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 →.
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.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A rare Spanish-suited deck published by J.Y. Humphreys, Philadelphia, c.1816.
Pacific Northwest native Indian masks with artwork by Margaret Parrott, USA, 1992.
Original designs inspired by Mayan art and culture published by Fernando Güemes, Mexico.
Latin American designs by Productora de Naipes y Confetti (Pronaco), S.A., Mexico, c1980.
Playing cards reflecting the history and culture of Suriname, on the northeastern coast of South Ame...
XV Century Spanish-suited playing cards with moorish influences
Colourful Mexican version of standard Spanish designs, by Productos Leo, S.A., c.1980s.
54 colour photographs of costumes and artefacts connected with the Inca civilisation, unknown publis...
Fantasy Spanish-suited playing cards by Bertschinger y Codina (Barcelona), c.1850.
Luxurious Spanish-suited pack made by Alphonse Arnoult, Paris, France, c.1850.
Double-ended Spanish-suited playing cards published by Clemente de Roxas in Madrid, 1814.
Archaic Spanish-suited playing cards published in Toulouse by Antoine de Logiriera (1495-1518).
Baraja Tonalamatl Mexican Aztec playing cards based on the prehispanic Codex Borgia manuscript.
Kem ‘Spanish’ playing cards appear to depict Spanish conquistadors © 1994.
“Allfours Carnival Playing Cards” designed by Gabby Woodham, Trinidad, 1995
Naipes ‘El Aguila’ with flamboyantly dressed court figures made in Mexico by La Cubana S.A., c.1975....
Anglo-American pattern for Pedro Domecq Mexican brandy made by Productos Leo S.A., c.2000.
‘Selección Nacional de Fútbol’ playing cards published in Mexico by Novelty Corp de México S.A. de C...
Inspired by an archaic Spanish pattern formerly used in Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Spanish-suited playing cards made in Belgium by Mesmaekers Frères, c.1875.
Bull-fighters pack published by Hijos de Heraclio Fournier, Vitoria (Spain) with artwork by Andrés M...