Monday, 1 February 2016
When you start collecting Czech ex libris, you will also be offered PFs. These are New Year cards and usually feature the letters PF (which stands for the French greeting pour feliciter) and the year and perhaps the name of the family sending the card. The Czechs refer to these cards as peefko. Sometimes families will make their own cards and sometimes they will commission artists to produce cards for them.
Some cards are humourous and many reveal the interests of the family sending the card, which is another reason (other than their artistic value) why they are fascinating to collect. This signed card in our collection is by the well-known artist Alois Moravec. As you can see it is a happy new year card for 1938, which was to be a far from a happy year for the Czechs. The choice of subject matter for this card would seem to be indicative of the impending Nazi invasion and Czech determination to resist.
This is a picture of Jan Zizka, the one-eyed military genius who successfully resisted a series of anti-Hussite crusader armies. These invading armies were for a large part made up of the Teutonic knights - the panzer divisions of their day - and on the face of it the Czech Hussites didn't stand a chance in the face of such military superiority. But the undefeated Zizka shattered the knights' reputation and in so doing entered into the Czech nationalist pantheon. No wonder he features on this 1938 PF.