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Piacentine Pattern

Piacentine Pattern, double-ended version made by Modiano, Trieste

Detail from Piacentine pattern made by Modiano, Trieste

The Italian ‘Piacentine’ pattern has Italo-Spanish suit symbols and slightly narrow, elongated cards. It was made in single-ended format until around the mid-20th century after which time double-ended versions are more usual. When this happens some features of the old cards are lost. The Ace of Coins used to bear the tax stamp, and shows a single-headed, crowned eagle (as opposed to the Neapolitan double-headed eagle). Cards of Spanish design occur in those parts of Italy formerly under Spanish influence (Neapolitan, Piacentine, Romagnole, Sardinian and Sicilian patterns) although the ‘pintas’ or line-breaks in the outer frames have been lost. Early examples of the Piacentine pattern also have features related to French Aluette cards.

Double-ended Piacentine pattern made by Modiano, Trieste

Above: double-ended example of Piacentine pattern made by Modiano, Trieste. The King of Coins holds an axe and the Cavalier of Coins rides a horse with its back facing the viewer, features which were seen in some archaic, late-medieval Spanish-suited patterns  see example →.   Images kindly supplied by Anthony Lee.

Double-ended Piacentine pattern made by Armanino (Piatnik) c.1977

Above: double-ended Piacentine pattern made by Armanino (Piatnik) c.1977

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator 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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