Catalan Playing Cards
With about 16% of the Spanish population and a distinct language and culture of its own, Catalonia is one of Spain’s richest and most independent-minded regions. What is known today as the “Modern Spanish Catalan” playing card pattern (to avoid confusion with the French Catalan style) began to emerge with an identity of its own during the early 19th century and became fully developed by the end of the 19th century. It was primarily manufactured by makers in the Barcelona region (Sebastian Comas y Ricart, Wenceslao Guarro, Giráldez, Juan Roura, etc) but is now regarded as a standard pattern throughout Spain and beyond. Packs usually contain 40 or 48 cards.
Non-Standard Catalan playing cards
With a distinct history stretching back to the early middle ages, many Catalans think of themselves as a separate nation from the rest of Spain. During the last hundred years or so several ‘Catalan’ decks of playing cards were produced celebrating this independent national identity. Invariably these are Spanish-suited but with non-standard suit symbols associated with Catalan culture. More recently these have been tending towards a re-affirmation of Catalan people’s desire for independence (mainly the separatist Catalan Republican Left). A selection is shown below (click the ‘plus’ signs):
‘Visca Catalunya’ - 1935
‘Visca Catalunya’ playing cards, originally titled ‘Visca La Sardana’, designed by Lluís Vidal Molnéin 1935. Molné was particularly noted for his illustration work and these playing cards are inspired by traditional rural imagery.
In ‘Baraja Catalana’ the four suit symbols are representative of the regional culture: barretinas (woolly hats or berets), castellers (towers), roses (Saint George) and mushrooms. Building human towers - castells - is a Catalan tradition originating in the 18th century which can be seen performed at local carnivals. Mushrooms are an important part in Catalan cuisine. The court cards show historical persons or attributes of the four suit symbols. The designs are slightly unusual in that there are no ‘pintas’, or border breaks, and no corner pips. Instead there are miniature outline maps of Catalunya in the corners.
‘Cartes Catalanes’ - 2006
Inspired by Catalan history and folk imagery, with court cards depicting historical figures and legendary heroes in a medieval style, this deck seeks to bring Catalan culture back to life. The suit signs are based on the Spanish-suited system but with non-standard symbols.
See also: La Baralla Catalana→
Member since February 01, 1996View Articles
Curator 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.
Issued to mark the opening of line 3 of the metro in Valencia, 1998.
An extraordinary Spanish pack of chocolate advertising playing cards dating from 1920
Archaic Spanish-suited deck with 48 cards made in Toledo in 1584.
Bull fighting card game publshed by Naipes Comas, 1969.
Puss in Boots card game manufactured by H. Fournier, 1981.
Gambling and Vice in the Hours of Charles V: card-playing in the local tavern
Fifth Centenary of the Discovery of America by Heraclio Fournier, 1992.
Donald Duck card game © Walt Disney Productions, by Naipes Fournier, 1984.
Caperucita Roja card game published by H. Fournier, 1981.
Pulgarcito (Tom Thumb) card game published by H Fournier, 1981.
The Adventures of Inspector Gadget quartet game published by Fournier in 1983.
Periquito y Tontín Dominoes, featuring Feliz and Bonzo, 1920s.
“Familias de 7 Paises” card game published by Naipes H. Fournier S.A, Vitoria, 1979.
“Parejas del Mundo” matching pairs card game by Naipes H. Fournier, 1972.
The Adventures of Sport-Billy by H. Fournier, 1981.
Chinese Costumes from the Winterthur Collection, published by Fournier, 1984.
Educación Vial (Road Safety) card game published by H. Fournier, 1995.
Baraja Carlos IV, Félix Solesio en la Real Fábrica de Macharaviaya, 1800.
101 Dalmatas by Naipes Fournier, 1995,
Vanity Fair No.41 Playing Cards by the United States Playing Card Co, 1895. All the number cards have been imaginatively transformed.
Baraja Turística de España by Heraclio Fournier, 1966.
Hercules card game published by Herclio Fournier, 1997.
A Goofy Movie card game published by Heraclio Fournier, 1996.
Sarde pattern published by Modiano, c.1975, based on early XIX century Spanish model.
Archaic Navarra pattern produced for the Pamplona General Hospital Monopoly by Pedro Varangot in 1786.
Navarra pattern produced for the Pamplona General Hospital Monopoly in 1682.
Navarra pattern by an unknown cardmaker with initials I. I., 1793.
Anonymous archaic Spanish Suited pack, c.1760
Baraja ‘Goyesca’ facsimile of original deck published in Madrid by Clemente de Roxas, 1814.
Venezuela Souvenir deck by Heraclio Fournier, c.1980s.
Far East playing cards with designs by Isabel Ibáñez de Sendadiano, c.1980.
Deck designed by J. L. Picardo for Loewe, 1959.
“Romance Español” designed by Carlos Sáenz de Tejada and published by Heraclio Fournier in various editions since 1951.
Baraja “Neoclásica” engraved by José Martínez de Castro, first published by Clemente Roxas, Madrid, 1810.
“Baraja Mitológica” was first published in Madrid in c.1815 by Josef Monjardín from engravings by José Martínez de Castro.
“Europe” designed by Teodoro N. Miciano and printed by Heraclio Fournier in 1962, portraying XIV century European fashions.
“Classic” playing cards designed by Paul Mathison inspired by classical mythology, 1959.
“America” playing cards designed by Teodoro N Miciano, 1960.
Dumbo card game published by Heraclio Fournier, 1992.
Menorca Souvenir by Savir S.A., Barcelona, c.1980.