Playing Cards in Argentina employ Spanish suit symbols: cups, swords, coins and clubs (termed copas, espadas, oros and bastos).
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It is assumed that playing cards had been introduced to the Americas with explorers such as Columbus or Cortés. Cards would almost certainly have travelled from Spain, and stories are told of them being improvised from drum-skins. Later, locally-made cards were deemed illegal by the Spanish authorities who wished to exploit their monopoly, for which purpose the 'Real Fábrica de Naipes de Macharaviaya' (1776-1815) was established, officially supplying playing cards for Central and South American colonies and controlled by the 'Ministerio de Hacienda' in Madrid. These cards are in the so-called 'National Spanish' style.
However, there were many problems with the cards, including poor quality and high prices in comparison with locally manufactured ones. In 1815 the 'Real Fábrica' was closed and once again local playing card industries were legally licensed to operate in their respective countries. Manuel José de Gandarillas was the first manufacturer to set up business in 1815, and by 1830 there were at least four playing card manufacturers operating in Buenos Aires. See complete list here.
Argentinian playing cards have followed Spanish styles, notably the Maciá, Cádiz and Catalan patterns which became established during the 19th century based on models imported from Spain, notably by Fló Hnos and Bertrand Domec.
Duty was first introduced on playing cards in Argentina in 1892, as part of the Internal Duties law, and in 1896 the first duty labels were printed to be used on packets of 1 gross packs. In 1899 these were replaced by bands, initially for a dozen packs and then for single packs
Many packs published in Argentina contain references to Argentina's national identity such as National Symbolism, Politics, Gauchos, Tango dance, Bull Breeding and Folklore. However, for everyday games requiring a Spanish-suited pack, a simple version of the Spanish Catalan pattern is commonly used. Native Indian cards, modelled on the Spanish pack, are a curious spin-off.
Several varieties of Cartomancy, Fortune-Telling, Tarock and Tarot packs have been produced in Argentina, as well as a number of souvenir packs, card games, advertising packs, etc.
Article in Infobae 10th May 2005
Member since February 01, 1996
Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.
A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.
Costumes of people of Brazil, Peru and Mexico, with views of Rio de Janeiro on the aces.
Félix Solesio e Hijos - Real Fábrica de Madrid - Spanish National pattern for Venezuela
‘Parisian’ Spanish pattern published by Fossorier, Amar et Cie (Paris), c.1902.
Félix Solesio e Hijos, Fábrica de Macharaviaya, Spanish National pattern for West Indies, 1801.
Fifth Centenary of the Discovery of America by Heraclio Fournier, 1992.
Parisian style Spanish deck by Grimaud for export to Uruguay.
Egyptian Tarot inspired by ancient Egyptian art, mythology, and iconography, published by Naipes La ...
Naipes Cardón designed by Mario Luis Rivero depicting traditional Argentine culture and identity, 20...
Carlos Loiseau, better known as ‘Caloi’, was a cartoonist whose designs for Parliament Cigarettes we...
The designs of these fortune-telling cards are largely taken from nineteenth century Austrian "Rural...
‘Mundialito’ toy football playing cards published inside the magazine ‘Radiolandia 2000’, Argentina,...
Anglo-American pattern for Pedro Domecq Mexican brandy made by Productos Leo S.A., c.2000.
A colourful version of the Spanish Catalan pattern from Colombia, with a crowing cockerel on the 4 o...
Naipes Artiguistas published in Concepción del Uruguay, Entre Rios province (Argentina) in 1816, by ...
Naipes de Poker “Milonguita” featuring early Tango music score covers, Gardés Editorial, 2003.
‘Naipe Criollo Caraí Pujol’ with Gaucho designs by Julio F. Parada Seifert capturing the spirit of A...
“Piñón Fijo” is an Argentine clown, whose real name is Fabián Gómez. He is well-known on Argentine c...
Promotional playing cards produced for ‘El Rodeo Talabartería’ specialising in leather goods and clo...