Two decks of cards made by Altenburger Spielkarten Fabrik Schneider & Co. c.1932, for Norddeutscher Lloyd lines, no doubt given to voyagers on the SS Bremen. The cards include a beautiful “cherubic” Ace of Spades (i.e., with putti) that shows the ASS logo at the top; I have not seen this Ace before, but it may be more common than I know.
At first glance these may seem to be the same cards and boxes as the VASS Bremen cards also listed in this shop (see, T00001720). The backs are the same design – the 3 Norddeutscher ships (i.e., the Bremen, its sister ship, the Europa, and the earlier built Columbus) – and the boxes appear to be the same. However, the boxes are different in a couple of respects, and there are many differences to the faces of the cards. First, the fronts of the VASS boxes show the Bechstein logo, while the fronts of these boxes show the ASS logo. Second, these boxes state (accurately) that there are 54 cards in the deck, while the VASS boxes state (accurately) that there are 53 cards in the deck. Third, the Joker is different, and these ASS decks have an “extra joker,” albeit blank. Fourth, the VASS decks have the Bechstein logo Ace of Spades, while these have putti Ace noted. Fifth, these cards have different court designs – very different – and the royal faces are not “tanned.” Each deck includes a card with “Vanderbilt-Kontracht-Bridge” scoring on one side and rules on the other side. Finally, one of the decks has an additional card, greenish in color, which warns voyagers of “sharpers” – almost certainly a reference to card sharps/sharks.
Each deck has 52 cards, plus an early ASS Joker, an Extra Joker (blank) plus the bridge scoring card noted. There is also the greenish “cardsharp” card noted. The box states that these are Poker decks, and the cards are wide, measuring 89mm x 64mm, with gold gilt at the corners. Each deck is in its original box.
The cards in both decks are in exceptional condition, “as new” or very nearly so, with virtually all gold gilt intact. The boxes are in no better than very good condition, structurally intact, but with handwriting and a small tear on the front of the red box, and handwriting and rustlike stains on the back of the blue box.
Each deck is for sale separately for $45. If the decks are sold separately, the greenish “cardsharp” card will travel with the first to be sold.
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