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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Naipes Gacela

Naipes Gacela & Gacelita.

Naipes Gacela Alta Calidad Superior

Naipes Gacela

Spanish suited playing cards made in Mexico by Productos Gacela.

Naipes Gacela, Mexico, c.1970

Above: Spanish suited playing cards made in Mexico by Productos Gacela. 40 cards, printed on thin card, low overall quality. c.1970. The manufacturer's name can be read on the Ace and Four of Coins and the Four of Cups, but no address is given.

Naipes Gacelita, Mexico, c.1970

Above: 'Naipes Gacelita', half-sized edition of Spanish suited playing cards made in Mexico by Productos Gacela. 40 cards. c.1970. The designs are different to the full-sized edition shown above, but the back design is the same. The manufacturer's name can be read on the Four of Coins, but no address is given.

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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.

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