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Toledo, 1584

Archaic Spanish-suited deck with 48 cards made in Toledo in 1584.

Spanish-suited deck with 48 cards made in Toledo in 1584, found in an old book-binding and now preserved in the Biblioteca Nacional de España [here]. They may have been rejects from a card-maker’s workshop.

This is an archaic, late medieval type, which pre-dates the Spanish National pattern, and has several typical features. Three baton numeral cards have naked children incorported in the design, often seen in medieval cards. The king of coins wields a battle axe over his shoulder. He suirvives in later cards from Provence and also as the King of Hearts in English packs ('Suicide King'). There are several inscriptions, for example the 5 of swords has the inscription “EN TO 1584”; the 2 of swords has the inscription “15 EN TO 84”. Others can be found. The ace of coins has a coat of arms with double-headed eagle. The 2 of coins is dated 1584 and displays the coats-of-arms of Castilla y León (above) and Aragón (below). The two of cups bears a rampant lion; the fours of cups and coins show tri-symmetric motifs which are probably the maker’s guild identity devices.

Spanish-suited deck made in Toledo in 1584 Spanish-suited deck made in Toledo in 1584 Spanish-suited deck made in Toledo in 1584 Spanish-suited deck made in Toledo in 1584

Above: Spanish-suited deck made in Toledo in 1584. 48 cards, printed from woodblocks, coloured with stencils. Unfortunately the specimen is not a fine example, and has been defaced in one or two places. Biblioteca Digital Hispánica / BIBLIOTECA NACIONAL DE ESPAÑA.


References

Biblioteca Digital Hispánica: Colección de cuarenta y ocho naipes

Colección de cuarenta y ocho naipes pertenecientes a una baraja española con los cuatro palos: oros, copas, espadas y bastos // Lugar y fecha de impresión tomados del cinco de espadas: "En To[ledo] 1584" // Naipes sin cortar distribuídos en 4 hojas, 300 x 211 mm, coloreados a la trepa e impresos en xilografía // H. 1: En el dos de copas aparece un león rampante; en los oros una torre en el centro y en concreto en el dos de oros, la fecha 1584 separa el superior con el escudo de Castilla y León y el inferior con el de Aragón. H. 2: En el dos de espadas consta: "15 en TO 84"; en el as de Oros, escudo con águila bicéfala y "En Toledo". Localización: R/41421. Los naipes han perdido algo de entintado y sufrido mínimos desgarros y abrasiones pero en general legibles y sin retoques. Antiguamente formaban un bloque dentro de una encuadernación nobiliaria. Incluye 3 hojas duplicadas muy deterioradas

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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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