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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 Estrella

Naipes La Estrella Spanish-suited playing cards manufactured by Vigor S.R.L., Buenos Aires, c.1955.

Naipes LA ESTRELLA Spanish-suited playing cards manufactured by Vigor S.R.L., Buenos Aires, c.1955


Naipes La Estrella was one of Vigor's leading brand of Spanish-suited playing cards, alongside Naipes Barcelonesa, Chinita and La Española. The logo on the four of cups and wrapper shows a six-pointed star above the legend 'La Estrella'. This six-pointed star motif and the name ‘La Estrella’ was originally registered by G. Berger for a Hungarian 'Seasons' deck. The motif now features on the centre of the ace of coins.

The Patent Office Registration documents, dated 22nd June 1955, show the original designs with the new company name overwritten. By holding these up to the light, we can read beneath the name of Igor Domicelj (c.1950-55), who was the company's predecessor. The same applies to the Registration documents for "Naipes Bols", which was the company's first advertising deck produced in 1955, and "Naipes Golfo", a 48-card pack for the game Golfo; both formerly had been produced by Igor Domicelj.

Naipes La Estrella para Ginebra Bols, hacia 1955 As de oros, naipes La Estrella para Ginebra Bols, hacia 1955

Right: ‘La Estrella’ name and six-pointed star motif from playing-cards produced by G. Berger c.1940

Naipes La Estrella para Ginebra Bols, hacia 1955

The card designs are based on those of Segundo de Olea (Spain) which had been imported into Argentina since the 19th century. The same designs are used in cards published today by Gráfica 2001 / Naipes La Española, including the six-pointed motof originally employed by G. Berger.


By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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