"Paparello" - alias Iacopo di Poggino di Luca (1398-1481)
composed by Lothar Teikemeier, last updated 18.12.2012

Recorded activities for Puri family: 1447
First recorded activity for Silk dealers: 1453-08-22
Last recorded activity for Silk dealers: 1455-03-19

Dates of Playing Card activities

  • 1447 Florence - high-priced decks with the attribute "Chorone" for Puri family"
  • 1453-1455 Florence - possibly in relation to Trionfi sales by Manetto d'Agnolo
  • 1454-03-18 Florence - silk dealer sales list


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

SOURCE 1: Puri family sells worthwhile decks

Quote from Franco Pratesi: "1447-1449 - NAIBI ON SALE", 27.01.2012,", 21.01.2012

Naibi "fini"

There is not only one kind of playing cards indicated under the common denomination of naibi: we find more different packs than we could expect. Let us first conclude our discussion of the "simple" playing cards with a last point worth noting. At the time, one could acquire different kinds of cards, at different prices. When I was a child, a few years later than one could actually visit this merciaio store in person, we had two kinds of local cards, of course Fiorentine grandi, but also Toscane piccole, with exactly the same figures appearing on the cards. I did not imagine that this difference in card dimension could have such a long tradition.
It would be too simple to have just to decide between small or large cards: we find more than two kinds of specimens; mezzani or middle are also on sale, if we move to packs of better quality. If we have enough money, in the middle of the 15th century, we can buy products sold at various prices; when they are indicated as "richi", or "fini", there is no doubt about their superior quality.
I have thus kept all the cards that were sold as single packs, instead of by dozen, separately listed. When introducing low and better quality, the problem of choosing the most suitable pack may become embarrassing - there could hardly be a limit toward the best qualities that one could look for. The variation in price for a given pack is thus very high, as it can be verified in the following Table: here you can select one pack that costs remarkably more than a whole dozen of the previous ones.

Several columns are the same as in the previous Table. The middle one here adds some indication on the pack in question. Then here we have the number of packs (instead of the dozens as in the previous Table) and their individual prices. In the last columns the makers are indicated, with GI for Giovanni di San Giovanni, PA for Paparello, and CH where chorone (crowns) are mentioned, see below.
It is worth noting that the time interval for these records is reduced to half a year, end 1447 - beginning 1448, remarkably shorter than for dozzinale packs of the first Table. Again, it is not clear if any reliable conclusion on card trade can be deduced from this, because there are further variables to consider, such as a shorter notation for the last entries.
We find here both picholi and grandi, but no mention of either scempi or doppi. This is a problem for understanding which were these packs from that point of view, but the ratio slightly less than two that would exist in corresponding prices is not so big, with respect to the higher ratios between these prices and those of "dozzinale" packs. A possibility is that Paparello-chorone packs at 16-18 s. were scempi, whereas those at 26-27 were doppi, but there is another plausible explanation for the more expensive packs, which not only had gilded crowns, but also carefully painted figures.
What seems to me particularly interesting is that you enter the store and have the choice among various kinds of packs, all of them ready to be sold. This is not so surprising for the cheap items, sold and bought by the dozen. There is however something else, also available onto the shelves, something of an increasingly better quality. Among the corresponding makers, we find names that can easily be compared with those renowned masters, who at the same time were producing their famous packs for the courts of Milan and Ferrara: Giovanni and Paparello were at least at their level. There is a big difference, however. Here, any merciaio can enter the store and acquire a pack made by one of the best painters, and without having to order it and waiting for weeks that it is finished.
Almost one half of these entries corresponding to costly packs are associated with Giovanni da San Giovanni as a painter. Apparently he provided the workshop with a large stock of packs ready to be sold, in a way that may be considered intermediate with respect to "dozzinale" packs. Indeed, we find in no less than two cases that his packs are sold in groups of twelve – nevertheless they are numbered and priced on the basis of single packs and not of dozens. Their price of 5 s. is intermediate between the packs of the first Table and the remaining ones, made with seemingly better quality and additional gold decoration.
One maker (an.o di do.o?) I have not been able to read. The painter who provides the most expensive packs is Paparello, whom we met in the list by Jacobsen(6). I read for some of these packs the word "oro" and the words "le chorone". In my opinion, the simplest interpretation is that the personages on these cards had their crowns directly gilded. In one case we find both chorone and Paparello in the description, and it seems possible that Paparello was the painter in all cases in which chorone are mentioned. In any case, the highest price corresponds to both gilded crowns and painted figures.

SOURCE 2: Chorone - Special cards or a game

Franco Pratesi: 1445 and 1447 - THE RIDDLE OF THE CROWNS by Franco Pratesi, 11.03.2012

Paparello is likely involved in the production of worthwhile cards, which are called "Chorone" (Crowns). This is a very rare expression for playing cards, and the name appeared to the surface in the last year 2012 in the researches of Franco Pratesi. So there is a riddle, what these "crowns" might have been and if there is any relation to our most researched object, the Trionfi cards.
Compare also the article to Manetto d'Agnolo merciai.

SOURCE 3: Silk dealer aquire decks

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

Manetto d'Agnolo merciai

Sometimes we find cards from other suppliers, different from the "usual" cardmakers. Also a mercer (as typically Manetto d’Agnolo) could sometimes pay part of his debts with playing cards that he had acquired from elsewhere.

(a) The total recorded is L.18s.6. which would give 13s.* as average value for the three different packs. I could not find how to convincingly divide it into the three parts mentioned. Assuming 25s. for trionfi the average for grandi and mezzani would be too high at 11,08s*; more likely appear 40s., and 8,58s.*, respectively.
(b) these cards are indicated as by Paparello.

SOURCE 4: Silk dealer sell decks

Detail of the List of Sales of the Silk dealers

Paparello decks are sold together with Trionfi decks at 1454-03-18 (the Trionfi card painter stays anonymous). MAB at the same day stands for Matteo Bellerini and PAP for Paparello.

SOURCE 5: Werner Jacobsen list

Quote from Franco Pratesi: "CARDMAKERS AND WOODBLOCKS ON TRIAL", 21.01.2012

Florentine painters of playing cards

Jacobsen deals with the painters active in Florence in early Renaissance and divides them according to their main activity. It appears that many specialised sectors of the handicraft existed, even if one can easily imagine that most painters could be active at the same time in various of these sectors. Understandably, painters of playing cards were not among the most renowned artists of the time, but we can find there specialisations that can be even more unexpected, such as have been for me those of painters of arms or of tall church candles.
As for the painters of our specific interest we find on page 485 of the book the following complete list, to which I add taken from the same book their dates of birth and, when we do not know the year of their death, the last date in which they are found still alive.

  • Baldo di Piero di Antonio di Baldo (1425->1458)
  • Donnino di Giovanni di Francesco (1370->1447)
  • Filippo di Marco di Simone (1435->1458)
  • Francesco di Gabriello di Nuccio
  • Francesco di Piero (c1360->1410)
  • Franco di Piero (1364->1433)
  • Giovanni di Donnino di Giovanni (1405->1433)
  • Giovanni di Franco di Piero (1426-1448)
  • Iacopo di Poggino di Luca «Paparello» (1398-1481)
  • Piero di Donnino di Giovanni (1413->1447)

I am certain that a few names can be added to this list, to begin with those already found by Zdekauer and/or Kristeller more than a century ago. For instance, Antonio di Luca, present in Catasto 1427; Antonio di Giovanni di Ser Francesco, who declared the possession of woodblocks in Catasto 1430; moreover, Benedetto di Antonio Spigliati, who is introduced by Jacobsen himself (see below) but absent in the list, because his activity is concentrated after the time interval studied.
It is likely that some further names can be soon added to the list. In particular, it is evident, as remarked by Jacobsen too, that part of these names can be regrouped into families, in which the sons first worked together with their father and then took his place in the job. Searching further along family members may probably provide further names.
However, I never found a list as long as Jacobsen’s one in my studies on this topic. For all these artists, Jacobsen provides additional information, mainly family data derived from Catasto, which were their estates and possessions, how was their family composed, and so on.
The last pages of the book are dedicated to schematic maps of Florence in various years, with marked the locations where painters lived and had their workshops. On the whole, in this book we find a lot of information collected together that may induce me to make another "step backward" later on, in order to recover further essential data of possible interest.
Now, I wish to halt my attention on a very particular case, involving painter Filippo di Marco, the maker of the triumphs documented in Cambini account books(1), till recently practically unknown to card historians.

My Note: Iacopo di Poggino di Luca «Paparello» (1398-1481) appears also at the Jacobsen list of Florentine Playing Card producers.

SOURCE 6: Lodovico Zdekauer list

Source: composed according a note of Ross Caldwell in 2010

Zdekauer's note about Florentine cardmakers

Zdekauer ("Sull' organizzazione pubblica del giuoco in Italia nel medio evo", Giornale degli Economisti, V, 1892, p. 40-80 as reprinted in L. Zdekauer, Il gioco d'azzardo nel Medioevo italiano. Florence, 1993):
ed oltre ai dadi ora vi troviamo anche le carte or naibi, che sino dalla fine del Trecento davano a vivere a tutt' un' arte, quella dei naibai (2). [Note (2):] Firenze, Archivio di Stato, Catasto d. 1427. S. Giov. Leon d'oro, Portata di Antonio di Luca. Fa i naibi. Sta 42 anni. Nato nel 1385. --- S. Spirito, Nicchio, del 1430. Portata di Antonio di Giovanni di Ser Francesco, naibaio. Sta 33 anni. Nato nel 1397. Dice: "Truovomi tante forme di legname (stampe) da naibi e da santi, e altre cose atte al mio mestiero". --- S. Giov. Leon d'oro, del 1446. Portata di Jacopo di Poggino, dipintore di naibi. Ha 48 anni. Nato nel 1398. --- e varï altri. Rough translation [by Ross Caldwell]: "... and besides dice now we also find cards or naibi, which from the end of the 1300s came to be an entirely separate arte, that of the naibai. 1427. Case of Antonio di Luca. Makes naibi. 42 years old, born in 1385. 1430. Antonio di Giovanni di Ser Francesco, naibmaker. 33 years old. Born in 1397. It says: Find of me (?) so many printing plates for cards and saints, and other things necessary for my profession. 1446. Jacopo di Poggino, card painter. 48 years old. Born in 1398. --- and various others."

My Note: "Paparello" appears as "Jacopo di Poggino" also at the Zdekauer list of Florentine Playing Card producers.

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


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