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Suit System:G
Recommended name:   Lemberg pattern

Alternative name: Mohren-Deutsche, Polnische National, Najprzedniejsze Lwowskie, Klabowre

History and some makers

The oldest known pack is made c.1815 by Johann Norbert Hofmann in Vienna. Most certainly he invented this pattern, because of increasing interest in exotic people and their behaviour. About one half of the cards show figures and motifs of black men in Africa, the other from oriental Europe as ruled by Turks, and from China. From the capital of Vienna, the pattern spread to the eastern parts of the empire. From c.1825, examples are known by Johann Wagner in Pest and Daniel Reich in Kronstadt (now Bra?ov in Romania). Around 1850, several drawings changed (see below); Klaus Reisinger – the late expert in card patterns of the Austrian empire, whose research is reflected here – named the new type as Type II. From c.1870 on practically all card makers in Vienna produced such “Mohren-Deutsche” (Moors cards with German suit signs), as stated on wrappers. The big card factory Ferdinand Piatnik delivered a lot of packs to the Austrian Crown Land Galicia (1772-1918) with its capital Lemberg/Lwów – where this pattern then was used as a standard – and printed “Einköpfige Lem­berger” (single headed, Lemberg type) on the wrappers. For use in Vienna, Lower and Upper Austria, and Styria, they were named “Kaffeehaus-Deutsche (einköpfig)” on the wrappers until c.1900, when they were replaced there by the “Schweizer-Deutsche”, the Tell pattern. From c.1910 on, the story continued only in Galicia, where local producers “Pierwska Galicyiska Fabryka Kart do Gry Spólka Z Ogr. Poreka Lwów” (First Galician playing card factory, limited liability company in Lwów; brand sign a deer) and the 1913 succeeding “Towarzystwo Akcyjne dla Fabrykazyi Kart do Gry, Wyrobów Papierowych, i Przemyslu Litograficzne GD we Lwowie” (joint stock company for playing card production, paper manufacturing and lithographic industry in Lwów; with brand name NIL, brand sign a camel rider) began to compete on the market, by imitating Piatnik’s drawings. After World War I, Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne AG offered there – forming now part of Poland ­– the former “Lemberger” under the name “Polnische National” (Polish National), but was successful only from 1926 on using the name “Najprzedniejsze Lwowskie” (super finest Lemberg type), produced from “Krakówska Fabryka Kart do Gry”, Piatnik’s newly established branch in Kraków. After World War II it became nationalized, and produced under the name “Krakówskie Zaklady Wyrobów Papierowych” (KZWP) further packs with this pattern, called “Klabowre” in Poland. According to Sylvia Mann, this pattern disappeared with the implementation of the free market in 1989 – after around 170 years.

Characteristic features

Type I: Daus cards: on Hearts an allegory of love; on Bells a girl with two flower baskets; on Leaves and Acorns a moor in tropical environment. The kings sit on horseback, remaining cards show either moors, Chinamen, or few Europeans.

Type II, differing features: King of Leaves riding on a now furious horse, nearly all motifs on numerals changed.


36 cards: Daus, King, Ober, Unter, X to VI; after c.1850 mostly with WELI card (‘an elder brother of the JOKER’ – six of bells with inscription “WELI”, see IPCS #46 ). 32 cards: minus the VI cards.

Some references

REISINGER, Klaus „Mohren-Deutsche“ in Talon N° 9/2000, Österr.-Ungar. Spielkartenverein Wien/Budapest, p. 35-50 and in Herz, Schelle, Laub, Eichel, Wien 2004, vol. 2 p.193-256.

MANN, Sylvia Alle Karten auf den Tisch – All Cards on the Table, Leinfelden and Marburg 1990; vol.I p.102,265.

For the WELI card: BLAAS, Peter “Neues vom Spielkarten-WELI” in Talon N° 17/2008; p. 2-27.

Lemberg pattern, Mohren-Deutsche

upper row: Johann Norbert Hofmann in Vienna c.1815 (Type I, coll. Techn. Museum Wien)
middle row: Johann Nejedly in Ottakring near Vienna, c.1875 (Type II, Blaas coll.)
bottom row: NIL factory in Lwów, c.1913 (Type II, Blaas coll.)

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Last updated 19th September 2011