The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published August 29, 2011 Updated June 29, 2023

Taxation on Spanish Playing Cards

Taxation on Spanish Playing Cards.

Spain Tax Spanish Suited Add to Collection

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:

Spanish playing cards, Seville, 1638

Above: Spanish playing cards, woodcut & stencil, Seville, dated 1638 on the Ace of Cups. The Ace of Batons and the Two of Cups have small naked figures adorning the suit symbols. The Ace of Coins has a two-headed imperial eagle. Inscriptions on the cards read: "En S (en Sevilla) Con Licencia del Rey." These cards were discovered inside a wall during the demolishing of the former Granada prison, and were probably handled by gambling card players running a racket inside jail. Image of cards in the Fournier Museum, Alava, taken from: Agudo Ruiz: Los Naipes en España, Diputación Foral de Álava, 2000.

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.

Above: Spanish playing cards, woodcut & stencil, made in Seville, dated 1647 on the Two of Coins. Official signatures on certain cards were proof that taxes had been paid to the treasury. Image of cards in the Fournier Museum taken from: Agudo Ruiz: Los Naipes en España, Diputación Foral de Álava, 2000.

Above: Spanish playing cards, woodcut & stencil, made in Seville, late XVII centiry. Several cards bear legends relating to the royal licence for the administration of the sale of playing cards. Two Sotas also have banderoles with the text 'En Sevilla'. Image of cards in the Fournier Museum taken from: Agudo Ruiz: Los Naipes en España, Diputación Foral de Álava, 2000.

Seville was a favoured location by gamblers  read more →


Madrid, 1879

References: Agudo Ruiz, Juan de Dios: Los Naipes en España, Diputación Foral de Álava, 2000

See also:   Gothic Spanish-suited cardsPhelippe Ayet/Jean PounsNavarra 17th CenturyThe Spanish National patternThe Money Bag patternRotxotxo Workshop Inventories, BarcelonaReal Fábrica de MacharaviayaJosé Gombau, 1833Sanmarti, 1840Maciá PatternJosé Martinez de Castro (Madrid)Fournier Hermanos (Burgos) 1860Heraclio Fournier S.A. (Vitoria)Baraja de Amor, Hijos de Taboadela, 1871Hija de B. Fournier (Burgos)Ibero-American DeckAntonio Moliner (Burgos) 1890French Catalan patternS. Giráldez (Barcelona) c.1910Simeon Durá (Valencia)Belgian Spanish CardsRepública Española SouvenirVic Joc de Cartes, 1990

avatar
1,432 Articles

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.


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 Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 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.

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

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

1802 Félix Solesio e Hijos

Félix Solesio e Hijos

Félix Solesio e Hijos - Real Fábrica de Madrid - Spanish National pattern for Venezuela

1805 Four Empires - Clemente Roxas

Four Empires - Clemente Roxas

‘Four Empires’ playing cards produced by Clemente Roxas, c.1805.

1815 Llombart Costume Pack

Llombart Costume Pack

Military-style costume pack made by Anton Llombart, Barcelona, 1815.

1821 Juan de Brugada

Juan de Brugada

Spanish National pattern by Juan de Brugada e hijo, Real Fábrica de Madrid, 1821.

1850 Aluette by Dieudonné Jeune, Orléans, c.1850

Aluette by Dieudonné Jeune, Orléans, c.1850

Aluette game by Fabrique Dieudonné Jeune, Orléans, for Spanish market, c.1850.

1986 Baraja Española de Pintores Murcianos

Baraja Española de Pintores Murcianos

A Spanish-suited pack as conceived by 48 different artists from the region of Murcia.

1991 Baraja Napoleónica

Baraja Napoleónica

Re-edition of a French-suited Spanish pack from the Napoleonic era, with designs by J. Carrafa.

1983 Baraxa Galega

Baraxa Galega

Baraxa Galega designed by F. Perez Llamosas and published by Naipes Heraclio Fournier, 1983.

1977 El Desnudo en el Arte

El Desnudo en el Arte

The Nude in Art / El Desnudo en el Arte, Spain, 1977 (reprint 1990)

2018 Baraja del Camino de Santiago

Baraja del Camino de Santiago

Designs by Guitián, published by Ideas Peregrinas, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, c2018.

1992 Naipes Expo ’92

Naipes Expo ’92

Naipes Expo ’92 souvenir playing cards manufactured by Naipes Comas, 1992.

1975 Baraja Fiesta Taurina

Baraja Fiesta Taurina

‘Baraja Fiesta Taurina’ bullfight playing cards published by Heraclio Fournier, Spain, 1975.

1991 Secretos de Oriente

Secretos de Oriente

Secrets of the Far East playing cards featuring the designs of Violeta Monreal , Spain, c. 1991.

Museo del Prado

Museo del Prado

Museo del Prado: Pintores y familias reales / Painters and royal families playing cards.

1983 España Imperial

España Imperial

España imperial / Imperial Spain playing cards with artwork by Serny, published by Heraclio Fournier...

1988 Medieval Life playing cards

Medieval Life playing cards

‘Medium Aevum’ (Medieval Life) playing cards designed by Violeta Monreal, published by Heraclio Four...

1880 Four Continents playing cards

Four Continents playing cards

made by Fulladosa y Comp of Barcelona

1961 American Civil War playing cards

American Civil War playing cards

American Civil War centennial playing cards designed by Teodoro N. Miciano and published by Fournier...

1998 Naipes Heraclio Fournier 130th Anniversary

Naipes Heraclio Fournier 130th Anniversary

Baraja conmemorativa del 130 aniversario de naipes Heraclio Fournier (1868-1998) Spain, 1998.

2002 Gaudí playing cards

Gaudí playing cards

Gaudí playing cards with photography by Ramon Manent, Spain, 2002.