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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.

South American Gaucho Playing Cards

Gaucho Playing Cards from South America

Several decks of Gaucho playing cards have been produced in or for South American countries, principally Argentina and Uruguay.

Molina Campos

Above: cards from Naipes Criollos ® "Molina Campos", Buenos Aires, 2004. The cards show characters from gaucho life   more →


Naipes Victoria Gaucho

Gaucho Uruguayan Playing Cards - Naipes Uruguayos

Above: Naipes Victoria Gaucho pack manufactured in Uruguay by, c.1975   more →

See also: Naipes Charabon.


Falta Envido

Naipes Argentinos para Truco FALTA ENVIDO, 1982

Above: Naipes Argentinos para Truco "Falta Envido" created by Alberto Soifer and printed by Adans S.A., Buenos Aires, 1982.   more →


Naipes Casino Estilo Argentino

Naipes Casino Estilo Argentino, c.1955

Above: Naipes Casino Estilo Argentino published by Justo Rodero, c.1955, with Gaucho suit symbols   more →


Other Gaucho themed packs

Domador trade mark On a visit to an estanco, one may still find a gaucho at work, maybe a domador beaking horses.

Above: four of cups from a 'Domador' deck made by Cia Gral Fabril Financiera S.A., Buenos Aires, in c.1945. A gaucho's pride is still his horse.

Although true gaucho culture ended in the late 19th century, much remains today. The job of ranch hand has become known as "paisano".

Above: four of cups from a 'Paisanito' deck made by E. Flaiban, Buenos Aires, in c.1950.

Songs and poems of the gaucho tradition reflect themes of love and nostalgia; many are political in nature and deal with the injustices of life.

See also: Gráficos Unidos S.A. (García Morales-Mercant), Dante 1978, Montevideo - Naipes 'El Gaucho'
Cervantes, Soriano 873, Montevideo - Naipes 'El Gaucho'
Caraven S.A. - Naipes 'El Gaucho'


Baraja Gaucha

Baraja Gaucha, Fournier, 1999

Above: Baraja Gaucha with Gaucho designs published by Naipes Fournier specially for Argentina, 1999.

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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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