Cards used in Brazil

Documentation from the early years of the Royal Factory of Lisbon indicates the existence of the "Portuguese, Castilian and French" cards which would also have been used in Brazil.

The Dragon Pack

The so-called "Portuguese" cards used Latin suits, but with dragons on the aces, a human figure on the two of clubs, and other figures representing kings, knights and queens. A certain Luis Schlichting, from Rio de Janeiro, had his name on cards of this type, which he may have imported or made himself around 1830.

The company Moreira & Cia, in the city of Recife, printed one version up to the beginning of the twentieth century.

Cartas Dragão Cartas Dragão Cartas Dragão Cartas Dragão
Ace of hearts, two of clubs, queen of diamonds and knight of spades.

Examples of spanish cards

The few examples remaining from the Royal Factory of Rio de Janeiro includes a woodcut sheet of cards, known as "Castilian" cards, probably derived from the Spanish National standard. The cards form part of the National Library collection.

Cartas do Modelo Espanhol
Cards using the Spanish suit, printed by the Royal Factory.

European immigration to the south of Brazil at the end of the nineteenth century, combined with the fact Brazil neighbors various Spanish-speaking countries, led to customary use of the standard Catalan Spanish deck (manufactured in the 1940s by Lafayette in Recife) in the region.

Ever since, Copag has inspired its version on this standard. In the 1960s, the SOIMCA "Spanish Type" was very popular. The artist Gertre produced a new design for the company in 1993, but it was not well accepted by traditional players.

Probably "Elephant No.50" from the Caxias Factory in Recife, with the Cadiz standard, which circulated in the 1930s.

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    Catalan standard kings of clubs.

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    Gertre design mixing Spanish and Catalan standards.

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    Cadiz standard.

Decks with fruits suits

Another old piece in the National Library is a sheet of cards from the Royal Factory of Rio de Janeiro using a woodcut Paris standard. Although the cards do not have the suit symbols printed on them, they follow the French suit system. They are called "French cards", but were not necessarily made ​​in that country.

Cartas do Modelo Francês
Paris standard cards from the Royal Factory, still lacking printed suits.

By means of trade with Germany, notably via Hamburg, the cards used in the north of Germany arrived. A notable producer was C. L. Wüst of Frankfurt, who printed some decks with views of Brazil on the aces.

A third set of figures was chosen for the first Albino Gonçalves & Co. editions, as is the case of the "Infantil" (or "Children s") deck. Companhia Paulista de Papéis e Artes Graphicas (Copag) continued to use this design, with some variations, initially with the markings “13” and “215”.

Another Frankfurt manufacturer, B. Dondorf, attracted the attention of our publishers. The company s "Mittelalter" was adopted by Azevedo & Co., while Lafayette used the figures of "No.178" for an advertising release.

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    “Infantil”, from Albino Gonçalves & Co.

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    Queens of hearts from Azevedo & Co.

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    Advertising solitaire deck from the Lafayette Factory.

The internacional deck

The “113” was among the first decks sold by Companhia Paulista de Papéis e Artes Graphicas. The design was that of “Trophy Whist #39”, in its second version with large indexes, from the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC). In 1923, with a new back, the “139” was launched, a model name that is still strongly associated with the company.

Copag developed another alternative design, but ultimately allocated it to "Mirim" solitaire cards. Azevedo, Prograf, Lumicart, and A. Queiroz, among others, also made ​​their international versions.

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COPAG solitaire deck.
Souvenir Centenário
São Paulo cards from the "Souvenir for the Centenary".

Fantasy decks

Probably printed by USPCC, the "Souvenir for the Centenary of Brazilian Independence", published in Rio de Janeiro by Francisco Carneiro, is one of the first decks of cards that moved away from the standards known at the time. As an illustrated deck, each card presents a photograph of Rio de Janeiro from 1922, with the exceptions of two cards depicting the Municipal Theater and Luz Station in São Paulo.

In Prograf s "Brazilian Deck" from the 1960s, the figures are from different periods, with regional costumes. In the following decade, Lenita Perroy illustrated card figures with photographs of her models in a limited edition of 100 decks. In 1988, Oriode Rossi issued a set of cards with medieval figures drawn by Percy Vargas.

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    Joker from the “Brazilian Deck”

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    Card from photographer Lenita Perroy.

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    Fantasy card issued by Oriode Rossi.

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    4 (Earth) from the Air suit in the Discus Thrower deck.

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    New Classic, Fashion and Young from Malu Guerra Simões.

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    New Classic, Fashion and Young from Malu Guerra Simões.

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    New Classic, Fashion and Young from Malu Guerra Simões.

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    King John VI by Clécio Penedo.

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    Palmeiras deck from COPAG.

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    Queen of spades modified with “Chiclete com Banana”

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    100 years of COPAG.

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    International variation by Leonor Décourt.

The curious “discus thrower” is a round deck from 1990, issued by Armando Conceição da Serra Negra, where the suits are taken from the four elements, while planets and the sun illustrate the cards, designed by Sequetin. The same year saw plastic editions from Avant Card, created by Malu Guerra Simões: “New Classic”, “Fashion” and “Young”.

Ten years later, it was the turn of Clécio Penedo to illustrate a deck for the Imperial Museum of Petrópolis with personalities from Brazilian history.

Copag has released various non-standard designs, such as the series of soccer teams in the 2000s, where figures based on the international deck wore the shirts of sporting clubs; or "Chiclete com Banana", from 2012, where the traditional figures of the "139" deck were transformed by referencing the musical group.

To celebrate 100 years in the business, in 2008 Copag launched a limited edition commemorative case with cards designed by Simone Mattar. The worldwide bestseller was EPOC, created by Leonor Décourt in 2004 as an artistic reinterpretation of the international deck.

Enfeites Naipes

Other bases for cards

Some artists have used other platforms to illustrate their cards. A good example can be seen in the 53 cards illustrated by Martha Pawlowna Sachidrowitz in the book "Queen of Spades" by Pushkin, published by the bibliophile group "Cattleya Alba". Printed in 1944, originally in silk, the book was reissued the following year on paper. Also in book format, reproductions of 22 oil paintings by Israel Pedrosa, representing Brazilian personalities on the tarot trump cards, can be found in "Brazil in Tarot Cards".

In the 1970s, the graphic artist Ziraldo created 12 humorous card figures for a series of Fiat Lux matchboxes, with each half interacting with the other.

In 1999, Telefónica in São Paulo made ​​a series of 54 phone cards with the same figures repeated in the suits.

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    One of 54 cards illustrated in the book "Queen of Spades"

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    The poet Drummons is "The Juggler" in Israel Pedrosa s tarot.

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    Matchbox with playing card.

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    Playing card in the form of phone card

Artists such as Sonia Menna Barreto and Alex Cerveny have produced works related to playing cards. Some university students have also created interesting pieces as graduation projects. Examples include Juliana Kuperman s "Playing Cards" for the College of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo (2004), and Pedro Biz Eschiletti s "Drawing of a Spanish deck of cards, illustrating the culture of Rio Grande do Sul", for the UniRitter Design Course (2007).

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