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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 Guarany, c.1940

Naipes Guarany by C. Della Penna S.A. playing card manufacturer and publisher, Buenos Aires, c.1940.

Naipes Poker Guarany was one of Della Penna's leading brands of Anglo-American type playing cards and was produced in successive editions until the company was taken over in 1978. The court cards are based on the designs of De la Rue. The Joker and ace of spades show the Indian with bow-and-arrow motif. This early example shows the company name as C. Della Penna & Cía, before it became C. Della Penna S.A.C.I.

C. Della Penna S.A. logo from Ace of Hearts c.1940
Naipes Guarany, C. Della Penna & Cía, c.1940

The Guaraní are a group of indigenous peoples of South America who speak the Guaraní language.

Naipes Guarany, C. Della Penna & Cía, c.1940 Naipes Guarany, C. Della Penna & Cía, c.1940

Above: cards from Naipes Guarany decks, with red or blue backs. The company name of C. Della Penna & Cía and the green "Mercury" tax stamp on the ace of hearts suggests a date of c.1935-40. This particular deck was used in the Club del Progreso (the oldest existing club in Buenos Aires) and has their stamp on the ace of hearts.

Club del Progreso stamp on ace of hearts, c.1940 Go to next page


Marotta, Florencia: Sellados e Impuestos en Naipes Argentinos 1892-1968, Bs Aires, 2007


By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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