Félix Solesio e Hijos - Real Fábrica de Madrid - Spanish National pattern for Venezuela, 1802. These cards bear various inscriptions and symbols that reflect their origin and purpose. The ace of coins has the inscriptions "Real Fabrica de Madrid" and "Por D. Felix Solesio e Hijos". This indicates that the cards were manufactured by the Royal Factory of Madrid under the supervision of Felix Solesio and his sons. The 4 of coins reads "Naypes Finisinos fabricados fn Madrid H. 1802", which translates to "Finest playing cards manufactured in Madrid, 1802." The 2 of cups bears the words "Para Cracas", showing that the pack was made for Caracas in Venezuela. The medal on the five of coins shows the same coat-of-arms as the ace. The four of cups carries Solesio’s trademark sun, derived from his family name. This sun symbol serves as another distinctive element associated with the Solesio brand.
Since the late 18th century production of the Spanish National pattern was carried on under control of the Real Fábrica de Madrid monopoly, thereby prolonging its life as the orthodox design of the time. Another branch of the Royal Manufactory was set up in Macharaviaya (Malaga) to supply South and Central America, and the Madrid cardmaker Felix Solesio was put in charge. He also appears to have been operating in Madrid in this instance of a pack destined for Venezuela.
Real Fábrica de Madrid - Spanish National pattern for Venezuela, 1801. The inscription on the 2 of cups is "Para Caracas". The ace of coins is lettered "Real Fabrica De Madrid" and "Por D Felix Solesio e Hijos". On the 4 of coins is a shield lettered "Naypes finisinos fabricados en Madrid H. 1801".
Denning, Trevor: The Playing-Cards of Spain, Cygnus Arts, London, 1996.
O’Donoghue, Freeman M: Catalogue of the collection of playing cards bequeathed by Lady Charlotte Schreiber, Trustees of the British Museum, London, 1901 (Spanish 55)
Willshire, W. H.: A Descriptive Catalogue of Playing and Other Cards in the British Museum, Trustees of the British Museum, 1876, reprint 1975 (Spanish 259).
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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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