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Suit System:S
Recommended Name:  the Llombart pattern.

It is assumed that Anton Llombart originated the pattern, since no versions earlier than his are known. Therefore 'the Llombart pattern' is recommended as an appropriate name.

History and identifying features

The design was printed by Anton Llombart of Barcelona in a version dated 1824, and possibly earlier; it is probable that he originated it. It appeared in other versions, including one by an unnamed maker for Mexico with the inscription "VIVA LA FEDERACION MEJICANA" on a redesigned Ace of Coins. Although Mexico had been a federation of states since the publication of the Constitution of 1824, this pack is thought likely to date from 1843 when the government was stabilised and centralised under a President. Other examples were evidently printed in France, for the Marseille firm of Levenq Camoin acquired printing plates of the pattern previously belonging to Llombart. The same designs appear in other anonymous versions, probably from Belgium.

The pattern is recognised by the fact that all the Cavaliers and Sotas (Jacks) wear hats with very conspicuous feathers. The hats themselves are quite varied - that of the Cavalier of Cups is a helmet; those of the Cavalier and Sota of Swords are turbans. Perhaps the most distinctive single figure is the Sota of Coins, whose generous twin plumes are attached by a brooch to the centre front of a tall Napoleonic hat. His tunic, worn over knee-breeches, appears to be armoured or padded. The Sotas of Cups and Swords wear flamboyant diagonal sashes, and all the Kings are in substantial robes which give them a squat and bulky appearance. The Cup suitmarks are distinctive in being broad, rounded urns, with decorated lids, pendant handles and projecting flat bands between lid and body.


The usual Spanish composition of 48 or 40 cards in four suits each comprising Rey, Caballo, Sota and 9 to l or 7 to 1.


Individual makers other than those indicated above are not so far recorded.

Sources of Reference


DENNING, Trevor: Have you Seen these Cards? (IN) Playing-Card World, 47, p.30.

DONATION CAMOIN et CIE: Catalogue of Exhibition at the Museé du Vieux-Marseille, 1974-75.

MANN, Sylvia: All Cards on the Table; Leinfelden-Echterdingen and Marburg, 1990.

STANLEY GIBBONS AUCTIONS LTD.: Auction Catalogues; 1 June 1978 (lot 333), 12 June 1980 (lot 509).

(And the cards in several private collections)

The Llombart Pattern

Illustration of Llombart pattern (jpg 578 x 658)
Part of an uncut sheet -"Fca DE ANTON LLOMBART / BARCEna 1824" - before the colours were added.

The International Playing-Card Society 7/1993

For comments please contact the Pattern Sheet Editor: Kay Stolzenburg (

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Last updated 13th September 2010