Belgian manufacturers during the 19th century, along with those from USA and France, were competing against Spanish makers in Spanish-speaking markets such as South America. Features of the traditional Spanish designs, including many well-known brands, imagery and logos, were imitated or plagiarised. Often they were anonymous so as to avoid importation duties in the destination country. It is surprising how many of these Belgian-made decks have survived to the present day in unused condition, often complete with their original wrappers. This leads us to suspect that many consignments of packs never reached their intended destinations, either because they were confiscated or withheld in customs warehouses, or were superseded by newer models, or else they were never shipped in the first place. Overproduction may also have been due to optimism and contracts going wrong. However, the large majority of packs, presumably, were sold and played with.
Imitation Spanish packs are also known from El Salvador.
Member since February 01, 1996
Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.
A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.
French-suited Bavarian Animal Tarot by J B Dubois, Liège, Belgium, late 18th C.
Early 19th century Animal Tarot pack produced by J T Dubois, Liège, Belgium.
Psychedelic designs promoting Louis De Poortere, a company selling carpets and rugs.
Costumes of people of Brazil, Peru and Mexico, with views of Rio de Janeiro on the aces.
Félix Solesio e Hijos - Real Fábrica de Madrid - Spanish National pattern for Venezuela
Four Corners of the World fantasy playing cards by Daveluy, Bruges, Belgium, 1875-1880.
Commedia dell’Carte political transformation cards illustrated by Stef van Stiphout, Belgium, 1977. ...
Original designs depicting leaders and allegories from Russia, France, Great Britain and Belgium.
Two souvenir packs with different court cards made by Glénisson for the Isle of Man, c.1880.
Cartoon-style illustrations promoting a Belgian organisation for scouts and guides.
Playing cards for gender equality, created on the 500th anniversary of classic French cards
XV Century Spanish-suited playing cards with moorish influences
‘Parisian’ Spanish pattern published by Fossorier, Amar et Cie (Paris), c.1902.
Fantasy Spanish-suited playing cards by Bertschinger y Codina (Barcelona), c.1850.
Félix Solesio e Hijos, Fábrica de Macharaviaya, Spanish National pattern for West Indies, 1801.
Another pack of Dutch costume playing cards c.1880.
Luxurious Spanish-suited pack made by Alphonse Arnoult, Paris, France, c.1850.
Double-ended Spanish-suited playing cards published by Clemente de Roxas in Madrid, 1814.
Archaic Spanish-suited playing cards published in Toulouse by Antoine de Logiriera (1495-1518).
Dutch costume playing cards made for the Dutch market in the second half of the 19th century.