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Published June 26, 2023 Updated June 26, 2023

Spanish Political pack

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

1872 Spain Francar y Cía Political Satire Add to Collection

Spanish satirical playing cards reflecting the political situation in Spain following the September 1868 revolution and the ousting of Isabel II. The usual suits are fancifully treated: court cards are caricature portraits of contemporary Spanish political characters, the aces have satirical designs, and the coin suit-marks are old Spanish coins.

The ace of cups depicts Serrano, regent in 1870, in a gilded cage. The jack is Castelar wearing a Phrygian cap, playing the violin. The cavalier of cups is Nicolas Mª Rivero and the king of cups depicts Prince Alfonso wearing the crown. The four of cups depicts the national coat-of-arms and the remaining numeral cards have political issues inscribed on each cup.

Satirical playing cards manufactured by Francar y Cía, Barbara 12, Barcelona, 1872. © The Trustees of the British Museum

The ace of clubs has a banner with the slogan “Absolutism” with various items including an axe and a lobster in the foreground. The jack of clubs depicts Admiral Topete with a disappointed look. The cavalier of clubs is Sagasta riding a bull carrying a bomb. The king of clubs is Don Carlos de Borbon, the pretender.

Satirical playing cards manufactured by Francar y Cía, Barbara 12, Barcelona, 1872. © The Trustees of the British Museum

The ace of coins has a large rosette with the words “España con Honra” (Spain with honor). The image is supposed to represent fallen Spain, freed from the fight with the army. The jack of coins depicts Olozaga holding a sheet of paper bearing the motto “Dios Salve a la Reyna” (God save the Queen). The cavalier of coins is Figueras playing the timbal. The king of coins is the pretender Duke of Montpensier dressed as a king. The coins suit symbols are old Spanish coins.

Satirical playing cards manufactured by Francar y Cía, Barbara 12, Barcelona, 1872. © The Trustees of the British Museum

The ace of swords represents the sword of the law over the state of siege. The jack of swords is Candido Nocedal with the national standard. The cavalier of swords shows Prin riding a mangy lion, hiding the crown. The king of swords shows the vacant throne. The remaining cards in all suits feature various cartoons of impoverished Spain, and emblems of monarchists, republicans, liberals and carlists, as well as various inscriptions.

Satirical playing cards manufactured by Francar y Cía, Barbara 12, Barcelona, 1872. © The Trustees of the British Museum
Satirical playing cards manufactured by Francar y Cía, Barbara 12, Barcelona, 1872. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Above: Satirical playing cards manufactured by Francar y Cía, Barbara 12, Barcelona, 1872. © The Trustees of the British Museum • Museum number 1896,0501.866

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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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