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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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Litografías Industrias Madriguera

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Spanish Historical Characters playing cards, c.1896

Cards from the Spanish Historical Characters playing cards set printed by Litografía Madriguera (Barcelona), c.1896, which were inserted into packets of chocolate.

Spanish Historical Characters playing cards, c.1896