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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.

La Española 2000 pattern

‘La Española 2000’ is a digitally re-drawn version of the original classic ‘La Española’ Spanish-suited pack and is produced in several sizes (standard, round, small and pocket).

La Española 2000 by Gráfica 2001

La Española 2000’ is Gráfica 2001’s digitally re-drawn version of the classic ‘La Española’ Spanish-suited pack with elongated, jumbo indices. It is produced in two sizes (standard and small). The original logo (Spanish lady) can be seen on the fours of cups and coins and the two jokers.

This style of pack (or 'pattern') is found with advertising backs and also as the basis of special, non-standard versions with custom artwork (see example →)

La Española 2000 playing cards, Gráfica 2001's digitally re-drawn version of the original classic ‘La Española’ Spanish-suited pack

Above: La Española 2000 playing cards, Gráfica 2001’s digitally re-drawn version of the original classic ‘La Española’ Spanish-suited pack. The original logo can be seen on the Fours of Cups and Coins and the two Jokers. In some instances there are differences in the typography on the Jokers or Four of Cups.

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La Española 2000 for Cronon Tecnología S.R.L.

Above: La Española 2000 pattern on standard size 3-ply 280g card for Cronon Tecnología S.R.L., 48 cards + 2 special jokers + 2 extra cards, 2004.

La Española 2000 for Bagó Linea Dioxaflex pharmaceuticals, c.2004

Above: La Española 2000 pattern small size with larger indices for Bagó Linea Dioxaflex pharmaceuticals, c.2004. 48 cards + 2 jokers.

La Española 2000 for Bodegas Michel Torino by Gráfica 2001, 2005

Above: La Española 2000 pattern on standard size 3-ply 280g card for Bodegas Michel Torino, 48 cards + 2 jokers, 2005

La Española 2000 for Naipes Havanna by Gráfica 2001

Above: La Española 2000 pattern on small size 280g card for Naipes Havanna, 48 cards + 2 special jokers in box, 2005.

La Española 2000 for Dayco by Gráfica 2001

Above: La Española 2000 pattern on small size 280g card for Dayco engine belts, 48 cards + 2 jokers in box, 2006.

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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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64: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 2

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A continuation of the development of the off-spring of the Paris patterns and a few examples of how the French regional figures have inspired modern designers.

63: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 1

63: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 1

A great many regional patterns were exported from France and subsequently copied elsewhere. Some of them became local standards in their own right.

62: French regional patterns: the queens and jacks

62: French regional patterns: the queens and jacks

Continuing our look at the figures from the regional patterns of France.

61: French regional patterns: the kings

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Modern English Court

Modern English Court

Modern English court style by Games & Print Services Limited, c.1997.

Dal Negro Bridge set

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Dal Negro Bridge set featuring old Vienna pattern courts.

Carte Romane

Carte Romane

“Carte Romane” designed by Giorgio Pessione, 1973, celebrating the history of Rome.

Sarde Pattern

Sarde Pattern

Sarde pattern published by Modiano, c.1975, based on early XIX century Spanish model.

Triestine Pattern

Triestine Pattern

The Triestine pattern is derived from the Venetian (Trevisane) pattern but with its own characteristics.

Trentine Pattern

Trentine Pattern

Trentine Pattern

Primiera Bolognese

Primiera Bolognese

Primiera Bolognese by Modiano, c.1975

Bergamasche Pattern

Bergamasche Pattern

Bergamasche Pattern by Modiano, 1970s.

Jonas Fouquet Navarra Pattern

Jonas Fouquet Navarra Pattern

Navarra Pattern by Jonas Fouquet, c.1720 and c.1820.

Navarra Pattern, 1682

Navarra Pattern, 1682

Navarra pattern produced for the Pamplona General Hospital Monopoly in 1682.

Hermanos Solesi

Hermanos Solesi

“Money Bag” pattern by Hermanos Solesi, late 18th c.

Dvouhlavé Hrací Karty

Dvouhlavé Hrací Karty

“Dvouhlavé Hrací Karty” (Czech Seasons playing cards) made by Obchodní Tiskárny, c.1980.

AGMüller English Pattern

AGMüller English Pattern

AGMüller standard English pattern for the Royal Jordanian Airline, 1980s

Georg Kapfler

Georg Kapfler

Antique deck of old Bohemian playing cards of the German type manufactured by Georg Kapfler and dated 1611.

Genovesi Pattern

Genovesi Pattern

Genoese pattern from Italy.

Modern Swiss-German Pattern

Modern Swiss-German Pattern

Modern Swiss-German Pattern by AGMüller, c.2000.

Skat Express

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One end Berlin pattern the other standard English pattern

Salzburger Pattern

Salzburger Pattern

Salzburger pattern by Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna

Brepols Genoese pattern

Brepols Genoese pattern

“Cartes Françaises” and Genoese pattern by Brepols.

Dutch Pattern for Van Perlstein

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Brepols Dutch Pattern for Van Perlstein distillery, c.1960.

Rhineland Pattern by KZWP

Rhineland Pattern by KZWP

Rhineland pattern by KZWP.

North German pattern

North German pattern

The North German pattern appeared in the mid-19th century, derived from the French ‘Paris’ pattern,

Bavarian Pattern

Bavarian Pattern

Bavarian single-ended pattern by Vereinigte Altenburg-Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken A-G., c.1937

Portuguese pattern

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19th century Portuguese pattern, re-printed from original woodblocks.

Old Bavarian pattern

Old Bavarian pattern

Uncut sheet of playing cards of the Old Bavarian pattern by Michael Schatzberger, Passau, 1780

German Saxon Pattern

German Saxon Pattern

The German Saxon Pattern or “Schwerdter Karte”.

Bohemian Pattern

Bohemian Pattern

The Bohemian Pattern, sometimes called the Prager Pattern, has roots in the 16th century.

Provence Pattern

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The 'Provence' pattern contains figures which go back to the fifteenth century.

L. P. Holmblad c.1840

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Benoist Laius

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Spanish playing cards such as these were used in those parts of France where certain games were enjoyed, such as Aluette.

19: 19th Century Breaks With Tradition - Unusual Versions of the Standard English Pattern

19: 19th Century Breaks With Tradition - Unusual Versions of the Standard English Pattern

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Lyons Pattern type iii

Lyons Pattern type iii

This pattern was used in various parts of eastern France but was ultimately replaced by the official ‘Paris’ pattern in c.1780.

Naipes Tipo Húngaro

Naipes Tipo Húngaro

32 cards Hungarian "Seasons" pattern, with Argentinean tax stamp and trade mark of six-pointed star on 7 of bells, c.1955-60.

La Española 2000  pattern

La Española 2000 pattern

‘La Española 2000’ is a digitally re-drawn version of the original classic ‘La Española’ Spanish-suited pack and is produced in several sizes (standard, round, small and pocket).

Piacentine Pattern

Piacentine Pattern

Piacentine Pattern, double-ended version made by Modiano, Trieste