EXICO shares a long tradition with Spain in the field of playing cards. The early Spanish colonists carried packs of cards with them. When these wore out new ones would have been made from local materials, maybe drum skins, rawhide or paper. The first printing press was established in Mexico in 1539 by Juan Pablos, who had come over from Italy. Cards were undoubtedly very popular, since prohibitions were passed as early as 1539 and the Estanco de Naipes (playing-card monopoly) was established in 1576.
The manufacturer F. Munguia commenced producing playing-cards in Mexico in 1868 with the brand names La Campana and La Estrella. A few years later, in 1872, a certain P. Munguia started production, but it is not known whether the two businesses were related. However, La Cubana S.A. became the successors of P. Munguia and continued producing playing cards with the brand names La Campana and La Estrella. Their 1960s catalogue shows an extended range of playing card brands as well as other products.
One of the more influential, and widely plagiarised, Mexican designs has been Clemente Jacques Marca Gallo playing cards, first published in the 1920s and still produced today by Pasatiempos Gallo S.A. Clemente Jacques also produced the magnificent Naipes Nacionales →
In 1583 one Alonso Martínez de Orteguilla was authorised to administer the manufacture and sale of playing cards in New Mexico (which included Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras). Playing cards were supplied from Seville (Spain) and France, as well as manufactured in Mexico under licence.
By the end of the XVI century over 100,000 packs per annum were being manufactured in Mexico which sold for three reales each and were preferred to those imported from Spain.
Mexico re-gained independence in 1821. Local manufacturers were free once again to produce their own cards, although cards also continued to be imported. Many packs from this period are anonymous and their manufacturers cannot be identified. The designs usually followed the Spanish National pattern and its derivatives, as well as new Mexican designs shown in these pages.
Other Mexican manufacturers and producers include Bartolo Borrego • Emilio Cuenca • Enrique Guerrero • Gómez Hermanos • Comercial y Manufacturera • Productos Artísticos Osiris • Aeronaves de Mexico • Pronaco • Productos Leo • Naipes El Rey • Productos Gacela • Juegos y Fichas S.A. • Productos Camacho • Miguel Galas • Orpamex (Organización Papelera Mexicana) • Productos El Cisne • Grupo Editorial RAF S.A. • Anahuac • Naipes El Venado • Naipes Ramar • Casa Velux • AGSA Comercial • Gráficas Menhir • Multicolor S.A. • Promociones Tauro • Foliproa • Norte S.A. • Mercurio Comunicación and other anonymous makers →.