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Jaime Margarit - Recreo Infantil

'Recreo Infantil' children's educational cards published by Jaime Margarit, Palamós (Gerona) c.1888.

Educational playing cards have of course been around for several centuries, and are not new. Jaime Margarit of Palamós, Gerona (Spain) registered a patent for a new pack of “Naipes Instructivos” (Instructional playing-cards) in 1888. As can be seen, each card shows a letter or syllable in the top corners, vowel permutations for consonants, a series of images whose names in Spanish commence with that letter or syllable, and a miniature playing card in the centre. The images include animals, geometrical forms and other edifying objects. The wrapper and Ace of Coins state that Jaime Margarit was a Bachelor of Arts and Senior Teacher. The Ace of Coins also shows two children studying with allegories of learning.

Jaime Margarit, Palamós (Gerona) 'Recreo Infantil' children's educational cards, c.1888

Above: 'Recreo Infantil' children's educational cards published by Jaime Margarit, Palamós (Gerona) c.1888. 48 cards in paper wrapper. Quite a lot of these decks appear for sale on the Internet in new condition, leading one to suppose that they were unsold in their day.


A great fashion for educational playing cards had spread from France to Holland, Germany and England during the seventeenth century. They have been popular ever since. For comparison see also:   Logica Memorativa by Thomas Murner, 1507Robert Morden's Map Cards, 1676Arms of English Peers, 1686Proverbial Cards, 1698Mechanical Instruments, c.1700Geistliche Karten, 1718Cartes Questions-Devinettes, c.1840Happy FamiliesJaques' Illustrated Proverbs, c.1885Japanese Uta GarutaChildren's Maxim Cards from UruguayChange for a Shilling, c.1930Indian Alphabetical Cards, c.1940Wild Flower Sevens card game, 1960Snip Snap, 1968Learn Thai Playing Cards, 2009

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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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.


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