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Published July 03, 1996 Updated May 27, 2022

Playing Cards designed by Apeles Mestres, c.1905

1905 Portugal Costa y Valerio Apel-les Mestres Add to Collection

Playing Cards designed by Apeles Mestres, c.1905

Apeles Mestres was a Catalan painter-illustrator who worked from the end of the XIX century into the early XX century. His designs for a pack of playing cards were originally produced by Dondorf of Frankfurt in around 1902. The version shown on this page, published by Costa y Valerio in around 1905, was printed in outlines only, and has been partly hand-coloured with watercolours.


The influence on Portuguese card-making of Frankfurt cardmakers can also be seen in the German-style cards made by Litografia Uniao Ltd in c.1960.


Images courtesy of José Manuel Murcia.

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By Simon Wintle

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.

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