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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.

Naipes Congreso by C. Della Penna S.A., c.1966

Naipes Congreso by C. Della Penna S.A. playing card manufacturer and publisher, Buenos Aires, c.1966.

Naipes CONGRESO by C. Della Penna S.A.C.I., Bs Aires, c.1966

Naipes Congreso was one of Della Penna's brands of Anglo-American type playing cards, alongside Naipes Guarany, Naipes Inca and Naipes Ombú. The title refers, of course, to the Palacio del Congreso, the imposing greco-roman style, granite government buildings in Buenos Aires, completed in 1906 and which are illustrated on the box, the ace of spades and the reverse. The court cards are based on the designs of Goodall. This example shows the company name as C. Della Penna S.A.C.I. and dates from c.1965-67.

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Naipes Congreso, c.1966 Naipes Congreso, c.1966
Box of Naipes Congreso, c.1966
Box of Naipes Congreso, c.1966

Left: box from above deck of Naipes Congreso, showing the 10 Pesos orange tax band which was in use during the period 1965-1967. The Palacio del Congreso building can be seen illustrated on the box. In conjunction with the green "Marianne" tax stamp on the ace of hearts, the deck can be dated to somewhere between 1965-1967.


By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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