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Published March 09, 2018 Updated March 09, 2018

Primiera Bolognese

Primiera Bolognese by Modiano, c.1975

Italy Modiano Bolognese History Patterns and Suit Types Add to Collection

Primiera Bolognese was a gambling game played in Italy from the first half of the 16th century and this pattern derives from that period or even earlier. As it is now produced as a double-ended deck, some archaic features have been chopped off. Originally it had maids instead of jacks in cups and coins (a feature shared in Florentine Minchiate) and it also shares court card designs with Tarocco di Bologna. The dragon head on the ace of swords can still be seen. See the Box

Tarocchino cards, early 17th Century, French National Library

Above: early 17th century Tarocchino cards showing archaic features Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Primiera Bolognese by Modiano, c.1975 Primiera Bolognese by Modiano, c.1975

Above: Primiera Bolognese by Modiano, c.1975. The Primiera deck has 40 cards: Ace to 7, Knave, Knight, and King. The numeral cards have interlaced swords and staves. The object of the game is to attain the highest possible hand. The player who holds the prime, a sequence of the best cards and a good trump, is sure to be successful over the adversaries – hence the game’s name. Images courtesy Rex Pitts.

REFERENCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primero

Mann, Sylvia: All Cards on the Table, Jonas Verlag/Deutsches Spielkarten-Museum, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, 1990

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

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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