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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.

F. X. Schmid (Argentina) S.A.

Spanish-suited playing cards by F. X. Schmid (Argentina) S.A.

Spanish-suited cards by F. X. Schmid (Argentina) S.A.

At some point between c1975-1985 the West German playing-card manufacturer F.X.Schmid opened offices in Buenos Aires under the name F.X. Schmid (Argentina) S.A. During this period they acquired the brands "Payador" and "Victoria" which formerly had been owned and produced by Cía Gral Fabril Financiera S.A.

The brand names were also briefly used by Joker S.A. When Schmid ceased business in Argentina in the early 1980s, the brand names also ceased to exist and have not been used since. Exactly what happened to them is still a mystery.

Naipes Payador 1400

Left: Naipes "Payador" manufactured by Cía Fabril Financiera S.A. for Schmid Argentina S.A., c.1975. The Catalan-style designs are based on those previously used by Cía General Fabril Financiera.

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Naipes Victoria 3400

Left: Naipes "Victoria", manufactured by Cía General Fabril Financiera S.A. for Schmid Argentina S.A., c.1978. "Victoria" was another brand name used by Cía Gral Fabril Financiera, and also distributed for a short while by Joker S.A.

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Naipes Victoria 4500

Left: Naipes "Victoria" manufactured in West Germany for F.X. Schmid (Argentina) S.A., early 1980s. The brand name "Victoria" and the gladiator motif are those formerly used by Cía Gral Fabril Financiera S.A. and Joker S.A. until around 1980, at which point they appear to have become the registered property of F.X. Schmid. However, Schmid soon closed their offices in Buenos Aires and discontinued these brands. The pack shown below is their successor.

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No.407 Naipe Español

Left: No.407 "Naipe Español" made in West Germany by F.X. Schmid for export to Argentina, 1985. The Argentine flag is shown on the ace of coins. There is a cupid on the four of coins but no mention of a brand name other than No.407.

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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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