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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.

Playing Cards from Ecuador

There has been very little playing card manufacture in Ecuador. Cards are mostly supplied from Colombia, Argentina & Spain. Known brand names include: Willy Wilson, La Raspa and El Heraldo. Some locally-made tourist souvenir packs are also known including Naipe Ciudad de Quito and Galapagos Islands souvenir cards.

There has been very little playing card manufacture in Ecuador. Cards are mostly supplied from Colombia, Argentina & Spain. Known brand names include: Willy Wilson, La Raspa and “El Heraldo”. Some locally-made tourist souvenir packs are also known including Naipe Ciudad de Quito, Ecuador Turistico and Galapagos Islands souvenir cards. An advertising deck published by UniBanco features adverts for businesses which use their ‘CuotaFácil’ store card.

“El Heraldo” playing cards made in Ecuador since the 1930s

Above: “El Heraldo” playing cards made in Ecuador since the 1930s, inspired by the archaic Spanish National pattern, which is now rarely found (it also survives in North Africa). The ace of coins features the rampant lion with two hemispheres, and the legend "El Heraldo - Clase Extra", with a small flying eagle motif. 40 cards, rounded corners.

image of wrapper from El Heraldo advert, 1930s

Above: detail from “El Heraldo” advert, 1930s

Above: Naipe Ciudad de Quito

Above: Naipe “Mi Ecuador Turístico”

Above: Galapagos Islands Playing Cards

‘CuotaFácil’ Playing Cards for UniBanco, published by Poligrafica C.A., Ecuador.
CuotaFácil Playing Cards produced for UniBanco, published by Poligrafica C.A., Ecuador

Above: CuotaFácil playing cards produced for UniBanco, published by Poligrafica C.A., Ecuador. Each card features an advertisement for a store or business which accepts UniBanco's ‘CuotaFácil’ store card. The box reads "have fun playing and shopping in the best stores in the country." 52 cards + 2 jokers in box.

Cielito Lindo Mexican Restaurant, Guayaquil, Ecuador, c.2005
Cielito Lindo Mexican Restaurant, Guayaquil, Ecuador, c.2005

Above: ‘Fantasio’ brand deck for Cielito Lindo Mexican Restaurant, Guayaquil, Ecuador, manufactured in Argentina by Naipes La Española, c.2005.

Worldwide BMS, Ecuador, c.2005
deck for Worldwide BMS manufactured in Argentina by Naipes La Española, c.2005

Above: ‘Fantasio’ brand deck for Worldwide Business & Marketing Solutions published by Poligrafica C.A. (Ecuador) and manufactured in Argentina by Naipes La Española, c.2005.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thanks to Jose Espinoza for additional research related to “El Heraldo”.

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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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Playing Cards from Ecuador

Playing Cards from Ecuador

There has been very little playing card manufacture in Ecuador. Cards are mostly supplied from Colombia, Argentina & Spain. Known brand names include: Willy Wilson, La Raspa and El Heraldo. Some locally-made tourist souvenir packs are also known including Naipe Ciudad de Quito and Galapagos Islands souvenir cards.