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Published September 29, 2011 Updated June 12, 2023

Piacentine Pattern

Piacentine Pattern, several double-ended versions.

Italy Fratelli Armanino Modiano Piatnik Patterns and Suit Types Piacentine Add to Collection
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.


Modiano, Trieste

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.


Armanino (Piatnik) c.1977

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

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


Standard designs printed by Piatnik for Tobako, Milan, Italy, 1980.

Looking at the tuck box for this pack one has no idea who made the cards inside. However, the 4 of Coins leaves us in no doubt – Piatnik of Austria. Their characteristic date mark helpfully appears at the base of the Ace of Coins. This version of the Piacentine pattern by Piatnik is quite different from the one they made for Armanino (above). The courts are double-ended. See the box

Piacentine pattern made by Piatnik for Tobako, Milan, 1980 Piacentine pattern made by Piatnik for Tobako, Milan, 1980

Above: double-ended Piacentine pattern made by Piatnik for Tobako, Milan, c.1980. 40 cards in tuck box. Size: 51 x 91 mm. Images and notes courtesy Roddy Somerville.

NOTE: presumably TOBAKO was a chain of tobacconists in Milan but I can find no information about them.

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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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