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Suit System:S
Recommended Name:  the Roxas/Sarde pattern.

This pattern was originally classified as S-5.


At the beginning of the 19th century in Spain a number of finely-engraved and decorated packs were produced, mostly in Madrid, which contrast strikingly with the simple crudity of the cards in everyday use. A famous one was engraved by Don José Martínez de Castro for publication by Clemente Roxas in 1810. It was etched on copper, printed in brown ink and usually painted by hand in watercolour, though at least one uncoloured example is known.

Approximately the same designs were used for cards of a much simpler kind about forty years later in Barcelona. The most noteworthy feature of its history is that this design has since been adopted for use in Sardinia, where it is now regarded as the standard local pattern. Allowing for the limitations of present-day production methods, the Sardinian pack follows the Roxas original quite closely.


40 or 48 cards of usual Spanish composition (see S-1.1). 40 cards in Italy.

Distinctive features

The king of coins supports a large upright coin on a draped table-top. All members of the swords court wear full armour; all the jacks wear plumed helmets. The ace of swords is supported by a cherub astride a cannon. The ace of batons is supported by a cherub with a bow and quiver of arrows at his feet. Central vignettes on the 4s of each suit were originally as follows:
batons - seated nude figure with club; lion, sphere and castle in background;
swords - fallen soldier attacked by another with sword;
cups - reclining Bacchante with cherub and vines (later flowers);
coins - pair of lovers.

Some known makers

Clemente Roxas, Madrid, 1810, revised 1812.

Manuel Bertschinger y Codina, Barcelona, c.1850.

Sebastian Comas y Ricart, Barcelona, c.1850.

Faustino Solesio, Genoa, 20th century.

Dal Negro, Treviso, 20th century.

Modiano, Trieste, 20th century.

Fournier, Vitoria, 1977 (facsimile of the 1810 edition).

Roxas/Sarde Pattern

Illustration 1 of Roxas/Sarde pattern  (jpg 1424 x 1451)
Illustration 2 of Roxas/Sarde pattern  (jpg 1424 x 1451)
Cards made by Clemente Roxas, Madrid, 1810.

The International Playing-Card Society May, 1979

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Last updated 13th September 2010