Sunday, December 10, 2023

My Matching Congress 606 Jokers

 This article tracks my collecting of the Congress Matching jokers. The latest update is Feb 12, 2024. <Note this will soon be replaced with a proper table of the known universe of matching jokers and what I have for each image or joker...stay tuned>

Number of different images on matching jokers*
41 -  Known to exist
32 - In my collection

Number of different matching jokers*
56 - Known to exist
41 - In my collection

*Yes, these numbers are debatable and I will soon publish my spreadsheet so other people's counts can be compared. And there are gray areas like "same image but different name" (ie Priscilla vs Spinning Wheel)

The Matching Jokers that I most want:  
Chameleon, Clown,  The Cavalier, Holland, and Spinning Wheel (facing left, not right). And there are plenty of variations that I'm also seeking.

What is a Matching Joker? 
A matching joker (or named joker) means that the joker image is a black and white version of the back design.  For example, here is the back and the joker of the Congress 606 Rockwood joker from 1899:

Rockwood Congress Joker and Back Design

These matching jokers date from 1897 to 1904. Then, Congress switched to jokers that featured the US Capitol building (see below for an example). I have an article on the history of Congress jokers.

Congress switched to Capitol Jokers around 1910

If you are interested in learning more about Congress matching jokers, here are some resources:  

- The Congress Guy's Page on Congress Matching Jokers
- Matt Schacht's list with images of all of the Congress Matching Jokers


Three Generations of Matching Jokers.  I categorize the  Congress 606 matching  jokers in three generations. It is slightly different than CongressGuy's categories which is probably more historically accurate but he is considering the whole deck, I try to focus on the jokers.  

Generation 1 (G1)- These are distinguished by the word Joker included on the joker and the image is always in an oval.

Generation 2 (G2) - The word Joker is not there and the frame is either oval or rectangular but without any fancy trimmings.

Generation 3 (G3) - The oval and rectangular shapes have fancy trim.

Let’s take a look at which jokers I have from each generation. In most cases, I have only the joker. If I have the full deck, I'll mention it.


Generation 1 Congress 606 Matching Jokers - These jokers - as mentioned - have the image in an oval and with the word Joker.

Yacht, Diana, The Rube, and George Washington  (entire decks).  Diana is mythological, Rube is Americana, Yacht is "aspirational anglophiles", and GW is political leaders.

Moon Fairy - joker only. This Moon Fairy joker has the word joker. There is also  version that I have that you can see below in the Generation 2 matching jokers that does not have the word joker.  She is a mythological one kept in the sitting on the moon section of the collection.

Berenice - Whole Deck. Berenice is a classic mythological type.

Berenice picture on playing cards

Martha Washington  - She is American political, in the American people section of the collection next to George.

Martha Washington

Good Night. The box and ace says 1899.  She is the Americana album, American people subsection. This section will soon be split up and she'll go with a few pages of old images of American children. Note that my Good Night is a brunette. There is also a blond version of this girl. She's in the Americana section.

Good Night
Delft and Fishers Return
Delft and Fishers Return
The Rookwood Generation 1 (with the word joker) joker and deck. Below will be the Rookwood G2 without the word joker.

Generation 2 Congress 606 Matching Jokers - These jokers have the image  either in an oval or rectangular. If oval, the word Joker is not there.  And there is no fancy frame around the image.

Diane, Moon Fairy, and Music Hath Charms. 

This is one of my three Diana Congress decks, each one different in some ways. The box  and ace are dated 1899. In this one, the joker image is in an oval frame without the word joker, above was one with an oval with the work joker. I also have one with a Capital joker which is not a matching joker. BTW, none of these Dianas are wearing a shirt. Or a bra. Just saying... Diani is the fighters section of the joker collection.
Moon Fairy. This is a complete Moon Fairy deck and unlike my other matching Moon Fairy joker (which was Matching Early Period with the word Joker), this is Late Period Matching. Both the box and ace are dated 1899. The joker image is in an oval frame.  The two moon fairy jokers are in the collection in the sitting section, crescent moon subsection.
Music Hath Charms. The box is undated but the ace cites 1902.  Since he is playing a wind instrument, he is in the collection in the music section, wind subsection. 

The Rockwood Joker

Rockwood Congress 606 - 1899
The Sitting Bull Joker

Sitting Bull Joker - 1901

Anticipation. Note that Anticipation and Naples have simple rectangular frames like Music Hath Charms above.


Naples Joker
Naples Congress 606
The Mill
The Mill 1898
The Hunt (joker only)
The Hunt Congress Joker

The Minuet (2 copies) 
The Minuet - Congress 606 (joker only)

I have two copies of the Minuet Joker (no decks). The backs are very slightly different. I'd say this is a print run difference. I'd also be pleased to trade either one for another one to build this collection.

Two Minuet Congress Jokers
Fishers Return - This is the second of my Fishers Return jokers. I have both this one without the word joker and the one in the first category with the word joker.
Fishers Return Joker without "Joker"

Below are the back of my two Fisher Returns. The one on the left is the one without the word joker. The purely gray one on the right is the back of the joker with the word joker.

The Peaceful Vale
The Peaceful Vale Congress 606

Rotterdam Delft
Rotterdam Delft

Priscilla and Spinning Wheel. The image on Priscilla and Spinning Wheel seems to be identical. But the corner index on Priscilla is bolder and they have different names.  The backs also have the same images but the colors on the lady's dress and the table cloth are reversed. And the back border is slightly different. Weird?

The Bridge
The Bridge

Generation 3 Congress 606 Matching Jokers - These jokers are distinguished by the fancy decorated frame around the image. The image can be in either  an oval or rectangular. 

Kaatje - Kaatje is a girl's name in Dutch. I guess someone was inspired by her while getting the picture for the Rotterdam Delft.

King Edward VII of England (entire deck)
King Edward VII

Kite Time Americana. 

Toboggan (entire deck) . Americana. 

Mistletoe (entire deck). 1903

Moorish. This might be my favorite of all of the matching decks!
Congress 606 Moorish Joker

Tamborine, Prince of Wales, Princess of Wales


A Listing of My Matching Jokers (so far... this will soon be replaced by a proper table which show the universe of known matching jokers and my collection as I check them off) 

Anticipation - rectangular frame (entire deck) 
The Bridge - oval frame without word joker
Delft  - oval frame with word joker 
Diana white border - oval frame with word joker (entire deck)
Diana red border - oval frame without word joker (entire deck)
Fishers Return - oval frame with word joker ( gray colored back)
Fishers Return - oval frame without the word joker (green septome colored back)
George Washington - oval frame with word joker (entire deck)
Good Night  - oval frame with word joker (entire deck)
Holly -  fancy oval frame
Hunt - oval frame without the word joker
Kaatje - fancy rectangular frame 
King Edward the Seventh -  fancy oval frame (entire deck)
Martha Washington - oval frame with word joker 
The Minuet - oval frame without the word joker (2 copies)
Mistletoe - fancy oval frame
Mill - oval frame without the word joker (entire deck)
Moon Fairy white border - oval frame with the word joker.
Moon Fairy orange frame - oval frame without the word joker (entire deck)
Moorish -  fancy oval frame
Music Hath Charms - rectangular frame (entire deck)
Peaceful Vale - oval frame without the word joker (entire deck) 
Priscilla -oval frame without word joker
Rockwood 1899 - oval frame with the word joker (entire deck)
Rockwood 1899 - oval frame without the word joker (entire deck)
Rotterdam Delft - oval frame without word joker
Rube 2 - oval frame with word joker (entire deck)
Spinning Wheel facing right -oval frame without word joker
Sitting Bull - oval frame without the word joker (entire deck) 
Toboggan - fancy oval frame   (entire deck)
Yacht  - oval frame with the word joker.(entire deck)

The Matching Jokers that I most want?  
Chameleon, Clown,  The Cavalier, Holland, and Spinning Wheel (facing left, not right).

The ones that I want also but I have in some form:
GW - G2
King Edward G2
Naples - G3
Peaceful Vale - G3
Prince of Wales - G2
Princess of Wales - G2
Rotterdam Delft - G1
Spinning Wheel Facing Left - G1
Yacht - G3

Congress 606 Matching Joker Themes

I think there are a few interesting themes of Congress cards. My favorite theme might be the exotic Mediterranean North African imagery of which I have Oasis, Moorish, and Naples: 

Other themes (only listing the ones that I have): 
- Native Americans: Rockwood and Sitting Bull
- Greek Mythology: Diana, Berniece, and Moon Fairy.
- Americana scenes such as Spinning Wheel, Rube, Anticipation, Knuckles Down,  Mistletoe and Good Night. 
- Presidents and Royalty people such as George Washington, Martha Washington, King Edward VIIth
- Chinoiserie - Cheefu


BTW: I need more. If you have any of these as decks or as single jokers, contact me. thanks.

 Related articles:
- All of my Congress jokers (most of which have the Capital)
My purchase of 19 Congress decks from around 1900
- The Congress Guy's Website
- The World of Playing Cards article on Congress Cards by Simon Wintle

Matching Jokers from other Brands: I learned from Matt Schacht that there were two other brands that had matching jokers:
Parker Bros Rembrandts (made by SPCC)
SPCC Peerless
So far, I have not  focused on collecting them. 

The other intense highly focused joker-collecting effort by me is to get all the jokers from the USPCC Joker Poster.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Vintage Decks that I'd trade away

 Interested in old decks?  Step up and see how it feels to own a part of history. But I'm not really selling, I'm really looking to trade. 

What do I want? Old jokers or old decks with Jokers. I'm particularly interested in wide Congress decks with matching (or named) jokers.  Contact me at john at edelson dot info.

Here's the decks that I have to trade.  

Samuel Hart NY 41  1875.  This first one is a Hart deck bought from Phil Bollhagen in 2020. A Samuel Hart NY 41 in Hochman c1875.  c. 1855.  Hochman P55. Good condition 51/52.  (missing the 6 of spades)  Single-ended courts used in Faro decks.  No joker issued as faro decks (gamblers) did not use a joker. It’s in the original playing card case.  Hochman's values--  $400-$250-$175.  it's quite rare. I bought it for  $250 from Phil Bolhagen in 2020.

US30 Picket3515.  It’s also a USPC Picket deck with an original case. He looks to me like US30 Picket3515 on P101 of Hochman.

Marguerite Decks. These five gold edged decks come in beautiful leather cases. I have Orchid, Iris, Thistle, Lilies of the Valley, and Forest Stream. They are all complete decks in lovely condition except Forest Stream which lacks a joker.  Three are published by A Dougherty, two by Abrham J Straus. 
Marguerite decks of cards

A Dougherty
Motor Playing Cards, with case

Kangaroo Playing Cards

Vintage Advertising Decks - I bought these decks as part of a big lot and would happily consider a trade for them for some number of similar aged / themed decks with jokers. These are all complete advertising decks but without jokers.
Update: Dahl House (R1:C5), Cork and Seal (R3,C2), and Pepsi (R4, C3) are already traded away. 

White Star Coffee. 

While I'm generally trying to accumulate Congress wide decks, I particularly want to get ones with matching jokers. I would trade these wide Congress decks away in exchange for ones with matching (not Capitol) jokers. I don't know the right name for the "Girl on Chair"  but it's marked copyright 1905.

Congress 606 Wide deck with Capitol Jokers
November, LaFrance, and Playmates (Not "Girl on Chair". Kevan, thanks!)

More Congress 606 Decks (I think Bernice is already traded away) that I could trade away. I think these are Whist size (ie narrow).  

Top Row: Going to Cover, A Hot Scent, Badoura
Bottom row: Berenice, Muse, Flora, (Spinning Wheel maybe shouldn't be in with these narrows...)

Duplicate Bridge - I don't know much about this but it's gorgeous and in fantastic condition.  
Congress Duplicate Bridge Four Pack Set

Other articles about old decks of cards that I own:

 Here are articles about my older American jokers by publisher (they all need updating):

NYCC jokers
USPC Jokers including Bicycle, Congress  

National Card Company and Perfection too 
Kalamazoo and Russell 
Arrow and ARRCO