Matteo Ballerini or Matteo di Bartolomeo
composed by Lothar Teikemeier, last updated 06.12.2012,

First recorded activity for Silk dealers: 1450-01-08
First recorded Trionfi cards activity for Silk dealers: 1453-01-20
Last recorded Trionfi cards activity for Silk dealers: 1460-05-28
Last recorded activity for Silk dealers: 1460-10-04

Dates of Trionfi Card activities

Acquired by Silk Dealers (Uscita C and Ricordanze C)

  • 1453-01-20 Florence - 1 Trionfi deck (Grande 18 Soldi)
  • 1453-01-20 Florence - 4 Trionfi deck (Piccolo 14 Soldi)
  • 1453-06-20 Florence - 4 Trionfi decks (16? Soldi)
  • 1453-11-02 Florence - 12 Trionfi decks (Piccolo 9 Soldi)
  • 1453-12-12 Florence - ? Trionfi decks (totally 132 Soldi golden)
  • 1454-02-23 Florence - 2 Trionfi decks (14 Soldi)
  • 1455-02-11 Florence - 3 Trionfi decks (10 Soldi)
  • 1454-10-12 Florence - 1 Trionfi deck (Grande 18 Soldi)
  • 1454-10-26 Florence - 5 decks with Trionfi and gilded cards (totally c. 86 Soldi)
  • 1454-11-16 Florence - 2 Trionfi decks (Piccolo 10 Soldi)
  • 1455-02-08 Florence - 3 Trionfi decks (Piccolo 10 Soldi)
  • 1455-04-05 Florence - 2 Trionfi decks (Piccolo 10 Soldi)
  • 1455-06-23 Florence - 1 Trionfi deck (Dorati 18 Soldi)
  • 1456-03-24 Florence - 2 Trionfi decks (Dorati 10 Soldi)
  • 1456-03-24 Florence - 2 Trionfi decks (10 Soldi)
  • 1458-05-20 Florence - 4 Trionfi decks (? Soldi)
  • 1460-05-28 Florence - 4 Trionfi decks (? Soldi)


Sources are mainly taken from Franco Pratesi's new article series written from November 2011 till now, published here at

SOURCE 1: Silk dealer acquire decks

Quote from Franco Pratesi: "1431-1460: NAIBI ACQUIRED BY SILK-DEALERS", 20.04.2012

3.4 Matteo Ballerini

Matteo is indicated in a rather confusing way, more often as Matteo di Bartolomeo or Matteo Ballerini. These names could already correspond to two different makers, and further ones might be present when we find Francesco as father’s name. I am nevertheless fully persuaded that we are in the presence of a single maker, variously mentioned, even if we are not accustomed to find anyone indicated as son either of Francesco or of Bartolomeo. The situation is similar for his profession, although this is not too different from other artists: in 1451, he is recorded in the book as "fa i naibi" on 25 September, and as "dipintore" on 5 October. (Actually he is regularly mentioned as dipintore in the last times.)
Matteo appears relatively late as a supplier to our silk-dealers, and his production seems to be at the same level as that of Antonio di Dino, or of Giovanni di Domenico. His main product was naibi piccoli and doppi, and we can suppose this product to be present whenever his packs were not explicitly indicated in a different way. Also the use of c(h)arte name, instead of naibi, as in other cases, does not appear to represent a significant distinction.
Naibi mezzani have a price that oscillates from 5 to 6s. Trionfi change from 9 to 10s. and it is remarkable that gilded trionfi were priced about the double than those without gold (as supported from other cases too).

(a) Among these packs of various kinds we find unknown quantities of gilded cards and trionfi.

(a) Only part of the packs are gilded.
(b) Sanzoro, not gilded.

REPEATED TEXT: Abbreviations:
Franco Pratesi: "The abbreviations used should already be familiar to readers of the previous notes. As for size, they are GRA or grandi, large; MEZ mezzani, middle; MZL mezzanelli, the same as mezzani, or slightly different; PIC piccoli, small. As for kind, they are SCE or scempi, single; DOP doppi, double; DOR Dorati, gilded; CAR c(h)arte, cards; FIN fini, good quality; FOR di forma, made with woodblocks; RIM rimboccati, with folded edges; TRI trionfi. The abbreviation MIX, mixed, "di più ragioni", can involve both size and kind and clearly corresponds to the most uncertain values for the prices.
The date is in the format 14yymmdd. All the prices are reduced to soldi, (s.) changing into non-existent cents their fraction in denari (d.), one of which was 1/12 of 1s. (This explains the frequent appearance of N,67 or N,33 or similar approximate values.) An asterisk indicates that the price is an average value derived from the total amount recorded; it may be present for a single pack too, in case its price has been agreed upon. There are several words that I am not sure to have read correctly and they are indicated as Name[?]."

Large text

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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