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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.

El León

Naipes El León by Clemente Jacques y Cia.

Naipes El Leon boxes, 1950 & 1975

Naipes El León, Mexico

Naipes El León, Mexico, c.1975

Spanish suited playing cards made in Mexico by Clemente Jacques y Cia and by Pasatiempos Gallo S.A.

First published in c.1910 by Clemente Jacques y Cia and from c.1970 onwards by Pasatiempos Gallo S.A. The designs have remained virtually unchanged since the first edition.

Naipes El León, Mexico, c.1950

Above: 'El León' playing cards made in Mexico by Clemente Jacques y Cia. 40 cards, c.1950. The manufacturer's name can be read on the Four of Coins and the Jacks of Swords and Cups. The address is given on the box as: F.C. de Cintura No.1, Mexico 1, D.F.

In 1970 the former Clemente Jacques y Cia became Pasatiempos Gallo, S.A., based in Querétaro, Mexico.

Naipes El León, Mexico, c.1975

Above: 'El Leon' Catalan-style, Spanish-suited playing cards made in Mexico by Pasatiempos Gallo S.A. 40 cards, c.1975. The manufacturer's name can be read on the Four of Coins and the Jacks of Swords and Cups. The address is given on the box as: Av. Industrialización No.3, Querétaro, Mexico.


Reference: García Martín, Enrique: Las Barajas de Símbolos Españoles en América, in LA SOTA no.25, Asescoin, Madrid, Sept 2001

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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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