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Suit System:G
Recommended Name:  the Saxon pattern.


This pattern seems to have been developed mainly by Leipzig and Dresden cardmakers. The earliest examples found so far are known as "Jagdsemmelkarten", i.e. a medley of at least three different packs by Leipzig makers of the second quarter of the 18th Century.

Around the beginning of the 18th Century the Saxon single-figure pattern established itself in a form that we may classify as the older line or variant. It is distinguished by an overall archaic, stern design. Very few examples were produced through the 19th into the 20th Century, the Altenburg Schwerterkarte being the most familiar one. Around the beginning of the 19th Century a newer variant appeared in a modernised, almost lavish design, compared with the former. Both variants have frontally seated Kings, Ober and Unter of civilian Status and Daus cards with an unmistakably Saxon veneer. Typical are the huge lion on the Daus of Acorns, with a scroll above and escutcheons below, and lovers watched by a third party on the Daus of Hawk-Bells; the Unter of Bells holds a bird in one hand. The pip-card illustrations display ornamental appendages: domestic animals, fabulous monsters, biblical scenes, etc. As in every detail the newer variant is more versatile here too. From the last quarter of the 19th Century the double-figured version slowly but inexorably ousted the single-figured version.


At first, 36 cards; after the spread of Skat usually 32 cards: 4 suits comprising Daus, King, Ober, Unter, 10 - 7 or 10 - 6.

Some Makers

Apart from Saxon makers (who most likely all produced the pattern): Lattmann, Goslar; Ludwig & Schmidt, Halle/Saale; Sutor, Naumburg; Vereinigte Stralsunder Fabriken; Frommann, Darmstadt; Wüst, Frankfurt; Bürgers, Köln; Flemming & Wiskott, Glogau.

Sources of Information

HOFFMANN, Detlef: Spielkarten, Frankfurt/M, 1972.

SUMA, Wolfgang: Sachsenkarte-SchwerterKarte (IN) The Playing-Card,VIII/l, 1979, pp.16.

SUMA, Wolfgang: Die Jagdsemmelkarten: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des sächsischen Bildes (IN) The Playing-Card, XII/3, pp.92-96.

SUMA, Wolfgang: Comments on the Single-figure Saxon Pattern (IN) The Playing-Card, XXII/2, 1993, pp.41-48, 60.

The Saxon Pattern

Illustration of Saxon pattern (jpg 907 x 1082)
(top row) Older Version (Bechstein);
(middle) Newer Version (Vereinigte Stralsunder Spielkarfenfabrik);
(bottom) Double-figured versions (A.S.S., c.1965).

The International Playing-Card Society 6/1995 WS

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Last updated 13th September 2010