|Alta Carta||The Alternative for the
Playing Card Collector
There are three main-versions, which are called: DDR 1, DDR 2 and DDR 3. All cards show German suits and no index on the Aces, but sometimes combined with indices of K, O, U or K, D, B on the court cards. The early versions have frames around the cards; later ones mostly are without frames.
The DDR 1 Pattern:
In the first printing of 1964, the Under of Heart wears red clothing. In the second edition of 1965 the Under of Heart has changed to a blue shirt. Mister Franz Braun named it "Neue Altenburger Spielkarte I". Sylvia Mann describes it in "All cards on the table" as DDR 1 cat. no. 121 and shows it as no.124 (slightly confused). They were sold under the name "Skat 100 Kristall". This stands for the reverse side and all decks of different patterns with this backside were sold as such. Boxes with this name are made since 1964. Therefore, it is possible that you have a deck from 1969 with a box from 1964. The amount of different decks does not match the variations of boxes.
The DDR 2 Pattern:
The first version was not successful. In 1966, there appeared a new edition with modified figures on the court cards. F. Braun named it "Neue Altenburger Spielkarte II". S. Mann describes it as no. 122 and shows it as no. 123 (continually confused).
The DDR 3 Pattern:
This version originates from 1969 and was sold publicly. F. Braun named it "Neue Altenburger Spielkarte III". S. Mann describes it as no. 123 and shows it as no. 121.
For the Skat tournament of 1965, queens appeared instead of Obers. These cards should be the link between French and German suits and indices. In Germany there is a dispute, which cards are better for playing Skat. The backsides of the cards show escutcheons of the towns, in which the tournament took place. F. Braun named it "Turnier-Skatkarte I".
The second edition of "Turnier-Skatkarte" originates 1972. The backside motive changed annually. The sample shown is of 1977. The name is given from F. Braun. S. Mann shows this deck as no. 122 (incorrect) and the description is no. 124 (incorrect as well, and completely confusing).
Berliner Spielkartenfabrik modified the DDR 2 pattern as tribute to the new people of Federal Republic of Germany in 1991. Günter Hädeler delivered the modernised sketches.
The company "Carta Mundi" does the same a few years later.
A quite special surprise comes from Poland. For a few years the manufacturer Dertor Sp. Z.O.O., out of Warsaw, has been printing a deck for Skat. It shows the DDR 2 pattern with four Polish indexes.
Most cards are exact copies. Differences are on the Deuce of Hearts (it bears the name "Carta Regia"), the Deuce of Bells (compared to the original, is mirrored) and the pip cards of Leaves are newly drawn and arranged.
The designer of all three patterns (DDR 1-3) is Walter Krauss (1908-1985). His sketches are popular in East Germany, like the sketches of Adolphe Charlemagne for the Russian pattern in Russia.
Walter Krauss has also designed other decks. Some of them appear to be luxury versions of Standard patterns.
Others fulfil the privailing tastes and shows Pin-Up's or variations.