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Artex Quadrilato for Tunisia

Artex Quadrilato No.333 for Tunisia

The Arabic imprint on the Ace of Diamonds refers to the Tunisian playing card monopoly

Artex Quadrilato No.333 for Tunisia

Playing cards in Tunisia have followed French influence. These Belgian/Genoese type playing cards are based on the French Paris pattern produced by Grimaud in late 19th century, but with green replacing the usual blue. The Jack of Clubs has a triangular shield whose design resembles the coat of arms of the former Spanish Netherlands. Grimaud's pattern was used in casinos in Belgium, Spain & South America, and had also been extended into the Ottoman Empire, the Balkans and the Mediterranean from Algeria to Syria. It is also known in Turkey. It is gradually being replaced today by the Anglo-American pattern.

Artex Quadrilato No.333 for Tunisia

Above: Artex “Quadrilato No.333” Genoese style playing cards for Tunisia, 40 cards, square corners, c.1970. The Arabic imprint on the Ace of Diamonds refers to the Tunisian tobacco and playing card monopoly, while the letters 'RMT' on the backs signify 'Régie Monopole Tunisie'. “Artex” was the export brand name used by Játékkártyagyár és Nyomda (Playing-Card Factory and Printing House) after Piatnik pulled out of their Budapest branch. Images courtesy Rex Pitts.

See also: Genoese style playing cards for Tunisia by Léonard Biermans, c.1970

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

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Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


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