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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.

Minifusor Clásico

Minifusor Clásico, a modern re-drawing of the Catalan pattern published by Difusora, c.1980.

Minifusor Clásico, a modern re-drawing of the Catalan pattern published by Difusora, c.1980. The ace of coins features the Argentine flag in front of the Spanish flag. Different editions reveal different qualities; some are lower grade than others and plastic coatings vary.

Minifusor Clásico, a modern re-drawing of the Catalan pattern published by Difusora, c.1980

Above: Naipes tipo Español Minifusor Clásico, 40 cards in box.

The manufacturer's details can often be found on the four of coins but in some cases are omitted. Also, some colour variations can be observed between editions, see for example the kings’ robes and the red spot in the centre of the coin symbols.


Minifusor Clásico Publicity Edition

Minifusor Clásico, a modern re-drawing of the Catalan pattern published by Difusora, c.1980 Minifusor Clásico, a modern re-drawing of the Catalan pattern published by Difusora, c.1980

Above: Minifusor Clásico produced for Supradyn Cal-C-Vita Protavita Vitamins by Difusora, c.1980. 48 cards + 2 jokers. See the Box

Minifusor Clásico, a modern re-drawing of the Catalan pattern published by Difusora, c.1980s
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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.

Recommended

J. Muñoz, Getafe (Madrid) c.1870s

J. Muñoz, Getafe (Madrid) c.1870s

Catalan pattern by unusual manufacturer from Madrid, J. Muñoz, Getafe, c.1870s.

‘El Cid’ by Simeon Durá, Valencia, Spain

‘El Cid’ by Simeon Durá, Valencia, Spain

‘El Cid’ playing cards manufactured by Simeon Durá, Valencia, Spain.

Naipe Cantaclaro

Naipe Cantaclaro

A colourful version of the Spanish Catalan pattern from Colombia, with a crowing cockerel on the 4 of cups.

Gráfica S.A., Bs Aires

Gráfica S.A., Bs Aires

Gráfica S.A. of Buenos Aires has produced a number of brands using the Catalan pattern.

Naipes Españoles “El Mexicano”

Naipes Españoles “El Mexicano”

Standard Catalan-type deck, titled "El Mexicano", by an anonymous Argentinean manufacturer, c.1980s.

Jeu D’Aluettes - Boéchat Frères c.1950

Jeu D’Aluettes - Boéchat Frères c.1950

Jeu D’Aluettes manufactured by Boéchat Frères, Bordeaux, c.1950 with archaic Spanish features mixed with the standard Catalan pattern

Heráldica Castanyer

Heráldica Castanyer

Spanish Catalan pattern No.6 by Heráldica Castanyer, Sabadell (Barcelona), c.1980.

Cartes à Jouer Espagnoles

Cartes à Jouer Espagnoles

Cartes à Jouer Espagnoles Héron - Catalan pattern.

Mas-Reynals Catalan Pattern

Mas-Reynals Catalan Pattern

Mas-Reynals standard Catalan pattern comes in several slightly different versions.

El Ciervo N°4

El Ciervo N°4

“El Ciervo” No.4 manufactured by Hija de Antonio Comas during the Spanish Civil War, with mural crown and flag of the 2nd Republic on the ace of coins, c.1938.

Naipes Samsó N°2-S

Naipes Samsó N°2-S

Naipes Samsó published by N.E.G.S.A. (Barcelona) c.1965.

Baraja Cartomántica Chocolates Nelia

Baraja Cartomántica Chocolates Nelia

Some examples of playing cards made in Catalonia from the collection of Iris Mundus, Barcelona.

Torras y Sanmartí

Torras y Sanmartí

Torras y Sanmartí y Cía, Barcelona, 1830.

Catalan Playing Cards

Catalan Playing Cards

With a distinct history stretching back to the early middle ages, many Catalans think of themselves as a separate nation from the rest of Spain.

Wenceslao Guarro Catalan Pattern

Wenceslao Guarro Catalan Pattern

Wenceslao Guarro Catalan Pattern by Fabricantes de Naipes de España, c.1925.

Luis Guarro, c.1920

Luis Guarro, c.1920

Luis Guarro’s “El Caballo con Manta” Catalan pattern by Fabricantes de Naipes de España, c.1920.

RedElec

RedElec

Publicity playing cards for RedElec Argentina, c.2008

Cartes Catalanes

Cartes Catalanes

Cartes Catalanes are used in a small area in the Eastern Pyrenées region of Southern France.

Fournier No. 55

Fournier No. 55

Naipes Intransparentes de Una Hoja No.55 made by Hijos de Heraclio Fournier (Vitoria) for exportation to Argentina, c.1940.

Supermercados CHIP

Supermercados CHIP

Supermercados CHIP playing cards manufactured in Uruguay by Compañía General de Fósforos Montevideana, 1979

Naipes ‘Baccarat’

Naipes ‘Baccarat’

An example of the typical version of the Spanish Catalan pattern which is widely used in South American countries, especially Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

S. Giráldez, Barcelona

S. Giráldez, Barcelona

Standard Spanish Catalan pattern playing cards by S. Giráldez, Barcelona, c.1905.

Mesmaekers Spanish Pack, c.1875

Mesmaekers Spanish Pack, c.1875

Mesmaekers Spanish Pack for export to Spanish colonies and South American countries, c.1875

Minifusor Clásico

Minifusor Clásico

Minifusor Clásico, a modern re-drawing of the Catalan pattern published by Difusora, c.1980.

Francisco Girbau & Cia, Buenos Aires

Francisco Girbau & Cia, Buenos Aires

Francisco Girbau & Cia, Buenos Aires, c.1890-1935

Juan Roura, Barcelona (1872 - 1962)

Juan Roura, Barcelona (1872 - 1962)

Juan Roura produced a range of popular designs including Catalán, Castilian and Cádiz patterns for domestic use exportation.

Juan Roura Catalan

Juan Roura Catalan

Catalan type by Juan Roura, La Hispano-Americana, Barcelona (1872 - 1962).

El Ciervo, c.1930

El Ciervo, c.1930

Sebastian Comas y Ricart - Hija de A. Comas “El Ciervo” Spanish Catalan pattern, c.1930.

Baraja Hoja de Afeitar

Baraja Hoja de Afeitar

La Baraja 'Hoja de Afeitar'. Baraja de Hojas Maravilla descalificadas como de primerísima categoría.

Naipes Vencedor

Naipes Vencedor

Naipes Vencedor, manufactured in Paraguay by La Vencedora S.A, c.1985

Naipes ‘Retruco’

Naipes ‘Retruco’

Naipes ‘Retruco’ published by Fantasias S.A., Montevideo, c.1980.

Naipes ‘Jaque’ by Casabó S.A., c.1997

Naipes ‘Jaque’ by Casabó S.A., c.1997

Naipes ‘Jaque’ Catalan pattern manufactured by Casabó S.A. for Laboratorios Gautier, c.1997.

Naipes ‘Bambú’

Naipes ‘Bambú’

Naipes ‘Bambú’ manufactured by M.C. de Casabó Ltda, Montevideo, c.1950

Instituto Nacional de Calidad 2006 awards

Instituto Nacional de Calidad 2006 awards

Spanish-suited playing cards made specially for the Instituto Nacional de Calidad 2006 awards.