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Suit System:F
Recommended Name:  the Trente et Quarante pattern, this being the name of a casino gambling game for which these cards are used.

The name is often found on wrappers or boxes. Formerly illustrated, in JPCS Vol. VIII No.2, erroneously, as an example of F-1.41 XP6 (XP for eXpatriate Paris).


On a sample sheet in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, an example by C.L. Wüst, there estimated (probably optimistically) to be c.1820, is labelled in pencil "Trente et Quarante - Hamburg Wiesbaden Ems Monaco etc", these being the names of places with casinos. This example uses the traditional palette of red, yellow and blue. Later examples by other makers use red, yellow and green (similar to that commonly used for the Genoese pattern), probably following a lead set by B.P. Grimaud in c.1890. By c.1928 John Waddington of Leeds was making packs copied from Grimaud's design, including the name F. SIMON on the shield of JC. Packs of this pattern, packaged as Casino Series No. 4444, were exported to a Milanese importer (along with a Baccarat pack based on the Genoese pattern). Cards of this type were later packaged for use in England during World War II as "Unique Style Playing Cards", with a legend on the box assuring English players that the cards were usable for normal games, despite the unusual courts. The design was being produced in Italy in the 1980s, and presumably is still.

Characteristic features

The cards are smaller than usual: 80x50mm. All cards have a double line frame. No indices (except in Waddington's "Unique Style" packs). Packs often have plain backs - a further sign of casino use.

Compared with the typical version of XP6, the changes in design are small, but seem to have become set in the Grimaud mould. KC grasps the front edge of the frame of his harp, while KC is a mirror-image, with his free hand clearly shown. QD is also in mirror-image, and is a re-designed figure showing her free hand. JD now has his head turned, facing three-quarters to the viewer's left.

The earlier version is best exemplified by an example in the Cary collection, HOL 5, which is assigned to Holland because the tax-stamp has been wrongly identified. It is actually German, dating from 1809-66; the letters H N C W C on it represent Herzoglich-Nassauische Civil-Witwen Casse. The chief town of Hesse-Nassau was Frankfurt, which is in keeping with the visual evidence that the pack is by Wüst. The pack has the changes to KS KC QD and JD as described above, but the figures of JS and JC are interchanged.

The Hamburg example retains the shield-less JS figure as JC, but its JS uses another similar JS figure from a different Wüst design also in the same reduced size. That design has a quite different KC holding a long sceptre aslant over one shoulder. Boris Mandrovsky (in the Papers of Leinfelden) described this design and labelled it XP6a, as a candidate for standard status. It is now clear that the only three known versions were all due to Wüst. An anonymous example is identical to that of Wüst. One bearing the names of Steinberger and Müller is a trivial alteration of Wüst's plate; Steinberger had been apprenticed to Wüst. On this evidence XP6a does not qualify as a standard pattern.


King, Queen, Jack and numerals. Plain aces. 52 cards.

Some other makers

Viuda de B(raulio) Fournier, Burgos, 1920-5. Modiano, Trieste, 1966; Dal Negro, Treviso, 1967; Italcards, Bologna, 1987.

The Trente et Quarante pattern

Illustration of Trente et Quarante pattern (jpg 910 x 560)
Above: Trente et Quarante by B P Grimaud, c.1940.
For comparison below is an anonymous example of the once so-called XP6a, which does not qualify as a standard pattern in its own right because the only known versions appear to have stemmed from Wüst about 1860. (Both from the collection of John Berry).
Illustration of XP6a (jpg 919 x 559)

The International Playing-Card Society 6/1997 JB

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Last updated 13th September 2010