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Published July 03, 1996 Updated September 19, 2023

Neapolitan Pattern

Neapolitan pattern

Italy Modiano Solleone Neapolitan Patterns and Suit Types Add to Collection
Cartine da Gioco Vesuvio Nannina

Cartine da Gioco Vesuvio Nannina children's playing cards, 40 cards, size: 48x35 mms. The Naples or Neapolitan pattern has much the same origins as the Sicilian pattern, many figures clearly having Spanish antecedents although not associated with any particular Spanish pack. It has a small format and examples are known from the late 18th century. The Jacks of Swords and Clubs resemble figures in the early Sicilian pattern. The courts stand on coloured platforms and the eagle on the ace of coins is double-headed and uncrowned. The tax stamp normally goes in the lower circle on the ace of coins.

Cartine da Gioco Vesuvio Nannina

Above: cards from a children's pack, Neapolitan pattern, Italo-Spanish suits, 40 cards. A gargoyle face looks out from the intersection of the 3 of clubs. This pattern is always single-ended: double-ended versions are not known.   see also: Napoletane by Modiano

Neapolitan pattern, Modiano, 1958
Neapolitan pattern, Modiano, 1958

Above: unopened copy of Neapolitan pattern No.97 by Modiano in factory wrapper, export tax stamp visible on the ace, 1958

Napolitan pattern by Modiano

Above: later edition of Napoletane pattern by Modiano. Images courtesy Rex Pitts.

Napolitan pattern, 19th century Napolitan pattern, 19th century

Above: 19th century Napolitan type cards, reprinted from original woodblocks by Vito Arienti, Edizioni del Solleone, 1970.

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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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