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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.

Poker Taurino

Baraja Taurina was published by Enrique Guerrero, c.1950. Subsequently published as Poker Taurino by Clemente Jacques y Cia, S.A.

Poker Taurino by Carlos Ruano Llopis, Mexico, c.1950

boxes from different editions of Baraja Taurina designed by Carlos Ruano Llopis, Mexico

Baraja Taurina first edition was published by Enrique Guerrero (printed by Offset-Latina, Mexico, c.1949) in red or blue hard boxes. Subsequently published as Poker Taurino by Clemente Jacques y Cia, S.A. in cardboard tuck boxes.  In both cases the oil paintings are by Carlos Ruano Llopis (1878-1950), a Spanish bull-fight artist from Valencia who had emigrated to Mexico during the Spanish Civil War. There have been some changes in the design details over the years, notably the manufacturer's details printed on the Joker and King of Hearts and the reverse. A Spanish-suited version is shown below.

two editions of Baraja Taurina and Poker Taurino published by Enrique Guerrero and Clemente Jacques y Cia, Mexico, 1950s

Above: two editions of Baraja Taurina (and Poker Taurino) published by Enrique Guerrero and Clemente Jacques y Cia respectively. There appears to be an unfortunate typographical error on the Queen of Diamonds.

Spanish-suited version

Above: box and three cards from the Spanish-suited version of Baraja Taurina designed by Carlos Ruano Llopis. This early edition was published by Enrique Guerrero but later editions were published by Clemente Jacques y Cia. 40 cards. The Spanish-suited version is much harder to find than the French-suited versions shown above.

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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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Poker Taurino

Poker Taurino

Baraja Taurina was published by Enrique Guerrero, c.1950. Subsequently published as Poker Taurino by Clemente Jacques y Cia, S.A.