By Mark Henderson
One easy answer as to why there are so many playing card collectors is quite simple, people like to collect things. If something can be collected, then someone somewhere in the world will collect it. Let’s look at the most common form of collecting playing cards, and how to make sure your collection is the best it can be.
In recent years there have been so many different designs of playing cards released. Some playing cards look more traditional, and other designs are more contemporary. A whole host of different people, big companies, smaller companies, teams of designers and skilled individuals are satisfying the needs of these playing card collectors.
It all started with The Black Tiger Deck from Ellusionist. The spark that ignited an inferno within the playing card collector world, causing grown men to spend tons of their hard-earned cash on flimsy bits of paper that will never see the light of day or leave the comfort of their boxes.
Playing cards have become more and more accessible to the mass market in recent years. The poker boom shifted a lot of people’s focus away from the dimly lit, smokey bridge table and into a fast-paced, bright lights of poker tournaments. With more and more people playing poker, playing card companies have started manufacturing cards to suit every personality and every situation. With every deck of playing cards added to the catalogue, playing card collectors have one more trophy to track down, and the playing card companies have latched onto this, producing limited runs on certain lines, making them even more desirable and difficult for the playing card collectors to come by.
The use of Photoshop and the evolution of graphics programs have allowed more and more skilled enthusiasts to create and share their artwork with the world, driving playing card collectors wild with desire.
Kickstarter has also made it more and more possible for small time designers and enthusiasts to fund their projects. People post their design criteria and ask the public to fund their projects, the higher the investment, the higher the reward. This is a perfect place for playing card collectors to snatch up extremely rare designs.
A lot of amazing decks of playing cards have been funded this way, and, as a playing card collector, I predict that many more will follow.
Occasionally playing card companies will run a batch of playing cards, they will pass through quality control and hit the shops. Then a defect is spotted. It could be a misaligned or missing pip, acolouring error or anything that deviates from the original design. Once the playing card company finds out, they market it as a must have collectable, and playing card collectors bite. They just have to own that never to be repeated piece of playing card history.
Five tips for collecting playing cards
1) Look for limited edition runs – Small batches or limited runs often sell out quickly. If you have the opportunity to get one, don’t pass it up.
2) Don’t break the deck seals – Sealed decks are more collectable than open ones. If you ever decide to sell your collection, a sealed deck of playing cards will be much more valuable.
3) Be careful where you store your cards – Cards are very sensitive to heat and can easily warp and become ruined. Keep your playing cards cool and out of direct sunlight.
4) The back design isn’t always the most important factor – Sometimes the faces are just as important as the backs.
5) Contact other collectors to swap and trade spare decks – Playing card collectors may be looking for a certain deck and if you have a spare you can both help each other out. Check out forums and help your fellow collectors.