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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Eduardo Antonio Chemmes

Playing cards published by E. A. Chemmes, Buenos Aires during the early 1950s. The cards were probably printed by Ernesto Flaiban.

Naipes Castilla, Eduardo Antonio Chemmes, Buenos Aires, c.1950

Eduardo Antonio Chemmes (fabricante), Buenos Aires, c.1950

Naipes 'CASTILLA' Elaboración S.A. Perfecta, Eduardo Antonio Chemmes, Olazabal 1473-75, Buenos Aires, c.1950

Naipes 'Castilla' were produced with blue or brown backs during the early 1950s. This rare manufacturer/publisher probably had cards printed by Ernesto Flaiban who was also printing virtually identical cards for Mario Colombo, E. P. Franco and others around this time.

Right: the box has a curious spelling of the word "Poker".

Naipes Castilla, Eduardo Antonio Chemmes, Buenos Aires, c.1950 Naipes Castilla, Eduardo Antonio Chemmes, Buenos Aires, c.1950

Above: cards published by E. A. Chemmes, Buenos Aires during the early 1950s, with the green 'Mercury' tax stamp on the ace of hearts. Although Chemmes is stated as the manufacturer, the cards were probably printed by Ernesto Flaiban.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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