MOROCCO & ALGERIA
The earliest literary references to playing cards in Europe refer to the game having been introduced by a 'Saracen', and also to Moorish and Damascene varieties of playing card. We do not know for sure what these fourteenth century cards looked like but for an idea click here and here.
The cards found in Morocco today are faithful replicas of the old Spanish National Pattern, a style of playing cards which emanated from Barcelona during the 17th century and was also made in Marseille. In most other countries where Spanish-suited cards are used the more Modern Catalan or Castilian patterns are usually found.
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries playing cards were imported into Morocco and Algeria from Spain and France by manufacturers such as Camoin, La Ducale, B.P. Grimaud and others. These were of the Spanish National pattern, based on the Félix Solesio designs produced by the Real Fábrica de Madrid at Macharaviaya (1776-1815).
The Camoin firm closed down in 1971, but many clones of Camoin's cards have been, and still are being produced by a succession of Moroccan printers and cardboard manufacturers, usually from Casablanca. These include:
What is noticeable about all these imitations is that, with one or two exceptions, they are all virtually identical, showing a strong adherence to tradition. Apart from a gradual simplification in the outlines, the main change has been the disappearance of the tethered goat in the background of the Sota (Jack) of coins in some of the lowest grade examples. With the modernisation of Morocco, perhaps traditions will loosen further
See also: Maroc Souvenir.