- Issue date: 08/10/2009
- Printing Process: Huecograbado
- Paper: Estucado, engomado, fosforescente
- Size of stamp: 40,9 x 28,8 mm. (horizontal)
- Sheet effects: 50
- Postal value of the stamps: 0,78 €
- Print run: 430.000
- Dented: 13 3/4
The association of countries which make up the UPAEP issues every year a stamp with a common theme devoted on this occasion to traditional games. Spain is member of this international organisation and depicts in this issue the traditional Baraja española (Spanish deck) used in games of chance.
The Baraja española is made up of 48 cards divided into four suits: bastos (clubs), oros (golds, that is, golden coins), copas (cups) and espadas (swords). All suits are numbered from 1 to 12, corresponding to the pictures of the sota, (page or prince), the caballo (knight, literally "horse"), and the rey (king) and the numbers 10, 11 and 12 respectively. Usually only 40 cards are used since the eights and the nines are discarded. In the Spanish deck, the drawings are depicted in full body and they are framed by a pattern to distinguish the different suits without having to display the cards. The cup’s pattern is a line with one interruption, swords have two, clubs have three and the golds have a continuous pattern with no interruption. Cards are thought to have their origin in a numeric pastime and so are depicted in different European tapestries of the XIV and XV centuries. There are many designs depending on the different countries and periods in time, the oldest ones made in rich handicraft for the lords. The themes depicted are also varied and most of them related to art, heraldry, mythology, politics and music. They are usually rectangular shaped although they have also been made squared and rounded. The stamp depicts a composition of the four suits of the Spanish classic deck, given by the Museo Fournier de Naipes in Álava. This Museum, located in the medieval mannor Palacio de Bendaña in Vitoria, has a collection of more than 20,000 decks, many of them unique pieces. Amongst them stand out a sheet printed in the Haut-Rhin in the middle of 1400, an embroidered set from France as well as gothic, baroque and renaissance decks.