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Published September 30, 2010 Updated May 16, 2023

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.

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Pedro Bosio Money Bag

Pedro Bosio, Genova

Spanish National Pattern / “Money Bag” Type

Italian cardmakers enjoyed lucrative trade manufacturing Spanish-suited cards for the Spanish-speaking world including South America. The variant of the Spanish National pattern shown here, known as the Money Bag pattern, is so-named bacause the Sota of Coins carries a money bag in his right hand. Whilst retaining most of the characteristics of earlier designs, it has several idiosyncrasies which differentiate it. The Ace of Coins has a central disc enclosing an eagle with the arms of Spain, with baroque cartouches above and below which read “Pedro Bosio Estanquero In Ghenova”. As in earlier models, the Five of Coins features the facing profiles of Ferdinand and Isabella, and the Four of Coins has a six-pointed star which contains the initials P.B. This derivative of the Spanish National pattern seems to have had a history outside of Spain itself and this example, originally produced in Italy, has come to light in a Chilean collection.

Pedro Bosio Estanquero, Genova Pedro Bosio, Estanquero, Genova Pedro Bosio, Estanquero, Ghenova

Above: cards manufactured by Pedro Bosio, Genova (Italy) during the 18th century and probably for export to Spain, the Philippines or South America. The Ace of Coins has the arms of Spain. The design corresponds closely to the Spanish National pattern, and specifically to the variant known as the ‘Money Bag’ type owing to the Jack of Coins holding a money bag (top row). The cavalier of cups lacks the usual inscription of ‘Ahí Va’. The cards are printed from woodblocks and hand-coloured using stencils. The backs are decorated with a pattern of ermine spots in black.


Pack made in Italy for the Spanish market

The ace of coins has the arms of Spain with cartouches with "Po Bosio. Sstanovero in Gnenov". The 2 of coins has "Naipes Finos" and on the 4 a double triangle with the initials P.B.

cards by Pedro Bosio, Genoa, 18th Century © The Trustees of the British Museum cards by Pedro Bosio, Genoa, 18th Century © The Trustees of the British Museum

Above: cards by Pedro Bosio, Genoa, from 48-card pack, hand-coloured woodcut, backs printed in black with a pattern of ermine spots, 18th Century. Card size = 58x88 mm. © The Trustees of the British Museum number 1896,0501.821

Reference: see ‘Spanish 22’ in: O’Donoghue, Freeman M: Catalogue of the collection of playing cards bequeathed by Lady Charlotte Schreiber, Trustees of the British Museum, London, 1901 [digital version here]

See another example by Pedro Bosio. See also: Giuseppe Cattino   ‘Money Bag’ type by Agostino Bergallo and Hermanos Solesio.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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