Sunday, December 10, 2023

My Matching Congress 606 Jokers

 This article is where I track how many and which Congress Matching Jokers I have in my collection. 

What is a Congress 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 around 1898 to maybe 1910 when Congress decks switched to the Capital style jokers. Here's an article about the whole historical pattern of Congress jokers.  

So far, I have 16 matching jokers. In some cases, just the joker. In other cases, the entire deck..

Anticipation - rectangular frame (entire deck) 
Diana white border - oval frame with word joker (entire deck)
Diana red border - oval frame  without word joker (entire deck)
George Washington - oval frame with word joker (entire deck)
Good Night  - oval frame with word joker (entire deck)
Kaatche - fancy rectangular frame 
Martha Washington - oval frame with 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)
Rockwood 1899 - oval frame without the word joker (entire deck)
Rube 2 - oval frame with word joker (entire deck)
Swiss Royal Family -  fancy oval frame
Toboggan - fancy oval frame   (entire deck)
Yacht  - oval frame with the word joker.(entire deck)

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 - These are distinguished by the word Joker included on the joker and the image is always in an oval.

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

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

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 deck). 

Moon Fairy - joker only. Note that this Moon Fairy has the word joker on it. There is another version that I have that does not have the word joker. You'll see it below in the Generation 2 section.

Martha Washington   (entire deck)

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.

Good Night

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
Naples Joker
Naples Congress 606

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. 

Kaatche - Anyone able to explain this name, Kaatche?
The 1906 Swiss Royal Family
Swiss Royal Family

Toboggan  (entire deck)  

Moorish Jokers

Congress 606 Matching Joker Themes

I think there are a few interesting themes of Congress cards. For instance, one theme is the exotic Mediterranean North African theme of which I have Oasis, Moorish, and Naples: 

Other themes:  Native Americans, Presidents and Royalty, Greek Mythology, and American scenes such as Spinning Wheel, Rube, Anticipation, and Good Night. 

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

Note on generations.  For me, this Anticipation is a second generation matching joker since I focus on the jokers and  the distinction for me between Gen 2 & 3 is whether the frame is fancy or not.  The Congress Guy would call this a 3rd Generation Matching joker due to the simpler version of the ace of spades.