In 1806, Johann H. Löschenkohl, a goldsmith and popular Viennese engraver, produced copper engravings for two decks of cards, one known generally in English as “Musical Playing Cards” and the other known as “Botanical Playing Cards.” In 1981 and 1978, respectively, Piatnik made gorgeous editions of these designs in limited edition sets.
For sale here is Piatnik’s edition of the Botanical Playing Cards, described as follows by noted playing card collector and authority Rod Starling, in an issue of “Clear the Decks,” the publication of 52 Plus Joker, the leading card collectors club in the United States:
“In 1806 J.H. Loschenkohl produced a second copper-engraved deck, Botanisches Kartenspeil (Botanical Playing Cards). The original of this deck as well as the Musical Playing Cards, were produced shortly before Loschenkohl’s death. In regard to this particular Botanical deck, legal action was taken against Loschenkohl by other Viennese card makers that resulted in an injunction by the court against its publication. As a result, only three copies of this deck are known to exist! Two are uncolored and one is colored but missing six cards.
“In 1978, Piatnik issued a nicely boxed, numbered facsimile edition of the deck with a 129-page German/English book. It was produced by permission of the Austrian Museum of Applied Art, (which holds the colored deck missing the six cards), and the Cincinnati Art Museum who permitted reproduction of those six missing cards from its uncolored deck thus completing the facsimile edition. The book carries the number of the deck and describes the historical setting for its creation. It also gives biographical details of the artist and identifies various elements of the deck. Each pip card is graced with a delicate floral design and the court cards are full figure, named, historical characters.”
The set here for sale does not include the box or the 129-page book. Instead, there is a list in Dutch of the cards in the deck. I do not know the history of this deck and its separation from the original packaging, except that I purchased it from a seller in the Netherlands. It is complete at 52 suited cards (never a joker). The cards are slightly small measuring 85mm x 58mm, and come in a plastic box that is not original.
The cards are in mint condition. The paper insert is “as new.”
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