created 2003 - 2005       

Document 01

This is the oldest known reference of the word "Trionfi" in context to playing cards. The payment was done at the 10th of February 1442 short after the death of Niccolo III d'Este, perhaps the production was already ordered by the new Signore of Ferrara, Leonello (perhaps indicating, that such experiments couldn't have happened under the reignment of Niccolo). Another possibility might be, that the Cary-Yale deck really was produced in October 1441 at the occasion of the marriage of Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti and that this action induced an interest at the Ferrarese court to participate at this "modern" way of playing.
The text notes the suits "cups", "swords", "coins" and "batons", which is missing in later entries of the Ferrarese account books. Perhaps this can be interpreted as a sign, that the whole composition of the deck is new in 1442. The price of 5 Lira per para (pack of cards) is equal to the salary for 2-3 monthes of work of a humble worker and around the 1/4 of a monthly income of a common noble man. Galioto de l'Asassino is the adminstrating person, he appears rather often till ca. 1457.
Compare our excessive article Ferrara 1441.


1442 [10 February – payment to Iacomo de Sagramoro]:

Maistro Iacomo depentore dito Sagramoro de avere adi 10 fiebraro per sue merzede de avere cho(lo)rido e depento le chope e le spade e li dinari e li bastoni e tutte le figure de 4 para de chartexele da trionffi, e per farle de fora uno paro de rosse e 3 para de verde, chargate de tonditi fati a olio, le quale ave lo nostro Signore per suo uxo; tanssà I precii per Galioto de l'Asassino chamarlengo de lo prefato Signore de chomissione de lo Signore, in raxone de lire zinque per paro………………………………L. XX.

[Franceschini 1993 n. 481c (p. 221) ; Ortalli 1996b:184-5 and marginal note 5: page 185 contains a facsimile of the original text.]

Preliminary translation by Ross Gregory Caldwell

Maestro Jacomo, painter, called Sagramoro, having on the 10th of February for his recompense, for having coloured and painted the cups and the swords and the coins and batons and all the figures of 4 packs of small triumph cards, and for making of the backs one pack red and 3 packs green, decorated with roundels made in oil, which our Lord had for his use; deducted 1 precii by Galioto de l’Asassino chamberlain of the aforesaid Lord by commission of the Lord; at the rate of five lire per pack ........ L. XX.