Marchione Burdochio, trader from Bologna
composed by Lothar Teikemeier, last updated 06.12.2012,

Recorded activity in Ferrara: 1441/1442
Trionfi card context in Ferrara: 1442-07-28

Date of Trionfi card activity

  • 1442-07-28 Ferrara - sold 1 Trionfi deck (12 Soldi 3 Denari)


Sources for Trionfi cards in Ferrara are mainly taken from our earlier collection at based mainly on the work of Gherardo Ortalli and Adriano Franceschini, expressed in the article of Ortalli "The Prince and the Playing Cards" (1996).

SOURCE 1: Marchione Burdochi - document of 1442

Quote from the earlier Trionfi notes collection of (2003-07): Document 2 [old counting] / Burdochi/Sagramoro 1442. Naturally these older texts present not in all points my opinion of nowadays.
The new text here might contain some corrections against the earlier versions.

Document 02 [old counting]

Sigismondo and Ercole, the brothers of Leonello, are 9 and 11 years old, so this document refers to a deck for kids. This is the second entry about Trionfi from Ferrara (same year as the first). After that Trionfi is not mentioned for 8 years in Ferrara in the account books, so one might conclude, that the interest in them is not very high at the beginning. Perhaps they were only interesting to kids, which loved the new figures. Instead of further early notes about Trionfi decks appear 4 [corrected] entries, which document an interest in Imperatori cards (1443).
The price for the Trionfi cards is around 12 soldi, which is around 1/8 of the price, which was paid for a single deck for Leonello in February, but, considering, that this is only "for the kids", this doesn't surprize. Still it is a rather expensive toy (a humble worker had to work a week for this sum) and doesn't allow the conclusion, that a mass market for Trionfi deck existed at this time.
Ercole became later duke of Ferrara and it is assumed, that most of the playing cards that we know from Ferrara are commissioned under his rule. From Sigismondo is known, that he later lost heavy sums of money in gambling. The merchant Burdochi had in the year 1442 various exchanges with Sagramoro, the painter of the first mentioned Trionfi cards. From later years nothing is known about Burdochi, Sagramoro became the favoured Trionfi painter till 1456.

Compare: Kids and Burdochi

1442 [28 July – credit to Marchione Burdochi, merchant]:

E adi dicto per uno paro de carte da trionfi; ave Iacomo guerzo famelio per uxo de Messer Erchules e Sigismondo frateli de lo Signore. Apare mandato a c___,………… L. 0.XII.III [Franceschini 1996:170; cf. Bertoni 1917:220 note 3]

Preliminary translation by Ross Gregory Caldwell

2) And on the said day for one pack of triumph cards; has Iacomo “cross-eyed”, servant, for the use of Masters Ercole and Sigismondo brothers of the Lord. Appearing in mandate at c. ______, ………….L. 0. XII. III

Repeated Note:

When Ross Caldwell and me in 2003 started to collect Trionfi notes between 1442-1463, we had about 27/28 entries (which I nowadays would count as 31). The major part were the documents of Ferrara, which were collected by Gherardo Ortalli and Adriano Franceschini in the "Prince and the Playing Cards" (1996), after the base laying works of Michael Dummett and Stuart Kaplan around 1980. This collection included 2 notes about Trionfi cards in Florence, found by Franco Pratesi in his earlier work (allowances of the Trionfi game in 1450 and 1463). A graphical representation of this time (with 27 entries) shows the dominance of Ferrarese documents (in black) with a few notes only from other locations (in red; see picture to the right)

In the period 2004 till October 2011 it was possible to add 4 further notes (Siena 1452, Padova 1455, Ancona c. 1460 and Valerio Marcello c. 1460), mainly thanks to information given by Thierry Depaulis.

Franco Pratesi started his new article series in November 2011. Since then the list has gotten 67 new documents till September 2012 (65 of them found by Franco Pratesi, one, now the oldest of September 1440, by Thierry Depaulis, and another one by Veber Gulinelli, who controlled the earlier work of Franceschini and found an overlooked document) and nearly all are related to Florence or its surrounding.

A small book (118 pages) was published around Christmas 2012, Franco Pratesi: "Playing Card Trade in 15th Century Florence" as IPCS Paper No. 7 (ISSN 0305-2133). It contains some of the articles, which before had appeared at this website, those, which treat the early time of 15th century. Thierry Depaulis commented in his foreword: "This book is a landmark in the history of early playing cards in Italy".

Well, maybe not the book, but the research is clearly a landmark in various interests. For the collection of early Trionfi notes it somehow means, that we have within the year 2012 about 200 % more data for the period 1440-1462 than mankind had collected in the 200 years before.

Added later:

In August 2013 the new report of Arnold und Doris Esch: "Aus der Frühgeschichte der Spielkarte. Der Import von carte da giocare und trionfi nach Rom." in Gutenberg Jahrbuch 2013, 88. Jahrgang, p. 41-53, arrived in our redaction. It contains 106 new references to Trionfi decks, which all were found in the customs registers of the city Rome for the period 1453-1465. With this the number of all earlier Trionfi cards records has been doubled and should have reached then c. 210 (from which a few are only considered to be "Trionfi card notes" and don't contain the word "Trionfi" or something similar).


I'd started to sort the new Trionfi card documents overview in October 2012. Articles will be possibly changed according improvements in research.

Old Overview about Trionfi Card documents in 2003

Overview about Trionfi Card documents in 2013


Persons in Trionfi Card Documents 1440-1462
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Trionfi Card Persons 1440-1462

Commissioners (Trionfi cards)
Ferrara: Artists and Card Producers (Trionfi cards)

Ferrara: Traders

Florence: Artists and Card Producers (Trionfi cards and mostly also playing cards)

Florence: Artists and Card Producers (normal Playing Cards)

Florence: Trade with Trionfi and Playing Cards

Users of Playing Cards

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