PEXESO, also known as Memory, Pelmanism, Shinkei-suijaku or simply Pairs, is a popular card game in Slovakia in which players lay all the cards face down and two cards are flipped face up with each turn. The goal is to find pairs of matching cards. The game can be played with any number of players or as solitaire. Ľuboš Horňák of Spišská Nová Ves is the biggest collector of pexeso sets in Slovakia: after starting his collection 25 years ago, he now owns 3,000 of them.
“I enjoyed playing the game even as a child,” he told the TASR newswire. “And when my first child was born, I decided to buy some new ones, and after some time I found out that I have about 100 of them, so I decided to collect them more intensely.” When he had about 500 of them, he thought he was the biggest collector in the world, but about five years ago he discovered an online club of pexeso collectors, which he quickly joined. Currently, it consists of approximately 20 members, including two other Slovaks, Horňák added. He says that a woman in the Czech Republic has about 100 more pexesos than he does.
The collector says he doesn’t have a favourite pexeso set, although some are visually nicer than others. “I have one really terrible pexeso of a company, but it is a pexeso, so a collector has the duty to have it,” Horňák says. He opines that everything can be transformed into a pexeso game set; there are also animal pexesos, children’s sets as well as political and erotic ones. In the Czech Republic, pexeso is a standard advertising item – about 300 sets are published annually, but Horňák also has some from Russia, Germany, Hungary and Spain. He stores his sets in a closet that he designed specifically for his collection. “Free space can always be found – and if there is no space left in the closet, I will throw out the vacuum cleaner and there will be space for more pexesos,” he explained.
The game sets were at one time made in a standard way: square-shaped and 32 pairs made of paper. Today, they are made in different shapes and sizes and of different materials. There are even Trixesos, with three identical pictures. Horňák also has wooden, cardboard and magnet pexesos in his collection. He says a pexeso set with a Bratislava ghost theme is the most expensive one in his collection: 20 years ago, it cost Sk250. It includes a book containing a brief description of every Bratislava ghost. “Only about 1,000 copies were produced,” he says, “and it is printed on handmade paper. When I come to think of it, I have already invested more than €3,000 in my collection,” Horňák concludes.
11. Feb 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská