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Published March 03, 2010 Updated March 31, 2022

Playing Cards in Cuba

During the colonial years and afterwards, Spanish-suited packs were imported into Cuba.

Cuba Spanish Suited
Spanish playing cards from c.1550-c.1850

Above: Spanish playing cards exported to new Spanish colonies from c.1550 onwards. Cards like these would have been in use in Cuba for the first 300 years or so after the first Spanish settlers arrived.

map of Cuba

Cuba has not been a major producer of playing cards, partly for economic reasons and also because cards have been banned since the revolution of 1959. During the colonial years and afterwards, Spanish-suited packs were imported from Spain, notably Seville, Málaga, Barcelona and Cádiz. The example shown below was produced in Germany.

Several Cuba Souvenir packs are known either manufactured by USPCC or else anonymously in Cuba. Cuban biscuit company 'La Balear' issued American cartoon playing cards featuring Popeye, Donald Duck, Goofy, Marx Bros etc. during the 1920s-30s. There have also been several cartoon pin-up decks published in Cuba, probably for the amusement of US troops stationed there.

Cuba Playing Card Museum: Cuba y Los Naipes

Above: Souvenir playing cards of Cuba, c.1915; 53 views of Havana and the Island, published by USPCC for H.T. Roberts. The backs can have either black and white, black and blue or black and yellow colour scheme. Several different coloured boxes are also known (blue, red, orange...) and these usually had a Cuban tax stamp fixed outside the box. An earlier Cuba souvenir deck had been published by Romo & Kredi, c.1905, with dancing figures on the backs.

Souvenir of Cuba playing cards pulished by Romo & Kredi, c.1930

Above: Souvenir of Cuba playing cards pulished by Romo & Kredi, of cruder quality than the above example and with oval photographs and square corners, c.1933. 52 cards + joker in box. The red, blue and white back design signifies an alliance between the USA and Cuba.

Wüst Spanish Cadiz pattern deck for export to Cuba c.1910, advertising ‘Tropical’ beer

Above: Wüst Spanish Cadiz pattern deck for export to Cuba c.1910, advertising ‘Tropical’ beer.

wrapper from deck manufactured by Juan Roura, Barcelona, exported to Cuba, c.1950

Above: wrapper from Catalan type pack manufactured in Barcelona by Juan Roura and exported to Cuba in c.1950. The Cuban importation tax band is wrapped around the outside of the wrapper. For more information about tax bands on Cuban playing cards click here.

See also Children's Pack made in Cuba


By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator 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.

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1850 Alphonse Arnoult Spanish-suited pack

Alphonse Arnoult Spanish-suited pack

Luxurious Spanish-suited pack made by Alphonse Arnoult, Paris, France, c.1850.

1910 Wüst Spanish pattern

Wüst Spanish pattern

Wüst Spanish pattern c.1910 advertising Cuban ‘Tropical’ beer.

Hermanos Solesi

Hermanos Solesi

“Money Bag” pattern by Hermanos Solesi, late 18th c.

1994 Kem ‘Spanish’ playing cards

Kem ‘Spanish’ playing cards

Kem ‘Spanish’ playing cards appear to depict Spanish conquistadors © 1994.

Cádiz Pattern playing cards

Cádiz Pattern playing cards

Cádiz Pattern playing cards

1897 Naipes ‘El Leon’ 1897

Naipes ‘El Leon’ 1897

Naipes ‘El Leon’ manufactured by Federico Hidalgo (Barcelona, 1897-1899).

2009 Naipes ‘La Criolla’ by Anabella Corsi

Naipes ‘La Criolla’ by Anabella Corsi

Inspired by an archaic Spanish pattern formerly used in Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries.

1815 Naipes Artiguistas, 1816

Naipes Artiguistas, 1816

Naipes Artiguistas published in Concepción del Uruguay, Entre Rios province (Argentina) in 1816, by Fray Solano García.

1875 Anon Spanish Cards c.1875

Anon Spanish Cards c.1875

Spanish-suited playing cards made in Belgium by Léonard Biermans, c.1875.

1970 Canary Islands Souvenir

Canary Islands Souvenir

Canary Islands Souvenir by Heraclio Fournier, c.1970.

1951 Martínez de León

Martínez de León

Bull-fighters pack published by Hijos de Heraclio Fournier, Vitoria (Spain) with artwork by Andrés Martínez de León, 1951.

Naipes Españoles “El Mexicano”

Naipes Españoles “El Mexicano”

Standard Catalan-type deck, titled "El Mexicano", by an anonymous Argentinean manufacturer, c.1980s.

2008 Foto Joker

Foto Joker

'Foto Joker' Spanish playing cards for Matera Color Laboratory, 2008.

El Jokey by Piatnik, 1990s

El Jokey by Piatnik, 1990s

‘El Jokey’ Spanish-suited pack by Piatnik & Sons, Vienna, 1990s

Xilografías de Mallorca

Xilografías de Mallorca

Spanish National pattern re-printed from original woodblocks which are preserved in the monastery at Valdemosa, Mallorca, c.1960.

1978 Philishave


Spanish-suited advertising deck for Philishave electric razors.

1995 Baraja Canaria

Baraja Canaria

‘La Auténtica Baraja Canaria’ was published in 1995 by Justo Pérez as an expression of the history and character of the Canary Islands.

1888 Jaime Margarit - Recreo Infantil

Jaime Margarit - Recreo Infantil

'Recreo Infantil' children's educational cards published by Jaime Margarit, Palamós (Gerona) c.1888.

1710 Benoist Laius

Benoist Laius

Spanish playing cards such as these were used in those parts of France where certain games were enjoyed, such as Aluette.

1993 Baraja Edad Media

Baraja Edad Media

Baraja Edad Media, fantasy Spanish-suited medieval playing cards published Mas-Reynals, Barcelona, 1993. Designed by M. Malé and illustrated by V. Maza.

La Española Classic

La Española Classic

‘La Española Classic’ is a traditional ‘La Española’ Spanish-suited pack and is produced in several sizes (standard, round, small and pocket).

Joan Barbot

Joan Barbot

Joan Barbot, San Sebastian c.1765-1810.

Taxation on Spanish Playing Cards

Taxation on Spanish Playing Cards

Taxation on Spanish Playing Cards.

Navarra, XVII Century

Navarra, XVII Century

Facsimile of 17th century Spanish-suited playing cards produced by Erregeak, Sormen S.A., Vitoria-Gasteiz (Alava), Spain, 1988.

Cartes Catalanes

Cartes Catalanes

Cartes Catalanes are used in a small area in the Eastern Pyrenées region of Southern France.

Copag Baralho Espanhol

Copag Baralho Espanhol

Copag Baralho Espanhol / Naipes Español.



Anonymous Moroccan Playing Cards for Royal Air Maroc airlines and others...

Chaudsoleil Wine

Chaudsoleil Wine

Chaudsoleil Red Wine advertising playing cards from Morocco.



Dengue prevention playing cards. Juego de 40 Naipes. Material para la prevención del Dengue, Ministerio de Salud de la Nación (Argentina).

1990 Baraja Digital

Baraja Digital

Baraja Digital by Naipes De La Cigüeña, 1990.

Agostino Bergallo

Agostino Bergallo

Agostino Bergallo Spanish pattern made for South American countries

Giuseppe Cattino

Giuseppe Cattino

Playing cards manufactured in Italy by Giuseppe Cattino and Paolo Montanar for Spanish markets.

Naipes del Salitre

Naipes del Salitre

Playing cards recovered from the Northern Chile saltpetre workers. The cards are mostly from Spanish 'Cadiz' pattern decks, and several manufacturers can be identified.

Pedro Bosio

Pedro Bosio

Cards of the Spanish National Pattern 'Money Bag' type manufactured by Pedro Bosio, Genova (Italy) probably during the 18th century and for export to Spain or South America.

Maciá Pattern

Maciá Pattern

Maciá Pattern

1980 Naipes ‘Baccarat’

Naipes ‘Baccarat’

An example of the typical version of the Spanish Catalan pattern which is widely used in South American countries, especially Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

1905 S. Giráldez, Barcelona

S. Giráldez, Barcelona

Standard Spanish Catalan pattern playing cards by S. Giráldez, Barcelona, c.1905.

1871 Baraja de Amor

Baraja de Amor

Hijos de José Garcia Taboadela was a book-seller who also published this charming pack of lovers' fortune telling cards in 1871.

1833 José Gombau, c.1833

José Gombau, c.1833

Deck of half-sized [58 x 35 mms] Spanish-suited playing cards in the Maciá pattern produced by José Gombau, c.1833.

1880 A Todos Alumbra

A Todos Alumbra

40-card "A Todos Alumbra - Naypes Refinos" pack manufactured by Léonard Biermans, Turnhout, c.1880.