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Suit System:G
Recommended Name:  Bavarian Soldiers pattern (Bayerisches Soldatenbild).

In previous publications called "Bavarian pattern with historical scenes on the pip cards" (Hoffmann/Dietrich 1987) or "Bavarian pattern with soldiers’ scenes" (Hoffmann/Dietrich 1995).


This standard pattern of the post-Napoleonic time was not very long-lived, but it must have been a popular pattern in the newly founded Kingdom of Bavaria, especially in Munich. Examples are known made by seven cardmakers between c.1830 and c.1870. The earliest examples are by three makers from Munich. Around 1860/70, it was also copied by makers in Nuremberg and Weimar. The original design must be dated to 1810/20. Joseph Fetscher (I.) the Elder is supposed to be the inventor as the King of Acorns carries his coat-of-arms. With the uniformed drummer as Ober of Leaves and the flautist as Unter of Leaves the pattern belongs to the large family of standard patterns in Southern Germany derived from the Old Bavarian pattern [IPCS #53].

Characteristic features

Obers and Unters wear uniforms of post-Napoleonic times. The most prominent card is the Unter of Hearts: the staff fighter known from the Bavarian patterns wears the "caterpillar helmet" of the Bavarian army and carries a flag with the white-and-blue lozenges of Bavaria. The coat-of-arms of the Fetscher family is on an oval escutcheon on the King of Acorns. The Ober of Acorns (the highest card in Bavarian Schafkopf) is a small Napoleon with sword and shield!. The Ober of Bells carries a shield with a wreathed lion’s head. All Kings carry real crowns, which is unusual in Bavarian cards. The figures on the Deuces (Bacchus, Amor, pig, and eagle) known from the Old Bavarian pattern are decorated with scenes.

The pip cards show scenes from war and camp life with a lot of allusions to the Spanish war of succession of 1705 between Bavaria and Austria.

Two types are known, most easily distinguished by the Eight of Hearts:

Further differences: the King of Leaves holds up his left hand in type II (main de justice?). Also in type II, he and the King of Bells wear strikingly jagged crowns, while in type I they have broad crowns.


36 cards: Deuce, King, Ober, Unter, and illustrated numerals 10 (X) to 6.

Some Makers

Joseph Fetscher (II.) the Younger, München, c.1830;

Franz Joseph Hager, München, c.1830-1840;

Cajetan Göbl (II.) the Younger, München, c.1840-1860;

Traugott Kaspar Knaut, Weimar, c.1865;

Conrad Jegel (Succs.), Nürnberg, c.1870;

Joseph Arnold, Neuburg, c.1820 (?)

Some References

Hoffmann/Dietrich: Geschichte auf Spielkarten 1789-1871, 1987, p.244

Hoffmann/Dietrich: Kultur- und Kunstgeschichte der Spielkarten, 1995, pp.145/244

Manfred Hausler: Rautenfahne und Fatschenkindl - Das bayerische Soldatenbild, in Das Blatt No.24 pp.33–68

Bavarian Soldiers pattern (Bayerisches Soldatenbild)

Illustration of Bavarian soldiers pattern (jpg 953 x 1200)
Top and middle row: Joseph Hager, München, c.1840.
Bottom row left: two cards of type I, made by Joseph Hager.
Bottom row right: two cards of type II, made by Joseph Fetscher II.

The International Playing-Card Society 8/2002 MH

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