Double deck of wonderful and extremely rare cards made in the early 1950s by Luis A. Fourvel y Cia of Argentina, called “Naipes Estelares.” “Estelares” means “stars,” and the pips and Queens have photographs of beautiful women that I understand to be prominent beauties of the day in Argentina. The pips have photographs of 4 different women – the same photograph for each pip card of a given suit (i.e., Spade pips the same woman, Heart pips the same, etc.). In addition, the two red queens show a photograph of the same woman, and the two black queens do the same. So, altogether there appear to me to be 6 different women featured. The photographs of the women who are the Queens have illustrations of crowns drawn on top of their heads – the crowns are not part of the photographs. The fact that only 6 photographs are used, suggests to me that the women portrayed had “star” status at the time in Argentina and may be related as a group (i.e., contestants in a beauty contest?).
The male court cards are illustrations, as are the Jokers, and there is an illustration on the Ace of Spades. The Jokers each have a man seated in a chair and smoking a cigarette. There is a cloud of smoke above each of them, and a caption underneath. One of the clouds of smoke seems to include a depiction of a woman at the top, and the caption reads: “todo en la vida es humo . . .” (“everything in life is smoke . . .)” The other cloud does not have an image of a woman, and the caption reads: “Bah . . . humo . . .” (Bah . . . smoke . . .)” The backs of the cards are solid colors. The color appears to be fading at the perimeter of the cards, but I don’t think it is. The fading is quite consistent and uniform, and the cards appear to have been intentionally made that way.
Each deck is complete with 52 suited cards, plus 2 Jokers, plus 1 extra card praising Fourvel cards. The cards are slightly small bridge size, measuring 86mm x 58mm, and the original box is included.
The cards are in excellent lightly used condition. There is edge wear, and very light soiling; a couple of cards have internal creases that do not show on photographs: otherwise, the cards are without issues. The original box is in poor condition – it is of no use in protecting the cards – and for this reason I currently house the decks in an unrelated plastic box, which will travel with the cards and original box to a buyer.
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