as a member of the ephemera society, i run across all kinds of interesting people. one such character is gejus van diggele. i have not made his acquaintance but i certainly believe he is a remarkable man with a specific interest. he has accumulated thousands of antique playing cards, each with the most beautiful graphics you have ever seen. what mr. diggele finds interesting, however, is the secondary use of playing cards. if i could only be so focused. in an article for the ephemera society, i learned about his interest and discovered his website where he investigates and speculates on any secondary purpose a card may have served. he writes, “why did people use playing cards on which to write? in the first place, because there were a lot more playing cards than sheets of writing paper….the first playing cards were made completely by hand. the great demand for them required mass production, so playing cards became a real industry in which the many makers competed fiercely with one another. to keep costs down, the backs of the playing cards were left blank.” ah! I never new this. when i read his article i went through my playing card collection and found these two examples with writing on them. (of course i have a playing card collection! don’t you?) I remember buying them at a paper fair for their stark and simple beauty. mr. diggele tells a story of buying an old playing card at the paris flea market and complaining to the touchy dealer that it had writing on one side in order to obtain a better price—when in fact that was his main interest in buying the card. we all have our secrets. i have neither the knowledge nor mr. diggele’s passion but i do share the desire to discover. i am rewarded by the wonderful simplicity and beauty that these cards possess. i sent pictures of my cards to mr. diggele but never heard back. maybe you can help unravel my cards’ story?