Mexico: 1860's. Stiff card. Very good. Item #21533 .
Set of 24 alphabet lottery cards, about 1½ by 3 inches, lithographed in black on white stock and mounted on stiff card.
The 24 cards cover the entire Spanish alphabet, except for Rr, and are complete as issued. Each card shows a lithographed scene, sometimes attributed to Yriarte, beneath which is the letter of the alphabet, followed by a word beginning with that letter, then a humorous verse, sometimes with a play on words.
The lotería is well known in Mexico, a game a bit like Bingo but which uses cards with pictures and sayings instead of numbered balls. The players each have a card with some of the card images on them--the tabla--and they mark the drawn cards on the table with beans, coins or other markers. In the 1880's Don Clemente Gallo issued lottery cards in what have become more or less standard images. Earlier cards are very scarce. This set of 24 cards is complete. Even the last card shows a vendor of uncut sheets bearing the 24 images with the caption:
"Acabó el alfabeto, mas tus reales Espero sepultar in mi gareta"
"The alphabet is finished now, But your gold I hope to bury in my attic."
While cards prior to the 1880's are scarce, variants such as these are downright rare. We have been able to find one comparable set, in the Southwest Special Collections of the University of New Mexico, but no copies of the tabla with which they are associated. The possible Yriarte connection derives from the description in the University archive. We have seen a set of later reprints, also, printed in screened lithography.
Captioned in archaic Spanish.