Origins of Taxation on Spanish Playing Cards
The Spanish playing card monopoly was first established in 1543. It was divided into several regions including Aragon, Toledo, Castile, Seville as well as Mexico and New Spain. Leases for these respective monopolies were awarded on a competitive basis to the highest bidder and subject to strict controls. Lease holders also enjoyed the protection of laws governing the playing card monopolies, which included the outlawing of contraband playing cards and protection against Moors, Turks, Pirates, Corsairs and enemies of the Catholic Faith. Manufacturers were required to sell their packs of playing cards at prices controlled by law. Whilst the different regional monopolies were subject to different fiscal and administrative regimes, it is not clear whether any regional differences existed in the style or design of the playing cards themselves.
Sevilla, XVII Century
Examples of sixteenth century Spanish playing cards manufactured in Seville with distinctive designs were unearthed in Peru during archaeological excavations, click here. These were similar to cards printed by Francisco Flores. However, these early cards bear no resemblance to the seventeenth century cards produced in Seville which are shown below:
Revenues from the Seville playing card monopoly, which also included Granada and the Canary Isles, reached twelve million maravedis when it was acquired by Francisco de Zayas for a ten year tenure. Cards made in Seville during this period have official signatures on certain cards as proof of taxes paid to the treasury.
Seville was a favoured location by gamblers read more →
References: Agudo Ruiz, Juan de Dios: Los Naipes en España, Diputación Foral de Álava, 2000
See also: Gothic Spanish-suited cards • Phelippe Ayet/Jean Pouns • Navarra 17th Century • The Spanish National pattern • The Money Bag pattern • Rotxotxo Workshop Inventories, Barcelona • Real Fábrica de Macharaviaya • José Gombau, 1833 • Sanmarti, 1840 • Maciá Pattern • José Martinez de Castro (Madrid) • Fournier Hermanos (Burgos) 1860 • Heraclio Fournier S.A. (Vitoria) • Baraja de Amor, Hijos de Taboadela, 1871 • Hija de B. Fournier (Burgos) • Ibero-American Deck • Antonio Moliner (Burgos) 1890 • French Catalan pattern • S. Giráldez (Barcelona) c.1910 • Simeon Durá (Valencia) • Belgian Spanish Cards • República Española Souvenir • Vic Joc de Cartes, 1990
Wüst Spanish pattern c.1910 advertising Cuban ‘Tropical’ beer.
In standard English packs the Ace of Spades is associated with decorative designs. This is a historical survey of why this should be.
Some further material relating to cards from nineteenth and twentieth century periodicals.
“Money Bag” pattern by Hermanos Solesi, late 18th c.
Kem ‘Spanish’ playing cards appear to depict Spanish conquistadors © 1994.
Cádiz Pattern playing cards
Naipes ‘El Leon’ manufactured by Federico Hidalgo (Barcelona, 1897-1899).
Inspired by an archaic Spanish pattern formerly used in Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Naipes Artiguistas published in Concepción del Uruguay, Entre Rios province (Argentina) in 1816, by Fray Solano García.
Spanish-suited playing cards made in Belgium by Léonard Biermans, c.1875.
Canary Islands Souvenir by Heraclio Fournier, c.1970.
Bull-fighters pack published by Hijos de Heraclio Fournier, Vitoria (Spain) with artwork by Andrés Martínez de León, 1951.
Standard Catalan-type deck, titled "El Mexicano", by an anonymous Argentinean manufacturer, c.1980s.
'Foto Joker' Spanish playing cards for Matera Color Laboratory, 2008.
Excise Duty was introduced on Australian playing cards in 1932
‘El Jokey’ Spanish-suited pack by Piatnik & Sons, Vienna, 1990s
Spanish National pattern re-printed from original woodblocks which are preserved in the monastery at Valdemosa, Mallorca, c.1960.
Spanish-suited advertising deck for Philishave electric razors.
‘La Auténtica Baraja Canaria’ was published in 1995 by Justo Pérez as an expression of the history and character of the Canary Islands.
'Recreo Infantil' children's educational cards published by Jaime Margarit, Palamós (Gerona) c.1888.
Spanish playing cards such as these were used in those parts of France where certain games were enjoyed, such as Aluette.
Baraja Edad Media, fantasy Spanish-suited medieval playing cards published Mas-Reynals, Barcelona, 1993. Designed by M. Malé and illustrated by V. Maza.
‘La Española Classic’ is a traditional ‘La Española’ Spanish-suited pack and is produced in several sizes (standard, round, small and pocket).
Joan Barbot, San Sebastian c.1765-1810.
Taxation on Spanish Playing Cards.
Facsimile of 17th century Spanish-suited playing cards produced by Erregeak, Sormen S.A., Vitoria-Gasteiz (Alava), Spain, 1988.
Cartes Catalanes are used in a small area in the Eastern Pyrenées region of Southern France.
Copag Baralho Espanhol / Naipes Español.
Anonymous Moroccan Playing Cards for Royal Air Maroc airlines and others...
Chaudsoleil Red Wine advertising playing cards from Morocco.
Dengue prevention playing cards. Juego de 40 Naipes. Material para la prevención del Dengue, Ministerio de Salud de la Nación (Argentina).
Baraja Digital by Naipes De La Cigüeña, 1990.
Agostino Bergallo Spanish pattern made for South American countries
Playing cards manufactured in Italy by Giuseppe Cattino and Paolo Montanar for Spanish markets.
Playing cards recovered from the Northern Chile saltpetre workers. The cards are mostly from Spanish 'Cadiz' pattern decks, and several manufacturers can be identified.
Cards of the Spanish National Pattern 'Money Bag' type manufactured by Pedro Bosio, Genova (Italy) probably during the 18th century and for export to Spain or South America.
An example of the typical version of the Spanish Catalan pattern which is widely used in South American countries, especially Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.
Standard Spanish Catalan pattern playing cards by S. Giráldez, Barcelona, c.1905.
Hijos de José Garcia Taboadela was a book-seller who also published this charming pack of lovers' fortune telling cards in 1871.