Just a Question

#1
Has there been any research of Silk Merchants and others who sold the cards and their suppliers the card makers?
I am curious because Tarot History has requests for cards; early on did they go direct to card makers (for example Malatesta asks Bianca Visconti for a deck that he fancies)
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Just a Question

#2
... .-) ... nice to hear from you.
We have, that 2 silk dealers also traded with playing cards, and that these records were left in some account books between 1431-1460. Franco Pratesi researched that: more than 500 records and a good part of the records also relate to Trionfi cards.
The prices relate to the low-price market. For the moment it's possibly the most important source, that we have.

There's not much to the 2 persons, who made the trade. There's mostly not much to the artists of the cards ... with exceptions. One artist is the father of the artist Botticini, Giovanni di Domenico.
A person with a similar name appears in the custom records of Rome, collected by Arnold Esch (I counted once totally 107 records to Trionfi cards). He made some research on the persons, who imported the cards. It's not totally clear, if silk dealers played a very important role in the trade of cards generally. It's possible, but not sure.
Giovanni di Domenico also appears in the records about Filippo di Marco (another cardmaker, once in the focus of France Pratesi).
Giovanni di Domenico is the first cardmaker name related to Trionfi cards in Florence (1449; the earlier connection of Antonio di Dino to Trionfi cards is not totally secure, 1445).

It's possible, that Giovanni di Domenico was the important man, who made Trionfi cards a big object for the playing card market (he became known from various documents as a cardmaker, not only one). More details to this person would be interesting.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Just a Question

#3
Hi Huck. yes life takes over away from pleasures as one gets older. Tarot is never far away from my life and interest.
Thanks for the contact.
Now I saw that on trionfi that the D'Este had a printing press. So I guess they must have had an outlet for selling what ever they printed.
What I am interested in, is that in Kaplan Vol 11 there are pages of 'Card makers'; did they sell their decks to the public or what was their outlet for sales of decks?(where you get the stats for sales from)
Recalling back here in this Colonial backwater 50 years ago, you could buy cards (56) at a 'haberdashery' not a booksellers or a printers. (Anglo french hapertas meaning small items of merchandise)
There is no doubt in my mind that Bianca had commissioned luxury deck/s from the Bembo Workshop in Cremona. I imagine they were expensive. It is the outlets I am interested in. Where did soldiers get their Decks from? Did the D'Este give/sell their soldiers decks? Where did Sailors get their decks? In all the History Books cards seem to appear out of nowhere. Commerce has not changed really, there seems always to be a middle man- who was the middle man?
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Just a Question

#4
Lorredan wrote:Hi Huck. yes life takes over away from pleasures as one gets older. Tarot is never far away from my life and interest.
Thanks for the contact.
Now I saw that on trionfi that the D'Este had a printing press. So I guess they must have had an outlet for selling what ever they printed.
What I am interested in, is that in Kaplan Vol 11 there are pages of 'Card makers'; did they sell their decks to the public or what was their outlet for sales of decks?(where you get the stats for sales from)
Recalling back here in this Colonial backwater 50 years ago, you could buy cards (56) at a 'haberdashery' not a booksellers or a printers. (Anglo french hapertas meaning small items of merchandise)
There is no doubt in my mind that Bianca had commissioned luxury deck/s from the Bembo Workshop in Cremona. I imagine they were expensive. It is the outlets I am interested in. Where did soldiers get their Decks from? Did the D'Este give/sell their soldiers decks? Where did Sailors get their decks? In all the History Books cards seem to appear out of nowhere. Commerce has not changed really, there seems always to be a middle man- who was the middle man?
Kaplan's lists are of a younger date, more or less the Italian numbers of playing cards of 15th century are from Franco Pratesi and Arnold Esch (something like 80-95%, I would say).
The decks of the courts are very different in their situation. The 2 decks of July 1457 in Ferrara were possibly more expensive than that what the silk dealers in Florence earned with their many Trionfi cards in 15 years (1444-1460). That's another world.
Cheapest playing card decks took c. 1 soldi in the production of Niccolo di Calvello, Antonio di Dino produced decks for 5 soldi and Antonio di Simone decks for 9-10 Soldi. This is, what the 2 silk dealers paid to them in the 1440s.
http://trionfi.com/naibi-aquired
Then Trionfi cards appeared in 1449 for 11 Soldi with the name of Giovanni di Domenico as producer, later in the 1450s the value decreased to 9 Soldi for the cheapest (payments from silk dealers to artists). We've no data after 1460 from this source.
The prices from Rome are similar.
In 1463 a shocking document is there, according which the price should have fallen in a dramatic manner. Maybe there's an error, or it was indeed the begin a new type of very cheap Trionfi decks. There we have data from 1453-1465.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Just a Question

#5
Thanks Huck. So the Outlet was mostly the Silk Merchant's store. All these years later you could call the Silk Merchant a 'Haberdashery' store. There a few around still but it is a dying store, that sold Material, embroidery threads, wool, fancies like a Tinker-man and playing cards and childrens games; so I look to Guppenberg Lombardy Tarot as Delarocca the Artist/designer/engraver gave us The Bagattel ! He is a Haberdasher. Purveyor of small fancies. Maybe the artist thought him ( the Silk Dealer) a Trickster. It also changes my view of the Visconti/Sforza deck 2nd card. The Wool Guild of Florence Merchant Haberdasher who also sold 'Straw Hats' lol! Maybe the whole VS deck was a self promoting PR deck- like Sachi and Sachi would produce today for the likes of Nike or Pepsi. A way of getting Sforza subtly recognised.
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Just a Question

#6
The statistic of extant documents tells us, that there was something called Trionfi cards since at least September 1440. But there was not much in the 1440s, at least as far the documents are considered. The begin of a bigger wave of Trionfi card productions (Giovanni di Domenico) happens end of 1449.

End of 1449 the war in Lombardy was over, as most people believed. Milan had triumphal celebrations around the time, celebrating peace. The approaching year 1450, declared as a Jubilee year, suggests, that the war parties were expected to keep the peace. A cardmaker might have expected, that "Trionfi cards", perhaps already earlier occasionally used to accompany important public celebrations, might be a good business in this time.
Sforza restored the war for a short time, but the following Jubilee year caused tourism from the North, much money, much festivities, more tolerance for games for a longer period. Trionfi cards were established on the broad market in a relative quick step, as it seems. Florence issued a law, that allowed Trionfi as a card game (December 1450). Sforza showed interests for the cards in the same month, likely for the Christmas celebrations.

The document counting:

Image




The silk dealer business in this:

http://trionfi.com/0/es/p/x-deals-01.jpg

Image


The 2 silk dealers were not important in the playing card business. It's just so, that their account books give us a perspective, how the distribution of playing cards happened, just as an additional small business for some merchants.
The card-importing merchants to Rome (Esch report) also mostly had other products, which they imported, there were just a few cards between many other goods.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Just a Question

#7
Loredan wrote,
Thanks Huck. So the Outlet was mostly the Silk Merchant's store. All these years later you could call the Silk Merchant a 'Haberdashery' store. There a few around still but it is a dying store, that sold Material, embroidery threads, wool, fancies like a Tinker-man and playing cards and childrens games; so I look to Guppenberg Lombardy Tarot as Delarocca the Artist/designer/engraver gave us The Bagattel ! He is a Haberdasher. Purveyor of small fancies. Maybe the artist thought him ( the Silk Dealer) a Trickster. It also changes my view of the Visconti/Sforza deck 2nd card. The Wool Guild of Florence Merchant Haberdasher who also sold 'Straw Hats' lol! Maybe the whole VS deck was a self promoting PR deck- like Sachi and Sachi would produce today for the likes of Nike or Pepsi. A way of getting Sforza subtly recognised.
Googling "haberdashery" or "haberdahser" along with "Franco Pratesi", I see two articles of his in English describing playing card outlets as haberdasheries, and one with "haberdashers". "Haberdashery" is at http://trionfi.com/evx-arezzo-stefano-minucci and the other is at http://www.naibi.net/A/48-FLOMAK2-Z.pdf. "Haberdashers" is an article originally in Italian translated by me in pieces on THF at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1074#p16459 and posts following, but is best read on a blog of mine at http://pratesitranslations.blogspot.com ... n.html?m=1.

More important than the equivalent in English is what the corresponding Italian word was and meant. The last mentioned essay is in Italian at http://www.naibi.net/A/IPCS44N1.pdf. On the top of p. 68 (page number of original) I wrote:
The 117 “mazzi di carte” [bunches of cards] correspond to an important quantity. It was found that the Florentine card makers often sold the produced cards to haberdashers or even to minor silk dealers, who sold them in their shops (20).
There it can be seen that the Italian is
I 117 mazzi di carte correspondone a una quantita importante. Era stato travato che i cartai fiorentini spesso vendevano le carte prodotte a dei merciai o anche a setaioli minori che le rivendevano nelle loro botteghe (20).
So the word corresponding to "haberdasher" is here and probably elsewhere "merciai", singular "merciao". The word is usually translated as "haberdasher", a word absolutely not in use in the western United States in my lifetime, except perhaps meaning "men's clothing shop" in highfalutin language that smacks of high prices.

The Italian dictionary at WordReference defines "merciao" as "Venditore di articoli minuti per sartoria o per abbigliamento", i.e. "Seller of minute articles for tailoring or for attire."

Franco's "anche a setaioli minori" (even to minor silk dealers) would suggest that the word "merciao" excludes shops that specialize in silks, even if it is silk dealers who do the importing of playing cards.

The Vocabulario Treccani has nothing for "merciao", instead giving a lengthy definition of "merceria":
mercerìa s. f. [dal fr. ant. mercerie, der. di mercier «merciaio»].

1. a. Il complesso degli oggetti che si vendono nella bottega del merciaio, e cioè cucirini, aghi, spilli, nastri, elastici, bottoni, ecc., di solito occorrenti ai lavori di cucito e di rifinitura in sartoria, e anche piccoli capi di biancheria, spec. per donne e bambini. Si usa per lo più al plur., con valore collettivo: commerciare in mercerie; mercerie d’ogni sorta; bottega, negozio di mercerie.

b. Bottega del merciaio: c’è una m. qui all’angolo.

c. Nella toponomastica veneziana, Merceria, nome della via più animata di Venezia, che unisce Piazza San Marco a Rialto, fiancheggiata da negozî di merci di lusso e di prodotti artigiani.

2. ant. a. Il mestiere del merciaio.

b. Merce in genere, ma soprattutto merce minuta (oggetti ornamentali, ninnoli, chincaglierie).
That is,
mercerìa s. f. [from ant. Fr. mercerie, derived from mercier «merciaio»] The complex of objects sold in the merciao's shop, namely sewing needles, needles, pins, ribbons, elastic, buttons, etc., usually needed for sewing and finishing in tailoring, and even small items of linen, spec. for women and children. It is mostly used in plur., with collective value: trade in mercerie; mercerie of all kinds; mercerie shop.

b. Merciao shop: there is a m. here at the corner.

c. In Venetian toponymy, Merceria, the name of Venice's most animated street, which joins St Mark's Square in Rialto, lined with luxury goods and craft products.

2. ant. a. The merciao craft.

b. Goods generally, but mostly small merchandise (ornamental objects, ninjols, chincaglierie).
I vaguely remember once discussing this question with Franco, with Huck as intermediary, probably in relation to the 2012 article in English. He described in detail what kind of items a merciao would sell, but I don't recall what he said exactly. It seems to me that I suggested "notions shop" as the nearest equivalent. He stuck with "haberdashery", and I have kept to that usage, even if it seems wrong in U.S. usage. One online dictionary does give "notions shop" as a North American translation (along with "haberdashery" for the English). I vaguely remember seeing "notions shop" in use in the U.S. There is also, of course, "sewing shop", but that is too specific. On the other hand, "variety store" is too general, and also bigger, at least in the U.S. for quite a while: Woolworth's etc., were bigger than the shops he had in mind. There is also "hobby shop", given that sewing is more of a hobby than a necessity these days--but that wouldn't work for 15th century Florence. The problem is that we don't exactly have that kind of shop. Or else we do and I just don't notice them. But I don't think so.

Another type of shop that probably would have sold playing cards was a "cartoleria", stationery shop, run by a "cartolaio", stationer. I think that because in another article I asked Franco whether "cartalaio" meant in his context "stationer" or "card-maker", as the same term was used for both. He said, if I remember correctly, that a seller of writing materials would frequently be someone who also publishes books and makes decks of cards. But in his context he meant "card-maker".

I hope that helps.

Re: Just a Question

#8
Thank you mikeh! The Town I live near had Haberdashery store. Haberdashery was in the Name.... XXXX's Haberdashery. It sold all the things I mentioned, also small linens and reels of cotton called "Mercer". We are an English Colonial outpost here and I find it amazing that before my interest in Tarot, I bought cards etc from this type of store.
The internet has closed this type of shopping along with large multi goods stores. The quality has gone down the tubes as well. Printers here do not sell Cards. Stationery shops do sell casino type cards 52.
One of things in the articles you posted was the disparity between the amount of card stock and the small amount sold in the shop. Tax avoidance! I sometimes think we research all around the place and forget how people live/ed.
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

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