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German War Playing-cards (Deutsche Kriegs Spielkarte)

During the First World War, the Vereinigte Stralsunder Spielkartenfabriken (VSS) edited at least four war packs with German suit-signs. Three of them are in my collection. The best-known and most common is the

which was produced by the Altenburg branch (Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik). The Deutsche Kriegs Spielkarte was edited in several slightly different versions. The cards shown are from the second edition, from autumn 1915. From this 'standard' size, almost a million packs were printed.

The cards were designed by Fritz von Lindenau and most probably (because of the similarity to the Deutsche Luftfahrer Spielkarte) painted by Georg Koch. The Deuces show the coats of arms of Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria, and Württemberg. On the court cards are reigning persons, military leaders, and politicians. The pip cards show military scenes, except the Ten of Acorns (order 'Pour le Mérite') and Nine of Acorns (Iron Cross).

On the back are the Imperial Eagle and Iron Crosses.

The pack was also printed with 36 cards. The Sixes each show words by Emperor Wilhelm II, Bethmann Hollweg, Crown Prince Rupprecht resp. a motto. The Sixes shown are from a pack from the first edition.

© Peter Endebrock, 01 Dec. 2002