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.
Martha Washington (entire deck)
Diana. 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.
|Rockwood Congress 606 - 1899|
|Naples Congress 606|
|Swiss Royal Family|
Toboggan (entire deck)
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.
- 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.