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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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12 Articles

Naipes ‘El Leon’ 1897

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

Naipes ‘El Leon’ 1897

XV Century Catalan Playing Cards

Uncoloured and uncut sheet of XV Century Catalan Playing Cards, featuring four female Sotas, four Aces and four cards from the suit of batons.

XV Century Catalan Playing Cards

Wenceslao Guarro Catalan Pattern

Wenceslao Guarro Catalan Pattern by Fabricantes de Naipes de España, c.1925.

Wenceslao Guarro Catalan Pattern

Rotxotxo Workshop Inventories

Rotxotxo Workshop Inventories, Barcelona, 1660-1800.

Rotxotxo Workshop Inventories

Spanish Playing Cards

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

Spanish Playing Cards

Juan Roura, Barcelona (1872 - 1962)

Juan Roura produced a range of popular designs including Catalán, Castilian and Cádiz patterns for domestic use exportation.

Juan Roura, Barcelona (1872 - 1962)

Juan Roura No.32 Catalan pattern

Juan Roura No.32, with advertisement for Cervezas Damm, c.1932.

Juan Roura No.32 Catalan pattern

Naipes Finos No.21

Naipes Finos No.21 "Hispano Americana", in the Castilian style, by Juan Roura, Barcelona, c.1940.

Naipes Finos No.21

Juan Roura Catalan

Catalan type by Juan Roura, La Hispano-Americana, Barcelona (1872 - 1962).

Juan Roura Catalan

Torras y Lleó, Barcelona, Spain, c.1838-1921

Francisco Torras y Lleó was a playing-card maker in calle Carmen, Barcelona, who flourished during the period 1838-1860.

Torras y Lleó, Barcelona, Spain, c.1838-1921

Juan Roura, Cadiz pattern

Cádiz type playing cards made by Juan Roura for export to Spanish-speaking countries.

Juan Roura, Cadiz pattern