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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Vistas de Lima

Souvenir of Peru playing cards made by Standard Playing Card Co., Chicago, c.1910

‘Vistas de Lima’ souvenir of Peru playing cards

made by Standard Playing Card Co., Chicago, c.1910

Naipe 'Recuerdo del Centenario - Vistas de Lima' Souvenir of Peru playing cards made by Standard Playing Card Co., Chicago, c.1910, imported by Luis Sablich. Señor Sablich owned a little store in Callao where he used to sell imported chocolates, cigars, playing cards and other small European items; as well as fine Peruvian souvenirs of course. The deck contains 52 gold-edged cards + joker in slide box. The cards are of a high quality, with tinted photographs in oval frames on each card and legends in Spanish. The cards depict Lima as a city full of colonial government buildings, statues of heroes, cathedrals, theatres, bullfighting rings and dockyards. Interestingly, the five of hearts (second row) shows the Caja de Depositos y Consignaciones, Lima, which is the building where the Estanco de Naipes administered the tax on Peruvian playing cards.

‘Vistas de Lima’ playing cards made by Standard Playing Card Co., Chicago, c.1910 ‘Vistas de Lima’ playing-cards made by Standard Playing Card Co., Chicago, c.1910 ‘Vistas de Lima’ playing cards, Standard Playing Card Co., Chicago, c.1910

Above: 'Vistas de Lima' Souvenir of Peru playing cards made by Standard Playing Card Co., Chicago, c.1910. 52 cards + Joker in slide box.

‘Vistas de Lima’ playing cards, Standard Playing Card Co., Chicago, c.1910

See also: Vistas del Perú, c.1920s.