The International Playing-Card Society

IPCS Home Page | IPCS Publications Page | Index of Pattern Sheets on the web


Suit System:I
Recommended Name:  the Viennese Trappola, with some variants.


The earliest example of this pattern the writer has so far found is a pack by Franz Schenleitner of Steyr in Upper Austria, dated 1715 (Cary, AUS 90). It has single-figure Court cards, a feature retained at least into the first decade of the next century, except in Graz. It was employed principally in Vienna but also in other areas of Austria as well as Brünn/Brno in Moravia. Double-headed Court cards were made in Graz from at least 1782, and from the turn of the century in Vienna and on more than one occasion in Prague.

Characteristic cards are as follows: (1) King of Swords wears a turban under a spiked crown; (2) King of Cups wears a heavily feathered crown; (3) Cavalier of Swords wears a Phrygian cap and his horse is no longer rearing; (4) Jack of Cups wears a turban with frontal cockade; (5) Jack of Swords has usually a flat hat with two feathers, a moustache and a scimitar; (6) Jack of Batons has heavily feathered headgear but in the Graz variant the hat has lost its feathers but gained a peak at the side; (7) Ace of Cups usually has a perching bird but the Graz variant has the rampant heraldic eagle; (8) Ace of Coins sometimes has a human or lion's face; (9) Coins usually circular but sometimes shown as rosettes; (10) 2 of Swords sometimes includes a partial view of the maker's city and name, or some other inscription. A short-lived variant appeared in Vienna in the 1820s, mainly with exaggerated detail: this was made by Rudolph and Franz Kerböck. Otherwise, differences in the pattern were mainly a matter of individual makers' styles.

It seems likely that the game lost its popularity in the provinces in the first half of the 19th century, or it may be that Vienna, Prague and Budapest had more or less a monopoly for card-making. The pattern continued to be made, mainly in Vienna, until the 1890s. It seems to have been superseded by a pattern made in the three centres mentioned above (see [IPCS #43]) and/or the Prague Trappola (see [IPCS #42]).


As for [IPCS #40].

Some Makers

(other than those mentioned above). Joseph Fetscher, Graz, Styria, 1739; Johan Georg Pichler, Linz, Upper Austria, c.1770; Joseph Schmid, Linz, Upper Austria, 19th century; Traszlerische Kartenfab., Brunn/Brno, Moravia, late 18th century; Leopold Milchram, Graz, Styria, 1782; J. Christophe Estl, Vienna, c.1790; Johann Obermayr, Vienna, 1795; Peter Schachner, Wels, Upper Austria, 1803, 1810; Johann Nepomuk Holdhaus, Vienna (Graz variant), c.1810; Aloysi Hofman, Vienna, 1807; Paul Groeschel, Vienna, c.1815; Mathias Koller, Vienna, 1814, 1825; Norbert Hoffmann, Vienna, 1810; Johann Herrl, Graz, Styria, 1803; Anton Herrl, Graz, Styria, c.1810; Emil Klogner, Prague, Bohemia, c.1845; Gebrüder Siegl, Vienna, 1868; Alex Grosheim, Graz, Styria, 1852; Johan Nejedly, Vienna, c.1860; Josef Glanz, Vienna, c.1860 on; Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna, c.1885 on.

Sources of Information

SPIELKARTEN: Schaffhausen, 1988.

ALL CARDS ON THE TABLE: Sylvia Mann, Leinfelden, 1990.


BUBE, DAME, KÖNIG: Berlin, 1982.

SPIELKARTEN: Sigmar Radau, Munich, 1991.


WIENER KARTENMACHER DES 19. JAHRHUNDERTS, Wolfgang Altfahrt, Berlin, 1990.

The Viennese Trappola

Illustration of Viennese Trappola (jpg 568 x 841)
Top and middle rows: single-figure cards by Aloysi Hofman, Vienna, 1807.
Lower row: typical double headed Graz variant by Leopold Milchram, Graz, 1782.

The International Playing-Card Society 7/1993

For comments please contact the Pattern Sheet Editor: Kay Stolzenburg (

IPCS Home Page | IPCS Publications Page | Index of Pattern Sheets on the web

This page is maintained by John McLeod ( and Kay Stolzenburg (
Last updated 13th September 2010