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 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 →.
Wüst Spanish pattern c.1910 advertising Cuban ‘Tropical’ beer.
The Maya Deck produced by Stancraft for Hoyle, 1976.
Baraja Tonalamatl Mexican Aztec playing cards based on the prehispanic Codex Borgia manuscript.
“Money Bag” pattern by Hermanos Solesi, late 18th c.
Kem ‘Spanish’ playing cards appear to depict Spanish conquistadors © 1994.
“Allfours Carnival Playing Cards” designed by Gabby Woodham, Trinidad, 1995
Cádiz Pattern playing cards
Spanish playing cards with Pre-Columbian designs from Argentina, 2001.
Naipes ‘El Leon’ manufactured by Federico Hidalgo (Barcelona, 1897-1899).
Inspired by an archaic Spanish pattern formerly used in Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Naipes Artiguistas published in Concepción del Uruguay, Entre Rios province (Argentina) in 1816, by Fray Solano García.
Spanish-suited playing cards made in Belgium by Léonard Biermans, c.1875.
Canary Islands Souvenir by Heraclio Fournier, c.1970.
Bull-fighters pack published by Hijos de Heraclio Fournier, Vitoria (Spain) with artwork by Andrés Martínez de León, 1951.
Standard Catalan-type deck, titled "El Mexicano", by an anonymous Argentinean manufacturer, c.1980s.
Apache rawhide playing cards by ‘Tonto Naipero’, c.1871.
Ojibwa Native Indian playing cards hand manufactured on birch bark in imitation of standard French / English cards, c.1875.
'Foto Joker' Spanish playing cards for Matera Color Laboratory, 2008.
Apache Indian Playing Cards made on rawhide, first recorded 1875.
‘El Jokey’ Spanish-suited pack by Piatnik & Sons, Vienna, 1990s
Spanish National pattern re-printed from original woodblocks which are preserved in the monastery at Valdemosa, Mallorca, c.1960.
“Maya” playing cards designed by Russian artist V. M. Sveshnikov and first published by The Colour Printing Plant, St Petersburg, in 1975.
Spanish-suited playing cards made on rawhide and said to have been used by Chilean Mapuche Indians, XVI-XVII century
Spanish-suited advertising deck for Philishave electric razors.
‘La Auténtica Baraja Canaria’ was published in 1995 by Justo Pérez as an expression of the history and character of the Canary Islands.
'Recreo Infantil' children's educational cards published by Jaime Margarit, Palamós (Gerona) c.1888.
Spanish playing cards such as these were used in those parts of France where certain games were enjoyed, such as Aluette.
Baraja Edad Media, fantasy Spanish-suited medieval playing cards published Mas-Reynals, Barcelona, 1993. Designed by M. Malé and illustrated by V. Maza.
‘La Española Classic’ is a traditional ‘La Española’ Spanish-suited pack and is produced in several sizes (standard, round, small and pocket).
The designs of Mayan artists shown here give a general idea of their enormous artistic and cultural potential.
Mexican Poker cards made by Juegos y Fichas, S.A. de C.V., Mexico, 1991
Naipes Nacionales designed by Manuel Bayardi and published by Clemente Jacques y Cia, Mexico c.1940.
Joan Barbot, San Sebastian c.1765-1810.
Taxation on Spanish Playing Cards.
Facsimile of 17th century Spanish-suited playing cards produced by Erregeak, Sormen S.A., Vitoria-Gasteiz (Alava), Spain, 1988.
Cartes Catalanes are used in a small area in the Eastern Pyrenées region of Southern France.
Copag Baralho Espanhol / Naipes Español.
Anonymous Moroccan Playing Cards for Royal Air Maroc airlines and others...
Chaudsoleil Red Wine advertising playing cards from Morocco.
Playing Cards from Guatemala