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Author Topic: A very odd thing about the King of Hearts in your pack of playing cards....  (Read 5071 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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As you can see, the King of Hearts is the only one with a sword through his head...more interestingly though (at least to me) the King of Hearts is the only one without a gigolo-style moustache.

The Kings all look as though are about the same age so the King of Hearts' moustachelessness can't be because the King of Hearts is simply too young to grow a tash. Quite the opposite.

Like the other three, the King of Hearts sports a very lush curly beard. But no silly moustache.

Is there some hidden significance to this? Why is the King of Hearts the only one without a moustache?
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Offline siasl

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He's also known as the "suicide king", considering the position of his sword.

My recollection is that they are all based on real kings - one site posits: "The king of spades is David of the David and Goliath story, clubs is Alexander the Great, diamonds is Julius Caesar, and hearts is Charlemagne!"

Regarding the 'tache, no idea.

imfeduptoo

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It depends which pattern the card maker followed - they are not all exactly the same.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_playing_cards#Rouennais_pattern

I found five packs of cards in my cupboard - four of the kings of hearts did have a moustache along with a beard and one of them had his sword by his side rather than through his head.




Offline P-Kasso2

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It depends which pattern the card maker followed - they are not all exactly the same.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_playing_cards#Rouennais_pattern

I found five packs of cards in my cupboard - four of the kings of hearts did have a moustache along with a beard and one of them had his sword by his side rather than through his head.

A very interesting and lengthy link, Mrs Too but unfortunately I couldn't find any references to moustaches anywhere in it! So my question still awaits an answer...

Why is the King of Hearts the only one without a moustache?  Is there any significance to this?

I am referring purely to the King of Heart's moustache as it appears (or rather disappears) in English packs of playing cards.

PS Siasl, I'd never heard the expression 'the suicide king' about the King of Hearts before. I like it!
« Last Edit: 05 March, 2016, 07:59:02 AM by P-Kasso2 »
"I live in hope"

imfeduptoo

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It depends which pattern the card maker followed - they are not all exactly the same.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_playing_cards#Rouennais_pattern

I found five packs of cards in my cupboard - four of the kings of hearts did have a moustache along with a beard and one of them had his sword by his side rather than through his head.

A very interesting and lengthy link, Mrs Too but unfortunately I couldn't find any references to moustaches anywhere in it! So my question still awaits an answer...


Why is the King of Hearts the only one without a moustache?  Is there any significance to this?

I am referring purely to the King of Heart's moustache as it appears (or rather disappears) in English packs of playing cards.

PS Siasl, I'd never heard the expression 'the suicide king' about the King of Hearts before. I like it!


My point was that I have four packs of cards, made and bought in England, where he does have a moustache and only one pack where he doesn't, so it seems it's unusual to see him without one.

The only sensible answer to this question that I can find is that it was a fault in the woodblock.

Perhaps, when cards later were mass produced some companies copied these early models while others designed their own and gave him a moustache to match the other suits.

"Most standard English playing cards used today derived from the original French models produced in the mid-16th century. For the purpose of mass production, the earliest cards were printed using woodblocks. Disfiguring occurred over the centuries as unskilled block makers distorted the original designs, resulting in hands, symbols of office and other attributes losing their meaning. Among the many distortions that took effect, the King of Hearts not only lost his moustache, but the axe he was originally holding became a sword."
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/01/23/1074732585442.html

I



Offline P-Kasso2

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My point was that I have four packs of cards, made and bought in England, where he does have a moustache and only one pack where he doesn't, so it seems it's unusual to see him without one.

The only sensible answer to this question that I can find is that it was a fault in the woodblock.


Perhaps, when cards later were mass produced some companies copied these early models while others designed their own and gave him a moustache to match the other suits.

"Most standard English playing cards used today derived from the original French models produced in the mid-16th century. For the purpose of mass production, the earliest cards were printed using woodblocks. Disfiguring occurred over the centuries as unskilled block makers distorted the original designs, resulting in hands, symbols of office and other attributes losing their meaning. Among the many distortions that took effect, the King of Hearts not only lost his moustache, but the axe he was originally holding became a sword."
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/01/23/1074732585442.html



So it's all just a printer's error! And I was absolutely sure there was some murky conspiracy here, probably involving morris dancers and druids and dastardly Frenchmen. How wrong can I be? Thank you Mrs Too for the whiff of sanity.
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Offline Cosmos

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Oddly enough the 'English' cards deck is the only one where the king of hearts has no moustache. As you can see in this link the French king Charles is fully bearded and mustachioed https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roi_de_c%C5%93ur It's possible that the king was derived from the cards historically used in the Bergamo region of Italy where he was also without facial hair.

It seems to me that another 'mistake' is a possible explanation for what happened. Originally suits had fourteen cards with the high ranks as page, knight, queen, king. Perhaps the page was mistakenly used as the king at some point in conversion from fourteen to thirteen cards per suit.
Bare barbarer barberer rabarbera bra .

Offline P-Kasso2

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Oddly enough the 'English' cards deck is the only one where the king of hearts has no moustache. As you can see in this link the French king Charles is fully bearded and mustachioed https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roi_de_c%C5%93ur It's possible that the king was derived from the cards historically used in the Bergamo region of Italy where he was also without facial hair.

It seems to me that another 'mistake' is a possible explanation for what happened. Originally suits had fourteen cards with the high ranks as page, knight, queen, king. Perhaps the page was mistakenly used as the king at some point in conversion from fourteen to thirteen cards per suit.

Interesting last point there, Cosmos. I suppose that, given the long, long history of playing cards, the truth about the King's disappearing mustachios is either lost in time or shrouded in fogbanks of mystery.

But I like your theory very much and, for me at least, that neatly clears up the mystery.
"I live in hope"