't have?

Here's the published key (anybody have a higher resolution scan for me?).

updated list of the 18 jokers that I’m still looking for. 


Here is the poster with the ones checked off but it hasn't been updated since April 2021.