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Suit System:F
Recommended name:   Modern Swedish pattern


In 1830 Alexander Boman started his independent activities as maker of playing cards and soon became the most successful entrepreneur in Sweden in this business. This was true of those who followed him in the management of the company. When the manufacturing of playing cards turned from woodcut to metal form, around 1870, the Boman company produced a pattern which became, to some extent, the Swedish standard pattern until the turn of the century when it was taken over by the short lived Svenske Kortfabriken. The most important competitor of Boman was Lithografiska AB at Norrköping founded in 1859. This company launched a “classic” pattern around 1875 which was similar to the Boman standard although not the same. This pattern was as successful as Boman’s for the next twenty years. Both patterns were later replaced by new cards designed in 1902 by J.O. Öberg & Son at Eskilstuna. These cards were drawn by the lithographer Cryssander, who had a close relationship with the Stralsund playing card factory, and they were inspired by German luxury cards. After trying different methods and techniques they ended up 1905 with a version that stayed unchanged for about twenty-five years. In 1931 AB Akerlund and Rausing at Stockholm started its playing card business, amongst others, with a modernized version of the Öberg pattern. This was presumably the reason why Öberg re-designed its pattern. This was done by Elisabeth Linge-Ackermann and launched in 1933. This version became the model for all the copies done by other manufacturers, who wanted to sell playing cards on the Swedish market, for the whole of the 20th century

Characteristic features

Each suit has a different main color: Mostlyit is purple for clubs, yellow for spades, red for hearts and blue for diamonds. Jacks: Jack of Clubs holds a lance, Jack of Spades holds a sword, Jacks of Hearts and Diamonds hold a halberd. Queens: Queen of Clubs holds an open fan, Queen of Spades a closed one, Queen of Hearts and Diamonds hold their right hand at the neckline (in some versions Queen of Hearts holds a rose). Kings: All Kings hold a sceptre, Kings of Clubs, Hearts and Diamonds in the left, King of Spades in the right hand (not always the same hands, in some versions complemented by an orb, sometimes King of Diamonds with a sword).


52 cards, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 to 2 (or 53 and more cards depending on the number of Jokers).

Some makers

J.O. Öberg & Son, Eskilstuna; AB Akerlund & Söner, Stockholm; F.X. Schmid, Vereinigte Münchner Spielkarten-fabriken, Prien; Carta Mundi, Turn-hout; Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne, Wien; TACTIC, Finnland; Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkartenfabriken, Leinfelden-Echterdin-gen; Berliner Spielkarten, Darmstadt; Hera-clio Fournier, Vitoria; Nürnberger Spiel-kartenverlag, Zirndorf; Offason, Vittsjö.

Some references

Jerremalm, Ali: Playing-cards from the Nordic Countries, Chartophilia Sueciä 2011, p.55ff; Jerremalm, Ali: De välkända figurerna, Kartofilen 1/99, p.7ff; Jerremalm, Ali: Die Spielkarten in Schweden 1892-1992, Köln 1996, p.74ff; Mann, Sylvia: All Cards on the Table, Leinfelden-Echterdingen und Marburg 1990, p.152ff; Janssen, Han: de geschiedenis van de Speelkaart, Rijswijk 1985, p.111.

Modern Swedish pattern

Top row: First version, J.O. Öberg & Son, Eskilstuna.
Second to fourth row: Second version, J.O. Öberg & Son, Eskilstuna.
Fifth row: Version of Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne, Wien.
Sixth row: The “Olsen” version, made by F.X. Schmid, München.

The International Playing-Card Society 03/2013 KST

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Last updated 13 July 2016