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Suit System:G
Recommended Name:  Nürnberger Adlerkarte (Nürnberg Eagle pattern).

This is the Nuremberg variant of the Old Bavarian pattern [IPCS #53]; it is sometimes erroneously called Franconian pattern, which is illustrated as [IPCS #83].


The introduction of this type of cards as a separate standard pattern is possibly daring, as all court cards with the exception of the Deuces are identical to those of the Old Bavarian pattern [IPCS #53]. The illustrations on the pip cards also come from the repertoire of that pattern. Yet the new type has been produced for many years by several card makers, mostly from Nuremberg. The marketing areas were originally in the Bavarian Electorate in Upper and Lower Bavaria, and the Upper Palatinate. In 1806 Bavaria became a Kingdom. The re-alignment of the final territory took until 1815, with Nuremberg coming to Bavaria in 1808, and her hinterland in 1810. From then on the Nuremberg card makers were domestic pro-ducers in Bavaria.

The earliest known copy of the pattern was made by Johann (Georg) Friedrich Backofen, and according to the tax stamp it was marketed before the annexation by Bavaria. The new design of the Deuce cards suggests a develop-ment in Napoleonic times, so that this variant of the older Bavarian pattern can be dated to c.1800. The latest known examples (from Jegel’s production) have a Royal Bavarian tax stamp valid from 1854 to 1874. After about 70 years the pattern disappeared without leaving a double-faced variant.

The name Adlerkarte is derived from the illustration of a double eagle on the Deuce of Leaves and a manuscript sales note on a sample sheet (Radau).

Characteristic features

On the throne of the King of Acorns is the divided coat-of-arms of Nuremberg. This is true for all known examples. In the late form made by Jegel, the relation to Nuremberg becomes even more distinct: He places the earlier arms of the former free city Nuremberg, the Noris, onto the throne of the King of Bells, and the double eagle of the former empire onto the King of Leaves.

Most characteristic for the pattern are the illustrations on the Deuces. Women in Empire style robes are standing besides classical columns on the Deuces of Hearts and Acorns; the Deuce of Bells shows a classical temple. In the majority of the known examples there is a double eagle above a bundle of weapons on the Deuce of Leaves. Occasionally the double eagle is replaced by a cartouche with the Bavarian lozenges.


36 cards: Deuce, King, Ober, Under, 10 to 6. Illustrated pip cards.

Some makers

Johann (Georg) Friedrich Backofen, Nürnberg

Johann Gottfried Backofen, Nürnberg

Johann Ernst Backofen, Nürnberg

Christian Heinrich Reuter, Nürnberg

Johann Conrad Jegel, Nürnberg

Georg Cäsar Bianchi, Rudolstadt


Manfred Hausler: Das Fränkische Bild, in: Das Blatt Nr. 29, Mai 2004.

Manfred Hausler: Augsburger Bild - Altbayerisches Bild, in: Das Blatt Nr. 21, Juli 2000.

Manfred Hausler: Das Bayerische Bild, Studien zur Spielkarte Nr. 4, Berlin,1993.

Nürnberger Adlerkarte

Illustration of Nürnberger Adlerkarte (jpg 978 x 1304)
Johann Conrad Jegel (Successor?), Nuremberg, c.1860; Collection Hausler.

The International Playing-Card Society 8/2004 MH

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Last updated 9th September 2010