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Published June 22, 2022 Updated June 22, 2023

Vicente Gombau y Labad

Elegant fantasy designs by Vicente Gombau y Labad (Madrid), 1861.

1861 Spain Gombau Fantasy Add to Collection

These elegant non-standard Spanish-suited playing cards were published by Vicente Gombau y Labad in Madrid. The four of swords has the date 1861 and the inscription ‘Vte Gombau y Labad’ around an elaborate device containing the coat-of-arms of the city of Madrid, a bear standing by a strawberry tree (madroño). The four cavaliers are reminiscent of medieval crusading knights. All the court cards have feintly engraved scenery in the background. See detail from four of cupsfour of coinsthe back

non-standard Spanish-suited playing cards published by Vicente Gombau y Labad (Madrid) in 1861. Source gallica.bnf.fr / BnF non-standard Spanish-suited playing cards published by Vicente Gombau y Labad (Madrid) in 1861. Source gallica.bnf.fr / BnF

Above: non-standard Spanish-suited playing cards published by Vicente Gombau y Labad (Madrid) in 1861. Stencil-coloured lithograph, 40 cards, corner index numbers, square corners. Source gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France • Vicente Gombau et Labad (Madrid)

Spanish-suited playing cards published by Vicente Gombau y Labad (Madrid) in 1861. Source gallica.bnf.fr / BnF

Above: the four suit symbols are interesting. The ace of coins mentions "Fabrica de Madrid". The ace of batons is held by a hand, and has a serpents coiled around. The ace of cups is an ornamental vase contining flowers, inside a basket - click image to zoom.

Vicente Gombau y Labad (1844-1881) was succeeded by Viuda e Hijos de Gombau (1882-1890).

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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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