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Published December 06, 2004 Updated November 18, 2022

Uruguayan Playing Cards

Until the 19th century playing cards were imported into Uruguay from Spain.

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Uruguayan Playing Cards - Naipes Uruguayos

Playing Cards in Uruguay employ Spanish suit symbols: cups, swords, coins and clubs (termed copas, espadas, oros and bastos).

Until the 19th century playing cards were imported into Uruguay from Spain. The local population was very fond of card games and the abuse of betting and gambling was often a problem for the authorities. Having introduced playing cards to the region during the 16th century explorations, the Spanish treasury department sought to raise revenues from playing cards and in 1778 a crown monopoly tax was imposed on tobacco and playing cards in the Viceroyship. In return for this, higher quality products were supposed to be made available, although in practice this never happened as the cards supplied from the Real Fábrica de Macharaviaya were always found to be deficient in quality. This royal monopoly finally ended in 1812.

After the abolition of the Estanco de Tabacos y Naipes crates of playing cards were imported from foreign countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, USA and Spain. In 1850 Sebastián Comas travelled to Argentina and established business relations with importers Fló Hnos in Rosario. With all these imports new patterns and styles of playing cards were introduced, thereby expanding the repertoire of playing card imagery in general use. In 1830 Uruguay was proclaimed an independent republic. The first known local manufacturer was Somá Hnos in 1896, followed by Compañía General de Fósforos Montevideana S.A. in c.1900, and Bartolomé Triay (1906).

Tax applied to playing cards was finally discontinued in 1975.

More related links / ver más...

Escalada y Vidiella, Montevideo, c1860 Las Cartas de Tacuabe by Manos del Uruguay, Montevideo, 2001 Naipes 'La Criolla' designed by Anabella Corsi, 2008

Known publishers and manufacturers include:

Fray Solano García - Naipes Artiguistas, 1816
Belgian-made pack for Escalada y Vidiella, Montevideo, 1860s
Belgian import for Cerveza el Gallo, Montevideo, 1880s
Somá Hermanos, Litografía y Tipografía Italo-Oriental, Fábrica de Naipes (Montevideo), 1896
Children's playing cards (1920s-30s) - Football, 'National Heroes', Proverbs & Maxims
Botella & Cía, Montevideo, 1920s-30s
José Llorens y Rius 1930s
José Juncosa, Paysandú 1421, Montevideo, 1930s
Camilloni Hnos, Dante 2232, Montevideo - Naipes 'Miguelito', 'Tito'
M.C. de Casabó Ltda, Rondeau 1602, Montevideo - Naipes 'King', 'American', 'Bambú', 'The Monkey', 'Tatú', 'Jaque'
Compañía General de Fósforos Montevideana S.A. - Naipes 'Victoria', 'Victoria Gaucho', 'Ancla', 'Copa de Oro 1980'
Gráficos Unidos S.A. (García Morales-Mercant), Dante 1978, Montevideo - Naipes 'El Gaucho'
Cervantes, Soriano 873, Montevideo - Naipes 'El Gaucho'
Caraven S.A. - Naipes 'El Gaucho'
Akosol S.A. - Naipes 'Baccarat'
Fantasias S.A., Soriano 813, Montevideo - Naipes 'Retruco'
Ingrapa S.A. (Industria Gráfica y Papelera ? sucesores de C.G.F.M.), Santa Fe 1167 (1980s-90s) - Naipes '210', Super', 'Ancla', 'Charabon'
Nacadi SRL, Gutierrez Ruiz 1121, Montevideo (c.1999)
Eduardo Carrión, Pablo de María 1057 Ap. 301, 11200 Montevideo (2000- )
Manos del Uruguay (2001) - Las Cartas de Tacuabé
Las Cartas de Sara promotional playing cards for Carrau & Cia, c.2003
Impresos Manrique for: Inacal, Radisson Hotel (Montevideo)
Chocolondo Children's playing cards for Famosa, Paysandu
Anabella Corsi, Montevideo, (2008- ) - Naipes 'La Criolla'

Market conditions are changing in Uruguay. Casabó S.A. have ceased producing playing cards and other more adaptable, new companies are emerging. Corporate publicity packs are currently being produced by Impresos Manrique and Plasur, who source their playing cards from various manufacturers. Packs destined for the Uruguayan market have also been produced anonymously or in neighbouring countries:

Bazar Lusitano, B&N Solari, Mateo Brunet, Carrau y Cia, Libertad S.A., earlier importing wholesalers, c.1900-1950s.
Argenar for Cymaco motor parts
Anonymous (Chinese) for Yerba Armiño
Conrad Punta del Este Casino
Pilsen TrucoFest
Miniature "Naipes Donald" children's playing cards
Miniature playing cards for "Scooby-Doo! Hellmann's Magic"

Naipes Artiguistas, Entre Rios (Argentina), 1816

Above: Naipes Artiguistas, Entre Rios (Argentina), 1816, based upon the Spanish 'National' pattern.

Las Cartas de Tacuabé

Above: Las Cartas de Tacuabé, playing cards made from pieces of hide by Charrúa Indians, modelled on Spanish cards.

Naipes ‘Miguelito’ manufactured by Camilloni Ltda, Montevideo, c.1950

Above: Naipes ‘Miguelito’ in the ‘Parisian’ Spanish pattern, manufactured by Camilloni Ltda, Montevideo, c.1950.

Naipes ‘Tatú’ in the ‘Parisian’ Spanish pattern, manufactured by M.C. de Casabó S.A., Montevideo, c.1956

Above: Naipes ‘Tatú’ in the ‘Parisian’ Spanish pattern, manufactured by M.C. de Casabó S.A., Montevideo, c.1956.

Naipes “El Gaucho”, c.1955-60

Above: Naipes “El Gaucho”, c.1955-60, a re-interpretation of the ‘Parisian’ Spanish pattern.

cards made in Belgium for Escalada y Vidiella, Montevideo c.1860

Above: cards made in Belgium for Escalada y Vidiella, Montevideo c.1860.

Grimaud Spanish pattern, c.1880

Above: Grimaud Spanish pattern, c.1880, one of many Spanish-suited styles imported from Europe.

Advertising pack for Cerveza ‘El Gallo’ made in Belgium, c.1880

Above: advertising pack for Cerveza ‘El Gallo’ made in Belgium for Galli y Cia (Montevideo), c.1880, based on a Spanish model.

Naipes 'Bambú' Spanish Catalan pattern made by M.C. de Casabó Ltda, Montevideo, 1950s

Above: Naipes 'Bambú' Spanish Catalan pattern made by M.C. de Casabó Ltda, Montevideo, early 1950s.

Naipes ‘American’ manufactured by M.C. de CASABÓ Ltda, Avda Gral Rondeau 1602, Montevideo, c.1950

Above: Anglo-American-style Naipes ‘American’ manufactured by M.C. de Casabó Ltda, Montevideo, c.1950.

The 'Parisian' Spanish pattern became established in Uruguay based on examples imported from France. At some point (c.1960) Uruguayan manufacturers tried to 'modernise' the appearance of this pattern with new court designs based loosely on Fournier's 'Castilian' pattern. This 'New Uruguayan' pattern is still produced today. The Spanish 'Catalan' pattern also arrived, imported from Barcelona or Argentina. Some Anglo-American style packs have also been produced with interesting court card designs. Second only to Argentina, Uruguay has produced a number of Gaucho themed packs as well as a selection of novel designs and children's packs. More recently, since 1990, large quantities of playing cards are imported from Spain, USA, China and Brazil.

Gaucho Uruguayan Playing Cards - Naipes Uruguayos

Above: Naipes Victoria Gaucho-themed pack manufactured by Compañia General de Fósforos Montevideana, S.A., c.1975.  more →

Baraja Club Nacional de Football, Uruguay, 1999

Above: Baraja Club Nacional de Football, Uruguay, 1999.  more →

Pilsen Trucofest Playing cards, Uruguay, c.2008

Above: non-standard breweriana deck for Pilsen Lager Trucofest, Uruguay, c.2008.  more →

Conrad Punta del Este Casino playing cards

Above: Conrad Punta del Este Casino playing cards.  more →

Naipes ‘Charabon’ made by Industria Gráfica Papelera S.A., Santa Fe, Uruguay, 1983

Above: Naipes ‘Charabon’ made by Industria Gráfica Papelera S.A., Santa Fe, Uruguay, 1983.  more →

Uruguayan playing cards featuring cartoons designed by Alvaros with advertising backs for Copri Correo Privado, 2000

Above: deck featuring cartoons designed by Alvaros, 2000.  more →

Las Cartas de Sara (Yerba Mate) illustrated by Hogue, 2003

Above: Las Cartas de Sara (Yerba Mate) illustrated by Hogue, 2003.  more →

REFERENCES

Silvera Antúnez, Marcos: Historia de los Naipes en el Uruguay 1724-2015, Ediciónes el Galeón, Montevideo, 2015

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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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