The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published October 26, 2016 Updated December 21, 2023

Naipes ‘El Leon’ 1897

Naipes ‘El Leon’ manufactured by Federico Hidalgo (Barcelona, 1897-1899).

1897 Spain Federico Hidalgo El León Cadiz-Pattern Spanish Suited Add to Collection
Fabrica de Naipes Finos ‘El Leon’, c.1898

Cadiz pattern pack published by, or for, Federico Hidalgo (Barcelona, 1897-1899), including exhibition medals, legends and the well-known 'El Leon' trade mark. The ace of coins shows a trade mark lion with two hemispheres and a sun which had been registered by Jaime García Fossas in 1894, so the pack was probably printed at his factory *. The cards are preserved inside a leather pouch with the legend ‘Atlanta’, suggesting the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition whose goals were to foster trade between southern states and South American nations as well as to show the products and facilities of the region to the rest of the nation and to Europe.

* Victor Ferro comments: "García Fossas was a business owner. His brother-in-law Alejo Gabarró ran the factory (Alejo Gabarró was married to Mª Teresa García Fossas, Jaime's sister). I don't think that the Fábrica León or the Fábrica Sol (see below), located on the same street and number, was really a factory, but rather a warehouse, despite the bombastic announcement".

The demand in Spanish-speaking and ex-colonial countries for such cards, for use in casinos and at home, was attractive not only to Spanish manufacturers, but also to Belgian, French and American makers who regularly produced cards for the Philippines, North Africa and Latin & South American nations where there was no playing card manufacturing industry.

Fabrica de Naipes Finos ‘El Leon’, c.1898 Fabrica de Naipes Finos El Leon, c.1898 Fabrica de Naipes Finos El Leon, c.1898

Above: cards from a traditional Spanish Cádiz-style playing cards published by/for Federico Hidalgo (Barcelona, 1897-1899). The designs are copied from Simeón Durá, 1888, who in turn had copied the designs from Segundo de Olea Lepiani. 48 cards, square corners, printed by letterpress and hand-coloured with stencils.

Fabrica de Naipes Finos ‘El Leon’, c.1898

Above: the wrapper from the above pack, referring to ‘El Leon’ playing card factory (Barcelona) which corresponds with the trade mark on the ace of coins and four of cups on the playing cards. Courtesy Alberto Pérez.

Above: advert for ‘El Sol’ playing card factory (not ‘El Leon’) with the same address as on the wrapper shown above, from 1898 yearbook, Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid, p.44 of the advertising section. The ‘El Sol’ factory is registered (and not ‘El Leon’ ) in 1898, 1899 and 1900, as a manufacturer in Barcelona. This does not mean that its activity began earlier and ended later. Sometimes manufacturers would confuse the public, in this case with Samsó, who had been very famous in previous years. Image and notes courtesy Víctor Ferro Torrelles.


Thanks to Alberto Pérez González and Víctor Ferro Torrelles for help with research and identification.

7 Articles

By Alberto Pérez González

Member since December 21, 2016

I am a researcher and my primary interest lies in playing cards manufactured in Cádiz (not the 'Cádiz' type in general). I have authored several articles in the annual Asescoin magazine 'La Sota'. Among them are: “Madrid’s Playing Cards from the 17th to the 20th Century”; “New Contributions to the Study of Playing Cards in the Valencian Country”; “The Fouquets: 'Navarra pattern' in the Netherlands”; “Divided Playing Cards: Combining Ingenuity with Skill”; “Here Be Dragons: Speculations on the Evolution of the so-called 'Portuguese' Pattern”; “Playing Cards in Chile: News and Chronicles from the Viceroyalty Era”...

I have written and designed the book “Los Naipes de Cádiz” (296 pp). Additionally, I have contributed to the design, layout, and collaboration in Enrique García Martín’s book “Naipes, Arte y Fantasía” (444 pp).

Related Articles

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

QAIPES – cartas españolas

QAIPES – cartas españolas

Spanish-suited cards made in China inscribed “QAIPES” and “BAIPES”!

2019 Baraja de la Cocina Española

Baraja de la Cocina Española

A celebration of Spanish gastronomy, with designs by Silja Götz employing non-standard suits.

2020 Deportivo Alavés 1921-2021

Deportivo Alavés 1921-2021

Drawings by Guillem Bosch of famous Alavés footballers in celebration of the club’s centenary.

2006 Naipes Kukuxumusu

Naipes Kukuxumusu

A 52-card Spanish-suited advertising pack for a clothing company in Pamplona.

2018 Euskal Herriko Mitologia

Euskal Herriko Mitologia

Important figures from Basque mythology, named in four languages.

2016 Líneas rojas 2016

Líneas rojas 2016

Semicaricatural images of Spanish politicians by Jordi Minguell, combined with non-standard suits. ...

2022 Jeu des 7 familles basques

Jeu des 7 familles basques

A Happy Families-type game from the Basque country, with designs by Soledad Bravi and Agathe de Las...

1647 Sevilla 1647 reproduction

Sevilla 1647 reproduction

Facsimile of Spanish-suited pack produced in Sevilla, Spain, 1647.

Miniature spanish-suited playing cards

Miniature spanish-suited playing cards

Pack of 48 miniature spanish playing-cards published by C R.

2010 Manara: baraja de poker

Manara: baraja de poker

Exotic illustrations by Italian comic book artist and writer Milo Manara.

2010 Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland collector’s edition with illustrations of characters from the film, published by...

2001 Women by Royo

Women by Royo

‘Women by Royo’ erotic playing cards published by Heraclio Fournier, Spain, 2001.

1964 Monuments de Paris

Monuments de Paris

‘Monuments de Paris’ souvenir playing cards produced by Heraclio Fournier, c.1964.

1986 B. Braun-Dexon<sup>®</sup>

B. Braun-Dexon®

Publicity pack promoting B. Braun-Dexon’s atraumatic needles, with non-standard courts and pips.

1977 Bibaraja


Amusing designs of boys as circus performers by Alberto Muñiz Sánchez.

1986 Peintres Latino Americains

Peintres Latino Americains

Original artwork by 18 different Latin American artists.

1985 Paco Lobo

Paco Lobo

Highly original and striking designs by Paco Lobo for the fashion house of the same name.

1970 Loewe: Moda Europea Siglo XVII

Loewe: Moda Europea Siglo XVII

Luxury pack for the Spanish fashion house Loewe, with 17th century costume designs by Margot Hamilto...

1988 Toros: De El Cordobés a Espartaco

Toros: De El Cordobés a Espartaco

Publicity pack for the Spanish newspaper Ya with caricatures of famous bullfighters by Fernan...

1994 Baraja de Alava

Baraja de Alava

55 different paintings by Emilio Lope depicting the history and culture of Vitoria and the province ...

1996 Postak – Las Postas

Postak – Las Postas

‘Postak - Las Postas’ playing cards commemorating the history of the Basque postal service, Spain, 1...

1984 Tarot de Madrid

Tarot de Madrid

Black-and-white photographs of models whose faces are made up using elements found on the major arca...

2023 Naipes de Personajes Granadinos

Naipes de Personajes Granadinos

Forty famous men and women with links to Granada, on a pack designed by Rubén Garrido.

2010 El Niño de las Pinturas

El Niño de las Pinturas

Forty-nine distinctive works by Spanish graffiti artist Raúl Ruiz.

1790 Pere Pau Rotxotxo Puigdoura

Pere Pau Rotxotxo Puigdoura

Spanish national pattern by Pere Pau Rotxotxo Puigdoura (1766–1797).

1816 Spanish-suited deck by J.Y. Humphreys

Spanish-suited deck by J.Y. Humphreys

A rare Spanish-suited deck published by J.Y. Humphreys, Philadelphia, c.1816.

2023 Moorish Deck

Moorish Deck

Review of “Trzes’ Moorish Deck” facsimile published by Ulrich Kaltenborn, Berlin, 2023.

1988 El Jueves playing cards

El Jueves playing cards

Caricatures of 52 famous Spaniards for the satirical magazine “El Jueves”.

1980 Naipe Navarro

Naipe Navarro

Historical figures and artefacts from Navarre with designs by M. Sinués for the Navarre Association ...

1981 Bankunión playing cards

Bankunión playing cards

Ingredients and recipes for 24 dishes from different regions of Spain.

1972 Souvenir Playing Cards of Egypt

Souvenir Playing Cards of Egypt

55 different photographic views of Egypt in full colour.

1885 Baraja Mística

Baraja Mística

‘Baraja Mística’ satirical playing-cards featuring revelling clergy published by Litografía Fernánde...

P. Buscaglia: Spanish-suited cards

P. Buscaglia: Spanish-suited cards

Spanish-suited cards published by P. Buscaglia, Mele & Genova.

1870 José Maria Durán

José Maria Durán

Spanish Catalan pattern by José Maria Durán, Barcelona, c.1870.

1872 Spanish Political pack

Spanish Political pack

Satirical playing cards manufactured by Francar y Cía depicting political situation, Barcelona, 1872...

1860 José Cumplido

José Cumplido

Raimundo García pattern produced by José Cumplido in Madrid, dated 1860 on the four of coins.

1879 Juan Humanes y Cía

Juan Humanes y Cía

Raimundo García pattern published by Juan Humanes y Cía, Madrid, 1879.

1850 Pou y Cía

Pou y Cía

Catalan pattern made by Pou y Cía, Madrid c.1860.

1885 Nueva Baraja Taurina

Nueva Baraja Taurina

'Nueva Baraja Taurina' designed by Pedro Maldonado, Madrid, c.1885.

1790 Amorcillos


‘Amorcillos’ (Cupids), a masterpiece from the golden age of Spanish playing cards by Clemente Roxas,...