This antique German Schafkopf (or, “Sheepshead”) card deck with original scorecard comes in a fine, red-toned leather case. Created and sold in 1901 by the Paul Prause Company of Germany, the leather case snaps shut to keep the game components secure. As this is a standard Schafkopf card deck, only 32 cards are presented from Ace to 7 of each of the four suits. Note that court cards are marked in German; hence, the use of “K” (King), “D” (Queen), and “B” (Knight).
According to Hoyle (c. l963), Schafkopf is “an old Middle European game” that has "continued to be played under a variety of rules.” Indeed, German Americans know well that a game of “Sheepshead” often involves negotiating table rules, much like poker.
Schafkopf is typically played with three to five players, although two-, six-, and even seven-player versions exist. Hoyle only describes the three-handed game, which may mean that it is the original. In fact, the oldest version was probably for four players in fixed partnerships. 19th-century German and early-20th century American rule books include versions for 4, 6, 8 and 3 players. Three-player Sheepshead became dominant in American card game books in the mid-20th century, but the other versions continued in parallel. All rule variants can easily be found via the Internet.
Dogbotz co-owner Patrick Price first learned the game while living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he experienced all player variations of the game, though he much prefers the five-handed version above all the others. He was delighted when he found this vintage leather case and its deck at an estate sale and hope it finds its way to an avid Schafkopf player or a collector of card decks or other items reflective of German-American culture.
Overall, the deck of cards, score pad and leather case are in excellent vintage condition. The gilt-edged playing cards are free of creases, tears and frayed edges. The score pad is a bit yellowed from more than a century of age. And, the leather case remains in a wonderful state, with some creasing apparent on the folds of the case. Note that there is a small loop holder for a pencil; however, the original pencil has been lost some time in the past.
The exterior of the leather case bears the Paul Prause logo. On the inside of the case, the name “Paul Prause” appears along with the place of manufacture and the date “1901.”
All in all, this Schafkopf card deck with leather case is a collector’s dream!
Note: As part of our Annual Summertime Sale, purchase of the Antique Paul Prause Schafkopf Card Game in Leather Case comes with a free $10 Dogbotz Boneyard gift certificate, which can be redeemed during a future purchase at our online store. The expiration date of the gift certificate is one year after purchase of this item.