The Printers

Manumark examples

A mixture of photographic and engraved printing techniques were used for the Inserts. 

Printers’ marks (‘manumarks’) can be seen on seventeen of the Series, from two Barcelona-based printing companies :

  1. Samsot & Misse (who printed twelve series)
  2. J. Thomas (who printed five series)

The following table shows the manumarks that can be found on the Insert cards. However, this still leaves twenty-four series whose printers are unidentified. 

The Spanish lithography processes at the turn of the 20th Century were among the most advanced in Europe, as can be seen from the quality of the matchbox labels of the time as well as the Inserts.

The Inserts were printed in sheets of varying sizes with 30 or more Inserts on each sheet. Hand operated methods were then employed to cut the individual cards from the printed sheets, which explains why there is some variation in the size of Inserts. Unfortunately we currently have no knowledge of the length of print runs used or number of sheets printed.

J.THOMAS – of Barcelona

Josep Thomàs i Bigas

The owner and director of the ‘ J. Thomas’ printing works was Josep Thomàs i Bigas (1852 – 1910). 

The architect Luis Domenech i Montaner planned and directed the construction of the three-storey premises in 1895 which then was one of the most advanced graphic arts industries in Europe. This housed Thomas’ photography and printing businesses, including the production of Inserts and matchbox labels.

Josep Thomas died in 1910 in Bern, Switzerland, but the Thomas print works continued operating until it finally closed in 1973. Today the building has been converted into luxury apartments.

SAMSOT and MISSE – of Barcelona

At the time of collating these details of the production of Inserts, no details of this printing company have yet been discovered. We can only say that this firm’s Inserts were of equal quality to those of J. Thomas and the manumarks show that Samsot & Misse were extensively used for printing of the various series.

A tabulated list of the Insert Series is shown here.


In order to encourage people to collect the Inserts, the Gremio commissioned a number of specially designed albums and sheets, which could be purchased from various outlets. Unfortunately, it is not known who printed these albums.


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