Java playing cards: indigenous inhabitants of the island Nias

around 1885

Around 1885, orders for Stralsund playing cards come from as far afield as the island of Java. They portray the indigenous inhabitants of the island Nias. The factory mark is on the king cards, which carry the image of a Dutch military commander. Colonial architecture in Batavia is on the aces. The playing cards delight young and old, rich and poor, sometimes even friend and foe. An integral element in global culture, they belong to the history of Homo ludens, people at play, who develop skills through games. Just a year before the Stralsund playing card factory moved to Altenburg, the business journal Hamburgs Handel 1930 reports under the headline 'A global house of playing cards: The manufacture of playing cards has a long tradition in its Pomeranian home, and in this position has given the town by the Strelasund Sound an intellectual face with characteristic features. The excellent quality of the Stralsund playing cards and their universal popularity have hence acquired a global standing. …

Stralsund playing cards have become trademark items due to their evidently greater merits compared with other makes: their outstanding smoothness, their resistance to splitting and their durability, and above all due to the excellent quality of their printing." The genuine items from Stralsund now travel the world.


Text: S. K.

The exhibit refers to:

Western Pomerania until 1945

Look here for the original exhibit:

Spielkartenfabrik Museumswerkstatt Stralsund

Spielkartenfabrik Museumswerkstatt Stralsund

Katharinenberg 35
18439 Stralsund