March 2008


Somehow not many antique or old decks have been added to our collection for the last two months. We don't find many of them at the antique- or fleamarkets that we visit and on Ebay there always seem to be one or more collectors that can afford the deck on auction better. But there are modern interesting decks too. The one that we choose as "Deck of the Month" was made in 2007.

Of course we like nostalgic, old circus posters, otherwise we wouldn't have acquired this deck, but after receiving it we were a bit disappointed. So why then choose this deck as Deck of the Month? Well, it is a good example of a recent development: home-printing!
This is not a brand new phenomenon, but it's spreading. So we think that as collectors we should at least have to ask ourselves if we want to embrace this, discard it or ....... collect it!
Home-printing is relatively new. Since about 5 years special PC programs are available that will enable you to design and print your own deck of cards. These programs often come with a number of special printing sheets, highly flexible, because they're made of pretty thin "carton". Of course you'll need a decent inkjet or LaserJet printer too, but after that your imagination can be transferred into a deck of cards. You can make a single copy, but if you want you can make as many copies as you want. And if you're selling them....on demand. 

We would like to put some question marks at certain aspects of this new development:
-First of all there's the quality of the cards. As said, the used carton is often thin and flexible, which makes it vulnerable to "warping": a slight bend in the cards will already be noticeable upon receipt. After printing the cards haven't been finished with a lacquer layer. You can actually feel the lettering on the cards. So if you should want to play with these cards, a rapid decay of quality is to be expected. 
-The price of these decks is in the wind. Basically there's no limit to the edition. Production costs are fairly low and remain the same no matter how many copies are made for the edition. As there's no knowing how large the edition will be, there's no telling how "rare" these decks will be(come).
-As these editions are often done privately, one fully depends on the maker's integrity. There's often no fixed price, there's no retail distribution other than by the maker himself. Let's take this month's deck....
When we inquired off Ebay about the prices of the offered decks (see extra card), the answer was "somewhere between $10 and $ 15", depending on which deck we would like. The deck below was offered on Ebay for $ 7.99. We were charged $ 10 as shipping costs and noticed upon arrival that the actual costs were only $ 3.60. A long silence was the answer to our complaint about this.

We're interested to know your opinion about this new development in playing cards. Any experiences, good or bad? Any comments? Please share them with us. Email us and we'll be happy to create a place on our site for discussing this issue. We won't be ordering other decks, however interesting their topic may be. And in future we'll ask about the printing technique first when we see interesting, but questionable decks offered.

Still, we can imagine that other collectors will find this an interesting niche for their hobby. And who are we to judge?

There are some nice old-fashioned Circus posters and images in the deck, so for now......





The deck was printed and published by MRC Publishing in 2007.
The deck consists of 52 cards, 2 (similar) jokers and 4 extra cards.

The backdesign is titled "The Old Tyme Circus".

The deck came without a box, in a plastic bag. We would almost say "of course".