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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.

Soberano

‘Naipes Soberano’ published by Productora de Naipes y Confetti, S.A., Mexico, c1990s

Naipes Soberano

published by Productora de Naipes y Confetti, S.A., Georgia 167, Colonia Napoles, Mexico 03810, D.F., c.1990

Based closely on Naipes ‘Gallo’ by Clemente Jacques, which have become almost a standard pattern in Mexican playing cards, which in turn are inspired by Fournier's ‘Castilian’ pattern designed by Augusto Rius in the 1880s. Pronaco also produce similar packs with the brand names ‘Centenario’, ‘Emperador’ and ‘Imperial’, as well as tarot packs.

Naipes Soberano published by Productora de Naipes y Confetti, S.A., Mexico, c1990s

Above: ‘Naipes Soberano’ published by Productora de Naipes y Confetti, S.A., Mexico, c1990s. 40 cards, plastic coated. The publisher's name appears on the four Jacks (or ‘Sotas’) and on the Four and Ace of Coins. More recent editions of this pack appear to have been printed in China.

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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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