Bernhard Dondorf has entered the history of playing cards as an innovative German manufacturer born and based in Frankfurt. His lithography company, founded in 1833, worked for 100 years elevating printing technology to the category of graphic art.
The Dondorf “Four Continents” deck was designed by Friedrich Karl Hausmann, a friend of Dondorf’s, and first published in 1870 and multiple reissues were made over the years with different variations and formats. The original had square corners and did not yet have indexes (the first patented deck with indexes dates back to 1864). For this edition, elegant indexes have been designed that facilitate the identification of the cards in their four corners (left-handers friendly).
This new edition presents a delicate restoration of the original in which each suit represented a different “continent” (America, Europe, Africa and Asia) through the court cards clothing and accessories of different characters framed in the social, political and religious life of the time.
The aces offer us images related to each of the continents.
The numbered cards show background scenes, painted in a grisaille style to give them more depth, and related to the theme of each continent with the pips overprinted and surrounded by golden circles.
The original deck did not have jokers but in this edition two used by Dondorf during that time have been included.
Two extra cards will also be included with a description of the images of each card, grouped by suits.
For the campaign, three collector’s editions have been created with three different colors on the back and tuck case. The two standard decks, in red and blue, with indexes in the four corners, and a special edition in copper, without indexes, like the original.
The back is a reconstructed version of the Dondorf originals in which the symmetry has been corrected to be perfect (except for the initials in the center).
The tuck cases are inspired by the Dondorf models and have been lavishly decorated and full of details for this project.
Each tuck case will have a customized seal with a round shape.
You can also get special gilded versions in the three different colors
The decks will be printed at the USPCC with their well-known quality.
The campaign is widely funded and still have some stretch goals to unlock like a “mini” edition or a case upgrade. If you want to get these historical reproductions, visit the project website and raise your pledge.