These quartett decks are very rare and their origin has been unknown for a long time. They are also a bit mysterious, since most deck are identical to other card decks made by the Austrian cardmaker Piatnik, with a few exceptions, which are identical to some sets made by the German cardmaker FX Schmid. The only difference between them is the cover card (Titelblatt in German).
How is this possible?
In the quartettblog.wordpress.com there are a couple of entries dealing with “Tiger”.
According to this great blog, the Tiger Decks were made approximately between 1972 and 1980. The first series is dated 1972 and include several sets with a 2-digit reference number. Later series are dated by the end of the 70s and have 4-digit reference numbers, and even later, more sets were released without reference number. So, the cards presented here today date from the late 70s.
After some comment left by Christian Falkensteiner (the famous Matchbox collector) in that same blog, it seems clear that “Tiger” is the store brand of the famous German supermarket chain ALDI (HOFER in Austria). This theory hasn’t been proved yet, but it seems quite plausible: Aldi buys from Piatnik and FX schmid some card sets (maybe leftovers, discontinued, old stocks?) and resells them just with a new cover card that unifies the collection.
That supermarket chain is famous because almost everything you can find there are store brands and therefore you can fill your basket for less money than in normal supermarkets. We guess now, that these card sets were less expensive than their Piatnik/FX Schmid counterparts. Today it is the opposite, they are much rarer, and collectors pay higher prices for them. They’re very rare to find.
The first of my three sets is the “Schnelle Eisen” set with Reference Number 4259. A very curious set, since it mixes cars, motorbikes, formula ones, race boats and more. It has 8 families, 32 cards, plus cover. It was originally a Piatnik set, maybe you can recognise the pattern at the back of the cards.
The second set is “Rennwagen”, without reference number (it belongs to the third group, as we enumerated it before). Again: 8 families and 32 cards plus cover. This set is also a Piatnik reference, the pattern at the back of the cards is very common and was shared by Piatnik and FX Schmid.
The third set is called Tolle Flugzeuge, also without reference number, and also 8 families, 32 cards + cover. When I carefully studied the cards, I though the cards had been changed/mistaken by it’s previous owner, because the back of the cards has the FX Schmid logo. It was a bit of a disappointment, and I am still not sure, if these are the original cards (anyone who also has this set can confirm it?) Note that the Boeing 747SP on the cover card doesn’t match with the rest of the planes in the set that are warplanes.
UPDATE: Chris from quartettblog.wordpress.com thinks the set could be original, since there are some sets with the same Titelblatt, but different content. This way, under the title "Tolle Flugzeuge" (in English: "Cool Planes") we could find several different sets from Piatnik or FX Schmid.
This set "Exotische Tiere" (Quartett Nr. 4245) is based on the deck with the same name made by Piatnik (Nr. 4214) from 1976. Something you might not know, is that with the "Tiger" Brand, there were also normal decks available, like the one in the picture, which is a 24 card deck for playing Schnaps (see first and last pictures).
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: EXOTISCHE TIERE (Nr. 4245), SCHNELLE EISEN (Nr. 4259), RENNWAGEN and TOLLE FLUGZEUGE
- Year: Around 1978
- Company: Tiger (Germany, Austria)