Monday, February 22, 2021

Clown Jokers

I use to be irritated by clown jokers. I thought they should have jesters on them. But through the years, my sensitivities have changed and I'm now a big fan of clown jokers. Which is good since I have a ton of them. Specifically 160 not counting the 44 joker heads which now have their own section (Updated 8/2023)

This first set is classic old clown jokers of which three are on the Joker Poster printed by the Playing Card Museum.

Want details on which ones from above are in the Joker Poster? The clown with the banjo or mandolin (top center) was first made by King Press c1937.  It's  MSN51 King Press, P159 of Hochman and also appears as Imperial King Press. NJ c 1935. The parachuting clown (top row right) is in the top row of the poster and is a USPCC special edition circa 1950. The clown with the goose and the balloon (bottom center) is another USPCC special edition c 1935. Hoffman SU9, P139.

Above, the top left joker above is a Standard Playing Card Joker from the Auction Bridge deck c1910. P139 in Hoffman, SU8, and Joop's Oct 2023 Joker of the Month.  

This next page has the circus clown in the top row middle. He is on the joker poster. Top row, column h. To his right below is the soldier clown on the top right. He is on the joker poster, 4th row, last column. In the second row left below is theatric clown (with the halo and blacks thorns shooting up) who is on the poster in the 5th row, column D. Next to him, middle row middle spot below is a lady clown who is on the poster in the bottom row, first column.  Here's this information about the jokers on that page that are on the joker poster in tabular form (it looks great on a computer screen, not so good on mobile phones).

Below    My nickname        Joker poster Description                            Copyright    Poster Position
R1C2    Circus Clown        Waldorf #240. A Dougherty, NY                 c1909           1-H    
R1C3    Soldier Clown        EE Fairchild, Rochester, NY                     c1940            4-I
R2C1    Theatric Clown    Godey Ladies, USPC for NASCO.             c1935            5-D
R2C2    Lady Clown        Criterion Playing Card Co for John High Co    c1932        8-I

I just learned from the FB Joker Collectors club (from Matt Schacht and Ronald Kruijmel) that the middle row jokers below on the left and right are Canadian. WWPCM

These clowns are a mixed lot. Three of them are Bob Terwilliger of Simpsons fame: is he of slumming   by hanging out with these clowns?
I tried to group the clowns with similar painted-on faces. Frankly, I'm struggling to figure out what my subcategories are going to be as this section keeps growing.

My clowns with balloons section!  It was just today (Aug 2023) when I realized that row two, column 1 and 3 are different.  Look at the child's pants color.  BTW, this sort of difference is fun for me to find. It means paying attention to details in a way that I find satisfying.  In contrast, in the pages below this one, there are 13 different baggies. But the differences tend to be the indices or whether it is labelled plastic coated or not. I find looking at those fine differences very tedious. Thoughts?

Baggy old clown has 13 variations on the next two pages.
Mixed in with Baggy Clown, here's five tossing around all sorts of nonsense.

More juggling clowns.
Some clowns can balance on a ball upside down!
Some clowns can stand on balls and spin plates and juggle. Lets group these clowns together.

This page now troubles me.  There are three in the middle row which I'm now thinking are miscategorized and should be in the clown heads / busts section. sigh. No rest for the weary.

Here's some classic old clown jokers or modern ones in the vintage style that are no long in this section. They are in the clown heads and busts section. Still, I'll leave them here for your convenience.

 The two clown heads in the middle row are from a Steamboat deck made by Novelty Playing Cards in 1935 (which I know because he's 5H on the Joker Poster). Notice that there are drumming clowns but my rules are that they go in the clown section, not the drummers.

 Where else can you find clowns in this collection?

Riding   unicycles.
Some are in the heads section. My rules over whether clown heads go there or here is not yet consistent. sigh. Somedays I just can't seem to muster the time or energy and a reorg seems a trauma, tedium, or terror. Other days it seems like fun. I'll wait until it feels like fun to get to it. 


  1. Where did you get the clown joker with blue pants with red suspenders and shirt, and a yellow background?
    It's in the upper left corner, above the clowns with balloons section.


Thanks for your input and for reading and thinking about jokers.