Simeon Durá of Valencia was one of Spain's most distinguished playing card manufacturers, flourishing between 1871-c.1940. In the same league as Naipes Comas (Barcelona) and Heraclio Fournier (Vitoria), it is believed that Simeon Durá learnt his trade whilst serving as an apprentice with Manáut Hermanos, another playing-card manufacturer located in Valencia. When Manáut Hermanos ceased trading in 1871, Simeon Durá opened his first playing card factory just around the corner, in calle San Vicente 116. Soon afterwards his address changed to Guillem de Castro 130, Valencia. By around 1890 Durá had completed an extensive new factory in Arrancapinos No.29 (renamed Angel Guimerá in c.1930).
Durá's early production followed the same designs which had been used by his predecessors Manáut Hermanos but soon afterwards he commissioned artist E. Pastor to create a range of new, distinctive designs. At the same time Durá acquired modern lithographic printing equipment enabling him to compete effectively with other leading players in the market, and to produce his impressive range of highly artistic designs in high quality.
Simeon Durá is known to have exported playing cards to Latin American countries including Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay, as well as The Philippines. The range of playing cards included fantasy designs as well as standard Spanish National, Catalan and Cadiz-style cards for these markets, including specially printed editions for The Estanco de Naipes del Perú, M. Dominguez y Cía of Valparaiso (Chile) and other overseas customers. Durá also produced Anglo-American style 'poker' playing cards with a very elaborate ace of spades and the brand name 'Fortuna', in various qualities, as well as children's packs, advertising packs, Bézique sets, French Baccarat packs and a special 74-card set of 'roulette' cards.
The imposition in 1904 of tax on playing cards by the Spanish government was a severe setback for playing-card manufacturers, and prices almost doubled as a result. This situation encouraged Simeon Durá to diversify and to undertake various other general printing jobs including posters, picture cards, relief prints and boxes. The bullfighting pack (shown below) was produced during this era.
Above: Simeon Durá's 'Baraja Taurina' was in print from 1916 until the 1930s. It was printed with either square or rounded corners and with various backs, including advertisements for Chocolates Angelical, Barcelona, featuring bullfighter photos on the reverse more →
In c.1931 the company name changed to Hijos de Simeon Durá. However, the Spanish civil war adversely affected the company's fortunes from which it never fully recovered and playing-card production was finally abandoned in the early 1950s. The company continued as a general printer until 1970.
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.
A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.
Review of “Trzes’ Moorish Deck” facsimile published by Ulrich Kaltenborn, Berlin, 2023.
Historical figures and artefacts from Navarre with designs by M. Sinués for the Navarre Association ...
‘Baraja Mística’ satirical playing-cards featuring revelling clergy published by Litografía Fernánde...
Satirical playing cards manufactured by Francar y Cía depicting political situation, Barcelona, 1872...
Raimundo García pattern produced by José Cumplido in Madrid, dated 1860 on the four of coins.
‘Amorcillos’ (Cupids), a masterpiece from the golden age of Spanish playing cards by Clemente Roxas,...
Félix Solesio e Hijos - Real Fábrica de Madrid - Spanish National pattern for Venezuela
Aluette game by Fabrique Dieudonné Jeune, Orléans, for Spanish market, c.1850.
A Spanish-suited pack as conceived by 48 different artists from the region of Murcia.
Re-edition of a French-suited Spanish pack from the Napoleonic era, with designs by J. Carrafa.
Baraxa Galega designed by F. Perez Llamosas and published by Naipes Heraclio Fournier, 1983.
Designs by Guitián, published by Ideas Peregrinas, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, c2018.
‘Baraja Fiesta Taurina’ bullfight playing cards published by Heraclio Fournier, Spain, 1975.
Secrets of the Far East playing cards featuring the designs of Violeta Monreal , Spain, c. 1991.
Museo del Prado: Pintores y familias reales / Painters and royal families playing cards.
España imperial / Imperial Spain playing cards with artwork by Serny, published by Heraclio Fournier...
‘Medium Aevum’ (Medieval Life) playing cards designed by Violeta Monreal, published by Heraclio Four...
American Civil War centennial playing cards designed by Teodoro N. Miciano and published by Fournier...
Baraja conmemorativa del 130 aniversario de naipes Heraclio Fournier (1868-1998) Spain, 1998.
Ases de la pintura / Masters of painting playing cards made by Naipes Comas, Spain, c.1990.
Celebrating the costumes, architecture, coins and crafts of Aragon in Spain, with designs by Raúl Ro...
Regional costumes and alpine flora on a French Tarot game pack marking 600 years of playing cards in...
Comic courts and non-standard suits representing the Canary Islands, with designs by Eduardo Millare...