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Suit System:I
Recommended Name:  the Prague Trappola.


This pattern has two formats, one large, one smaller. The former would appear to have been the earlier: details of design are the same in both but the large has elongated measurements, c.136 x 58mm as opposed to c.106 x 58mm. From different sources the earliest example of the large format so far discovered is double-headed, by Johan Ciser of Prague, and variously dated as 1740, 1750 or "nearer" 1780. The only single-figure example of the Prague Trappola known to the writer was of the large format and made by Johan Wagner in Pest in c.1810. Anton Herbst of Prague was another early maker of large format cards in 1769, but after the turn of the century packs of both formats came thick and fast from Prague, Budweis, Vienna and even Trieste. The small format emerged in the first decade of the 19th century and outlasted the large in both Prague and Vienna and was played with up until 1946 - the last Trappola pack to be made anywhere - although a 19th century pack made in Stralsund, Germany, was on sale in Germany until the late 1930s.

The Prague Trappola shares several designs with [IPCS #41], but a comparison of the designs will show that here the King of Swords has lost his turban, the Jack of Swords has a more crown-hugging headgear although still with a feather, the coins are usually rosettes, and the Cavalier of coins wears a tricorn hat. The face, animal or human, mentioned under [IPCS #41] quickly became a standard feature and the natural bird perches on the Ace of Cups.


As for [IPCS #40].

Some Makers

Johan Ciser, Prague, Bohemia, c.1745; Anton Herbst, Prague, 1769; Mathias Rothmiller, Prague, 1784; Jacob Wokaun, Prague, c.1808; Wenzl Cerauschek, Prague, c.1810; Johan Wagner, Pest, c.1810; Joseph Schmid, Linz, c.1820; Karl Weiberzahn, Budweis, c.1810; Ceregetti, Znojmo, Moravia, 1808; Andr. Melzer, Prague, 1834; Wenzel Sewera, 1835; Joseph Gezek, Prague, 1838; Anton Rasch, Prague, 1846; Em. Klogner, Prague, c.1860-1880s; Fran Macchi, Prague, c.1860; C. Borek, Prague, c.1860; Johann Nejedly, Vienna, c.1860; Alois Machaczek, Budweis, 1858; Wenzel Klogner, Prague, c.1880; Joseph Glanz, Vienna, c.1880; Jan Ritter, Prague, c.1882; F. Piatnik Synové Viden, Prague, c.1885; Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna, c.1885; Filip Fischl, Prague, c.1900; Anton Kratochvil, Prague, c.1905; S.D. Modiano, Trieste, c.1905; F. Navratil, Prague, c.1880; P. Horacek, Prague, c.1865; Ceska Grafická "Unie", Prague, 1930s-40s.

Sources of Information

HRACÍ KARTY V PRAZE: Catalogue from the Muzeum Hlavního Mésta Prahy, 1989.

ALL CARDS ON THE TABLE: Sylvia Mann, Leinfelden, 1990.

BUBE, DAME, KÖNIG, Berlin, 1974.


SPIELKARTEN: Sigmar Radau, Munich,1991.

Much cooperation from the Curator of the United States Playing Card Co. Collection, from Herr Klaus Reisinger, and several other members of the International Playing-Card Society.

The Prague Trappola

Illustration of Prague Trappola (jpg 637 x 903)
Top row: single-figure large format, by Johann Wagner, Pest, c.1810. (Reisinger collection).
Middle Row: double-headed, large format, by Em. Klogner, Prague, c.1860.
Lower row: double headed, small format, by J.Ritter, Prague, c.1890.

The International Playing-Card Society 7/1993

For comments please contact the Pattern Sheet Editor: Kay Stolzenburg (

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