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Suit System:I
Recommended Name:  the Trieste or Triestine pattern.


The pattern's roots lie straightforwardly with the Venice pattern ([IPCS #35]) which had retained its Italian characteristics in spite of Venetian occupation by Austria, 1797-1866. The remainder of the 'Austrian littoral' or Küstenland and the rest of the Adriatic coastal area was more Austrian-orientated and probably most of the inhabitants' cards were made in Vienna or Styria, until, in the middle of the 18th century, cardmaking was encouraged in Trieste. At first cards from other regions were copied such as the Lombard Tarot and the Wienerbild as well as the Venice pattern itself. However, by 1850, the Trieste pattern had emerged, possibly at first the product of the Company of G.B. Marcovich of Trieste. The general form remained that of Venice but there were many differences in detail. The most obvious was the introduction of descriptive titles on central labels on all the Court cards. Thus CAVAL. DI SPADE, FANTE DI COPPE, RE DI DANARI, etc. The Court figures themselves became more stylised in design and the head held by the Jack of Swords disappeared. The mottoes on the Aces also changed, and did not remain constant. For example, the Ace of Batons might read AVERE UN BEL BASTON IN MANE SEMPRE BON or MOLTE VOLTE LE GIUOCATE VAN FINIRE ABASTONATE or a Variation on the same theme.

After World War II, and some argument with Jugoslavia, Trieste once again looked West and became very much Italian-orientated in the matter of cards. Modiano S.A. of Trieste now makes cards for all parts of Italy as well as other parts of the world. I suspect also that Játékkártyágyar és Nyomda of Budapest also made cards of this pattern for use in Slovenia.

There appear only to have been double-headed examples of this pattern. In early days turnover edges were employed, but these are long gone. The pattern retains indices in the form of Arabic numbering (13-1 in 52-card packs) and 13-11, 7-1 (in 40-card packs).


52 cards: 4 suits comprising King, Cavalier, Jack, 10-Ace.

40 cards: 4 suits comprising King, Cavalier, Jack, 7-Ace.

Some makers

Dates given refer to publication of individual packs, and not to overall dates for makers.

Giovanni Batista Marcovich, Trieste, 1855, 1857.

Gugl. Finazzer ('La Fiducia') Trieste, c.1880.

Ferd Piatnik e Figli, Vienna, c.1900, 1938.

Ariodante Mengotti, Trieste, c.1890.

Gius. Glanz, Vienna, c.1900.

Armanino e Cassini, Rome, c.1920.

S.A. Vindobona-Fucecchio, Florence, 1930.

Cambissa, Trieste, mid-20th century.

Teodomiro Dal Negro, Treviso, 1957.

Modiano, Fiume, Ist half 20th century.

Saul David Modiano and S.A. Modiano, Trieste, 20th century.

Sources of Information


ALL CARDS ON THE TABLE by Sylvia Mann, Leinfelden-Echterdingen and Marburg, 1990.

PLAYING CARDS AND THEIR STORY by George Beal, London and Newton Abbot, and Vancouver, 1975.

DE GESCHIEDENIS VAN DE SPEELKAART by Han Janssen, Rijswijk, 1975.

COLLECTING PLAYING CARDS by Sylvia Mann, London and Worcester (U.S.), 1966.

The Trieste or Triestine Pattern

Illustration of Trieste or Triestine pattern  (jpg 944 x 1040)

The International Playing-Card Society 7/1993

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

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