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Tunisia

Playing Cards in Tunisia. Chkobba is one of the most popular card games in Tunisia, mainly played by men in coffee shops but also played at home by men and women alike.

box from Jeux de Cartes RAMI made in Tunisia, 2012

Playing Cards in Tunisia

Gambling was prohibited in Tunisia until after World War 1 and this probably stifled any local production. The 1st law organizing the tobacco sector in Tunisia appeared in 1898 and matches, salt and playing cards were subsequently added (c.1920) to products managed by the monopoly  more →.   Playing cards in Tunisia have followed French influence, and many packs for Tunisia have been made in Belgium, but cards currently on sale appear to be standard Anglo-American Bridge or Poker packs sold in tobacco shops, as well as souvenir packs made in China. Locally produced packs usually carry a tax stamp of some kind and since the 1970s they have an imprint, usually on the Ace of Diamonds, which refers to the playing card monopoly.

Right: cello-wrapped box from "Jeux de Cartes RAMI" made in Tunisia, 2012 →

The ‘Rami’ deck shown below is presumably a pun on the game Rummy.

Jeux de Cartes RAMI made in Tunisia, 2012

Above: 'Rami' playing cards made in Tunisia (2012), with standard Anglo-American courts and two 'Little Jokers'. The imprint of the national tobacco and playing card monopoly can be seen on the Ace of Diamonds. 52 cards + 2 Jokers + Bridge score card in box. 'Rami' playing cards seem to have been in production for several decades.

  • See earlier examples

    ‘Double Kroon’ for Tunisia made in Belgium by Mesmaekers

    Above: ‘Double Kroon’ playing cards made in Belgium for Tunisia, probably by Mesmaekers c.1960. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

    ‘Double Kroon’ for Tunisia made in Belgium by Carta Mundi

    Above: ‘Double Kroon’ for Tunisia made in Belgium by Carta Mundi. 52 cards + 3 jokers + bridge scores card in box. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

    'Rami' playing cards made in Tunisia, c.1975 Playing cards for Tunisia, with Mesmaekers Joker, c.1975

    Above: 'Rami' playing cards made in Tunisia, c.1975

See also: STEM (Société Tunisienne des Emballages Modernes) website

In hot weather Tunisian men sit around with their shirts off playing cards in the cafés. Chkobba is one of the most popular card games in Tunisia, mainly played by men in coffee shops but also played at home by men and women alike.

Artex Quadrilato No.333 for Tunisia

Above: Artex Quadrilato No.333 for Tunisia, c.1970


Above: “Quadrilato No.44” Genoese style playing cards manufactured by Leonard Biermans S.A. for Tunisia, c.1970.

Above: ‘Monic’ brand playing cards. Dates and manufacturer uncertain, possibly c.1920s.

Les Artisans Tunisiens

Above: “Les Artisans Tunisiens” Jeu de Sept Familles published by Éditions de la Mediterranée, Alpha S.A., Tunis, c.1980

Tunisia souvenir playing-cards made in China Tunisia souvenir playing cards made in China

Above: box and cards from Tunisia souvenir playing cards made in China.

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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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