Friday, August 25, 2023

Rooster, Chicken, Turkey, and Peacock Jokers

I just (Feb 2024) enriched this section with a pair of quite old American jokers.

This article focuses on a subset of my bird jokers (itself a subcategory of flyers and of animals): the rooster, chicken, turkey and peacock jokers.  Here's the jokers from a card deck entirely made up of chicken artwork.

Each card features a fine art illustration of  chickens, roosters, or chicks. It's from Prospero Art ($12.50, still available).

The Piatnik Cabaret deck features roosters on the jokers. Frankly, I don't understand why there are roosters on the jokers.Fortunately, I glanced at the rest of the deck and fell in love with it.  It's basically Toulouse-Lautrec and other artists from Paris' Belle Epoch  with their artwork of the dancers and girls from the end from the 1800s. I put up a whole article about this Piatnik Art Deck  

These next two rooster jokers were, I believe, produced as part of a deck about one of the great video games. Could it be one of the Final Fantasy releases?

Another rooster with comments like: 'Mind your own business', "Work with your Mind', and 'Lead a Quiet Life'. Can anyone explain to me what that has to do with a rooster and what that deck is about?
This next rooster joker is rare and it's one that I think I found in a used deck in a junk store in the 1970s. I was just reading the 52 Plus Joker March auction list and I saw this joker was the A Dougherty joker for their low end Steamboat decks.   
Any info on this rooster?
Another pair of rooster jokers which I can't seem to provide any illuminating information about.  sigh. 

Here's one of my favorite jokers of all time. I bought it in the mid 70s in a barn junk store up in New England.  It is a peacock, not a rooster. It is so beautiful that I wanted to include it and that's why this article is not just about roosters but about roosters, chickens, turkeys, and peacocks.

Since I'm including peacocks, I think this guy belongs here too.

And here are all the roosters, chickens, turkeys, and peacocks  others in some ensemble shots 

Next you should look through  the other animal sections of the joker collection.

    1. Ensemble Animal combinations (cats AND dogs)
    Animals: Flyers - Bee Boy
    Animals: Flyers - Bee Boy
    1. Cats  or  Dogs Now there's a big cat subsection! 
    2. Flyers:  Birds, OwlsBees,  Butterflies  & Dragons . Now there's a rooster & chicken subsubsection!
    3. Horses , zebras, donkeys, giraffes ...
      1. Fantasy horses: centaurs, unicorns, pegasus
    4. Monkeys, bears, and others with paws 
    5. Animals with antlers, horns, and tusks. Elephants too!
    6. Varmints - the annoying small wild animals
    7. Reptiles, amphibians, sea creatures  

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Collecting in the wild: Ghislain Swimberghe with Brugge artwork

  In the last few years, most of my collecting has been via Ebay and some contacts. I haven't been out "in the wild" looking for decks so much. 

In early July, while site seeing in Brugge Belgium, my wife and I stopped to look at what might be for sale in a street market.

Tourism in Brugge, Belgium

Site Seeing in Brugge

a street market
We found a few card things of interest. Most fascinating was a complete mint condition deck of playing cards by carta mundi called Zandstraat Brugge. Artwork by Ghislain Swimberghe. It's a limited edition certified to have only 2000 copies.  Here's the back of the deck.
The back of a Deck of Cards

The deck has 20 jokers. Each suit had the 7 through king (roi) plus the ace (one). The cards are in French so V, D, and R: valet, dame, and king.  
Front of the Playing cards with the box

Each card had an original drawing on it, presumably of Brugges. All by Ghislain Swimberghe.

What more do I know about this deck?

The World Wide Playing Card Museum (online) has a description of the Brugge Deck.

The World of Playing Cards does not seem to reference it at all.

I haven't found any authoritative descriptions of the artist, Ghislain Swimberghe. There is info on his oil and watercolor paintings which appear on auction site.  

 I'll place these jokers in my classic art section.   Another related section, newly created, is European artists, writers, and composers

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Shopping, Socializing, Seeing in Zaandijk, Netherlands

 Last month, since I was travelling to France and the Benelux countries, I arranged to visit the legendary Joop Muller at his home in Zaandijk outside Amsterdam. 

Joop arranged to have some other ilustrious joker collectors there: Fred de Soet, Ronald Kruijmel, and Jelle Sietsma.

I spent the afternoon and evening with them (including a dinner for all of us at a local restaurant) and for me, it wasn't nearly long enough. Such interesting people and so many collections to look at and so much information to learn.  Overwhelming!

Aren't we serious looking? Well, everyone is except me...

John, Ronald Fred, Joop, Jelle

Actually, while I say that "I stopped by while on a tourism trip", the reality is a little  nuanced. I agreed to make the tourism (which I'm only lukewarm about) trip to Amsterdam with my wife only because I worked in visits of great interest to me like this one. This was the point of the trip for me. I think I goofed slightly by not setting aside more time.  Next time.

Joop's house has a set of fantastic collections in it. The collections are primarily playing cards with related ephemera but there also appeared to be other collections (ie record albums, etc). 

This are litho stones, used for printing in lithography, color or chromo.

Most of the visit was spent looking at the duplicate jokers from Jelle which were incredibly well organized in a set of six massive albums (I use album pages that are 3 x 3, his were larger, maybe 4 x 4, maybe larger).  We also looked at Joop's remaining jokers (he has been selling them off). I bought a LOT from Jelle, some from Joop. I brought a hundred or so jokers for them to buy (Not so organized, just packs in plastic cases) which they looked thru and picked a few of.  Here we are at work...

I went home with a LOT more jokers: around 300! Here they are.

Did I mention that I was a little overwhelmed? These guys have encyclopedic information  about the jokers and the playing card history: it's stunning. Their eye for detail amazing! Sadly, my ability to absorb and retain all that information falls more than a little short. This is why they organize jokers by country, publisher, and year. And I organize mine by the pictures. For instance, Jelle showed me one pair of jokers and was surprised I declined them. "But I have them" said I. "No. The ones on your website are different, you don't have these" he said. And he was right. He knew my collection, or at least that detail of it, better than I did! 

We ate at the local restaurant (thanks again Joop) where they carefully put beers in glasses that have the right name on them. Again, an impressive eye for detail, is that a national trait? Maybe local to Zaandijk?

Did this picture move you to want to see some beer jokers?
Want to know more? Here's a gold mine of info.

Joop has for 19.5 years, posted a joker of the month: jokerhome (
My wife's (Carmens) travel Instagram account.  CarmensTravel
My visit to the French Playing Card Museum a week later.
Dan Nordquist - The first other joker collector that I've met F2F (face to face)