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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.

Hija de A. Comas “El Periquito”, c.1930

Sebastian Comas y Ricart - Hija de A. Comas “El Periquito” Spanish-suited playing cards for export to Argentina, c.1930.

El Periquito en el Aro

Hija de A. COMAS “El Periquito” brand Spanish Catalan style playing cards, imported into Argentina by Casa Bertrand Domec de F. Fernández y J. Fagoaga (Sucesores), B. de Irigoyen 223, Buenos Aires, 1930s

“El Periquito” brand had been acquired when Cristobal Massó i Artigas was taken over in 1896. This brand was produced by Antonio Comas y Montaner for Fló Hermanos, importers, Buenos Aires, since late 1890s, then by Viuda de Antonio Comas and then by Hija de A. Comas for export to Argentina, whose details can be read on the wrapper. The importing agent in this example is Casa Bertrand Domec, whose details can be read on the four of cups. The orange/brown "Mercury" tax stamp for imported playing-cards is also visible, as well as the tax band.    (See also Naipes "El Ciervo").

Comas No.1-S “El Periquito” playing cards c.1932

Above: “El Periquito” brand Spanish Catalan style playing cards, imported into Argentina by Casa Bertrand Domec de F. Fernández y J. Fagoaga (Sucesores), B. de Irigoyen 223, Buenos Aires, 1930s

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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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