PAY-PAY is the oldest rolling paper in the world. Made since 1764 in the legendary paper making town of Alcoy (Alicante province, Spain), from which it was exported to many countries, especially in America, in most cases in return for tobacco.

More than 250 years later, PAY-PAY is still made near Alcoy, in Benimarfull, remaining faithful to its original spirit. A modern factory located there –Iberpapel– has managed to maintain the old Alcoy-based paper making tradition, adapting it to the new times.

Respect for the heritage received, creativity and passion are the main ingredients of a legacy which continues to be passed on from generation to generation.

Telling PAY-PAY’s history is telling the history of rolling paper itself.


The first smoking paper mill is installed in Alcoy

Halfway through the 18th century in Spain, it had become a widespread habit to smoke tobacco brought from the Americas. However, in Europe, tobacco was an extremely expensive product to be smoked on the actual plant leaves, which is why many people chose to consume it in the form of powder or wrapped in newspaper.

In order to prevent that thick paper with ink from being smoked, the entrepreneurs of the time devised a paper which was slimmer than usual, 40 grs/m2, and white, made in big leaves the size of a sheet (double folio) that smokers could cut according to their taste and need. This paper exclusively conceived for smoking, a wonderful find, soon starts to have a lot of success all over the world. This is the primitive PAY-PAY from Alcoy.


The smoking paper booklet is invented

The start of the 19th century marks a decline in the fashion for powder tobacco; the custom of rolling it spreads, and the need arises to serve paper in a size better suited to cigarettes. A Dominican from the city of Xàtiva (Valencia Province, Spain), Father Jaime Villanueva Estingo, invents the smoking paper booklet: a delicate object and a magnificent invention, the use of which has survived to the present day. Smoking paper booklet workshops multiplied in Alcoy, with PAY-PAY’s standing out from all the others. Its covers showed beautiful engravings beside the name of the manufacturer –Pascual Ivorra. Long series were also printed on them about the history of Spain, about famous figures and celebrities, about habits, costumes, allegories, sayings… thus providing us today with a complete overview of the evolution in the society and traditions of the time.


Gummed paper is invented

A small gum arabic line starts to be applied on one of the bigger sides of the smoking paper, which will make cigarette-rolling easier.


Link together

A procedure is registered to tie the leaves: linking together is utilised in today’s booklets.


Ivorra, Payá y Compañía (Ivorra, Payá & Co.)

The firm Ivorra, Payá y Compañía is founded, after which a paper factory is installed at El Salt, to which Ivorra contributes with the already renowned Pay-Pay brand.


Ivorra and Payá’s partnership is dissolved

Francisco Payá Miralles continues with the paper factory, whereas Pascual Ivorra Carbonell sticks to the booklet manipulation workshop, located at Venerable Ridaura Street in Alcoy, where he carries on producing Pay-Pay as the flagship brand.


PAY-PAY is integrated into Papeleras Reunidas, S.A.

The numerous Alcoy-based paper workshops decided to pool their resources and open a larger factory that could fight more strongly with its competitors. It was given the name of Papeleras Reunidas [United Paper Mills] to show that they all worked together as if they were a single workshop.

Each one of the different manufacturers brought its own brands and knowledge to the new common project which eventually became a great multinational. Pascual Ivorra Carbonell joined it with his ‘PAY-PAY’ brand, along with other world-famous ones, such as ‘Bambú [Bamboo].’


Papeleras Reunidas must to close

The multinational from Alcoy cannot continue with its operation and is forced to close. But it wasn’t all bad news, mr. José Emilio, who started in Papeleras Reunidas as a technician and who was stationed in Buenos Aires in the 70s at the head of a subsidiary of the company, did not believe that this was the end of the Alcoy paper industry …

See flipping book


The current PAY-PAY Factory –Iberpapel, S.L.– is founded

José Emilio’s business intuition, when Papeleras Reunidas closed, led him to keep some paper machines in exchange for continuing with the activity and production of the PAY-PAY brand.

The beginnings, already alone, were difficult but the readjustment was quick.

They invested in new personnel and machinery and by applying processes, they evolved, maintaining the essence of good work in the manufacture of paper books.


New Pay-Pay design

Keeping the essential elements in the old Pay-Pay design, as are the bats and frogs on the background and the characteristic pay-pay (Chinese fan) of the logo, a gradual re-adaptation was made of the design, of which copies can be found in important smoking paper collections nowadays.


PAY-PAY Aromas starts to be produced

With the re-adaptation of the machines from Papeleras Reunidas and using the knowledge acquired there, the team created by José Emilio in the new factory started to manufacture something which had not been made for a long time and which turned out to be a complete novelty in the market: smoking paper with aromas.


Ultraslim PAY-PAY Paper

The PAY-PAY team took a step forward to satisfy smokers’ tastes with Ultraslim. This new PAY-PAY Type B paper gradually became more and more transparent until achieving the quality that we can currently enjoy.


Magnetic Pay-Pay is born

If Pay-Pay has always been a synonym of innovation (see the invention patent to stick the cigarette properly without light, or the aromas), a new innovation is put into practice this year: the booklet magnetic closure for it to stay like new until the last of its leaves is used.


Unbleached smoking paper

The PAY-PAY factory begins to manipulate the first unbleached smoking paper.


Pay-Pay Tubes

Even though the artisan tradition is focused on smoking paper, it has already been said above that Pay-Pay adapts to innovations, always with that genuine air which characterises it. The same happened with the empty tubes, a new Pay-Pay product, entirely made in the same factory.



This product comes to complete the kit of accessories known as RYO (Roll Your Own) which are needed to roll a cigarette: paper and filters.



Once again, the PAY-PAY factory, faithful to its creative and innovative tradition, produces an exquisite paper in terms of its presentation, quality in its burned and ultra-fine; the natural paper whose green pigment is obtained from alfalfa.


The generational change comes at the hands of a board of directors and a group of young people with great initiative and creativity. With a vision for the future, based on user needs, sustainability and care for the environment, PAY-PAY continues to create new products and improve user experiences.



After years of experience and development in cigarette paper, the new natural brown and unbleached paper is introduced.

We are ready to roll!


Dare to form part of history