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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.

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Latin America

64 Articles

Argentinian Playing Cards - Naipes Argentinos

Playing cards were introduced to the Americas with Spanish explorers such as Columbus or Cortés.

Argentinian Playing Cards - Naipes Argentinos

Quinto Centenario del Descubrimiento de América

Fifth Centenary of the Discovery of America by Heraclio Fournier, 1992.

Quinto Centenario del Descubrimiento de América

Parisian style Spanish deck by Grimaud

Parisian style Spanish deck by Grimaud for export to Uruguay.

Parisian style Spanish deck by Grimaud

Naipes Criollos

“Naipes Criollos” Gaucho playing cards, 1995.

Naipes Criollos

Pedro Domecq

Anglo-American pattern for Pedro Domecq Mexican brandy made by Productos Leo S.A., c.2000

Pedro Domecq

Naipe Cantaclaro

A colourful version of the Spanish Catalan pattern from Colombia, with a crowing cockerel on the 4 of cups.

Naipe Cantaclaro

Naipes Artiguistas, 1816

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

Naipes Artiguistas, 1816

Naipes Españoles “El Mexicano”

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

Naipes Españoles “El Mexicano”

Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals

Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals, c.1998 & Bodegas Trapiche, 2003.

Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals

Bicicleta num.810

The United States Playing Card Co. issued Spanish versions of their flagship brand.

Bicicleta num.810

9: Standard English Cards From Latin America: Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela

A continuation of the survey of designs used in Central and South America.

9: Standard English Cards From Latin America: Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela

8: Standard English Cards in Latin America: Argentina, Brazil and Chile

A brief survey of the designs of English cards in South America.

8: Standard English Cards in Latin America: Argentina, Brazil and Chile

Ciudad de Quito

Pack of souvenir playing cards made in Quito, Ecuador, featuring black & white photographs depicting Ecuador as one of the great nations on Earth

Ciudad de Quito

Fournier No. 55

Naipes Intransparentes de Una Hoja No.55 made by Hijos de Heraclio Fournier (Vitoria) for exportation to Argentina, c.1940.

Fournier No. 55

Copa de Oro 1980

Naipes “Copa de Oro 1980” manufactured by Compañía General de Fósforos Montevideana, 1980.

Copa de Oro 1980

Supermercados CHIP

Supermercados CHIP playing cards manufactured in Uruguay by Compañía General de Fósforos Montevideana, 1979

Supermercados CHIP

Cía Gral de Fósforos

Compañía General de Fósforos Montevideana, founded in 1893.

Cía Gral de Fósforos

Agostino Bergallo

Agostino Bergallo Spanish pattern made for South American countries

Agostino Bergallo

Giuseppe Cattino

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

Giuseppe Cattino

Pedro Bosio, 2

Cards of the Spanish National Pattern manufactured by Pedro Bosio, Genova (Italy) during the 18th century for export to South America.

Pedro Bosio, 2

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.

Pedro Bosio

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.

Naipes ‘Baccarat’

Vistas del Perú, c.1920s

Vistas del Perú souvenir deck, made in USA and imported by Edw. E. Muecke, Lima, Peru, c.1920s.

Vistas del Perú, c.1920s

Lagos del Sur Souvenir

Lagos del Sur Souvenir playing cards published by Gráfica S.A., Buenos Aires, c.1980.

Lagos del Sur Souvenir

Axe Deodorant

Clearly promoting good personal hygiene, each card shows a young, pouting female model posing seductively and appealing to the playboy.

Axe Deodorant

Naipes Vigor S.R.L.

VIGOR S.R.L (1955 - c1975) manufactured a range of playing cards and card games, including Chinita, La Estrella, Barcelonesa, La Española, Fantasio, Las Rosas, Pokerin, Cartas Gitanas and a Hungarian Seasons pack.

Naipes Vigor S.R.L.

Mesmaekers Spanish Pack, c.1875

Mesmaekers Spanish Pack for export to Spanish colonies and South American countries, c.1875

Mesmaekers Spanish Pack, c.1875

Spanish Cards c.1920

Spanish-suited Playing Cards manufactured by Van Genechten, c.1920.

Spanish Cards c.1920

Minifusor Clásico

Minifusor Clásico, a modern re-drawing of the Catalan pattern published by Difusora, c.1980.

Minifusor Clásico

Naipes Joketa

“Naipes Joketa” by anonymous manufacturer, c.1975. A slightly elaborated version of conosur pattern.

Naipes Joketa

Colombia

Colombia

Joker S.A.

Playing cards manufactured by Joker S.A.

Joker S.A.

Argentinian Playing Cards - Naipes Argentinos

Playing cards were introduced to the Americas with Spanish explorers such as Columbus or Cortés.

Argentinian Playing Cards - Naipes Argentinos

C. Della Penna & Cía, Bs Aires, c.1930-1978

C. Della Penna S.A. playing card manufacturer and publisher, Buenos Aires, c.1930-1978.

C. Della Penna & Cía, Bs Aires, c.1930-1978

Spanish Playing Cards

Spain has played a pivotal role in the history of playing cards in Europe and Latin America.

Spanish Playing Cards

Justo Rodero e Hijos

Justo Rodero e Hijos, playing card manufacturer in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Justo Rodero e Hijos

J. M. Gandarillas, Buenos Aires, c.1815

Playing cards believed to have been designed in 1815 by the Chilean immigrant Manuel José Gandarillas in Buenos Aires and published the following year.

J. M. Gandarillas, Buenos Aires, c.1815

Casa Escasany

Naipes Casa Escasany ~ Magnificent novelty playing cards published by Casa Escasany, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1930s.

Casa Escasany

Francisco Girbau & Cia, Buenos Aires

Francisco Girbau & Cia, Buenos Aires, c.1890-1935

Francisco Girbau & Cia, Buenos Aires

J. F. Sanchez - Buenos Aires c.1895

J. F. Sanchez - Buenos Aires c.1895.

J. F. Sanchez - Buenos Aires c.1895

El Ciervo, c.1930

Sebastian Comas y Ricart - Hija de A. Comas “El Ciervo” Spanish Catalan pattern, c.1930.

El Ciervo, c.1930

Real Fábrica de Macharaviaya

This is the official Spanish National pattern of the 18th century. Design and production was controlled from Madrid as a source of national or regional revenue. The factory was located in the town of Macharaviaya, in the province of Málaga.

Real Fábrica de Macharaviaya

Swiss Spanish-Suited Cards, c.1875

Spanish-suited playing cards manufactured by J. Müller for export to Latin American countries, c.1875.

Swiss Spanish-Suited Cards, c.1875

Naypes Finos made in Belgium

Belgian manufacturers were competing against Spanish makers. Features of the traditional Spanish designs, including many well-known brands, were imitated or plagiarised.

Naypes Finos made in Belgium

Naipes No. 71 Los Leones

Naipes No. 71 Los Leones.

Naipes No. 71 Los Leones

Paraguayan Playing Cards

Paraguayan Playing Cards

Paraguayan Playing Cards