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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 La Banca

Naipes La Banca, Argentina c.1970-85

Naipes La Banca’s logo

Naipes La Banca produced a series of standard and advertising decks during the 1970-80s, both Spanish-suited and Anglo-American patterns, as well as an "Egyptian Tarot" deck. The words "Naipes La Banca” and/or "Industria Argentina” usually appear somewhere on the cards, although no further details of the manufacturer are known.

Anglo-American Pattern

Naipes La Banca's standard Anglo-American style deck for Calfat coffin makers Naipes La Banca's standard Anglo-American style deck for Calfat coffin makers

Above: Naipes La Banca’s standard Anglo-American style deck for Calfat coffin makers, c.1975. 52 cards + 2 jokers. The ace of spades and court cards are based on American designs.

Naipes La Banca’s standard Jumbo index deck for Willy Keni, c.1976

Above: Naipes La Banca’s standard Jumbo index deck for Willy Keni leather goods with the ‘Beefeater’ joker , c.1976. 52 cards + 2 jokers.

Beefeater joker

Right: alternative version of the ‘Beefeater’ joker in a deck for YPF energy, c.1975 →

Spanish-Suited Patterns

Decks come with either 40-cards, or 48 cards + 2 jokers (comodin). 40-card decks have no 8s, 9s or jokers.

Naipes La Banca's modern Catalan style deck Naipes La Banca's modern Catalan style deck

Above: Naipes La Banca’s standard Spanish pattern, an original re-drawing of the Catalan pattern, c.1975. Identical decks were subsequently produced in the 1980s or 90s with the brand name "Naipes Castilla" by Offest Sacerdoti Printers, Bs. As., who list playing cards in their range of products.

48-card deck produced by Naipes La Banca for Ford Sierra, c.1982

Above: 4 of cups and 2 jokers (comodin) from 48-card deck produced by Naipes La Banca for Ford Sierra, c.1982.


48-card Castilian deck produced by Naipes La Banca 48-card Castilian deck produced by Naipes La Banca 48-card Castilian deck produced by Naipes La Banca

Above: cards based on Fournier's "Castilian" pattern with an original Joker and the legend 'La Banca' appearing in several places.


Right: cards from another Spanish-suited deck based on Fournier's "Castilian" pattern, but with a simpler ace of coins. The Argentinean flag is draped around the sides and a lion, cornucopia and anchor appear at the bottom.

Naipes La Banca's Castilian style deck
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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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