Wagnerian cards C. 1866. This deck features scenes from Wagner's Loegnhrin and Tanhauser. The pips are highly stylized and the courts depict characters from the operas. I don't recall how I was lucky enough to come by these cards, but I think it was one of those things when I was in the right place at the right time.
Rubcke, Hamburg, Germany 1860 For a long time after I acquired this deck almost accidentally...as I was buying a small box which contained the cards as an afterthought...I didn't have an idea about them. This past year, while preparing a catalogue of the collection, I discovered several examples in reference works as well as past auctions. The courts depict native costumes and the aces illustrate locations near Hamburg. I've always liked the fine detail and colorful characters. Note each court card depicts two different trades.
Dondorf 4 Continents (Frequently refered to as 4 Corners of the World) . This brightly colored chromo deck about 1890 was one of my very first, and I bought it from a private collector who I met at a flea market. I later aquired the second version. The courts depict the 4 continents (what else?) and the pips are semi transformation.