As always, when we have a featured collector, we start with a Q&A session:
Why do you collect playing cards?
I’ve always enjoyed art, even if I am a novice and layman. From the very oldest to the newest Kickstarter deck they are all art in their own way. Anyone who doesn’t think they are art has a very narrow and misguided idea of what art is. So I guess the short answer is I collect them for their beauty and for all of the myriad and ineffable reasons people collect art in general.
When did you start collecting playing cards?
Sometime during January 2014 I was Youtube hopping and saw a video about a magic trick. I didn’t know the deck the guy was using but later found that they were Black Ghosts from Ellusionist. I had never seen a deck like that before and was immediately taken by them. The comments from the author had a link to Ellusionist and I ordered two decks without hesitating. About a month later I found UC, lurked awhile and then joined. It’s been downhill for my debit card ever since.
How many decks are in your collection?
I stopped counting after 200. Somewhere between 400 and 500 maybe? This of course includes duplicates and “practice” decks. Standard Rider/Standard backs.
What types of decks do you collect?
Mostly modern decks but I have been dipping my toes a bit into older decks and rarer decks. I recently picked up two decks on Ebay printed in the 1970’s in Egypt that I am particularly proud of.
How do you organize your collection?
Well my most prized decks are displayed in my study/office/living room. I have a 60 deck Lucite display case I picked up from CPC. The rest that are displayed are on 6 ledge shelves I picked up at Ikea. I have them on wooden plate stands I got at a hobby store. Since I don’t use my china I put it into storage and repurposed my hutch as a display for as many of my Bicycle decks and other similarly prized decks I have. The rest are in small plastic storage totes I also picked up at Ikea. (That place is an evil money pit, I swear it!)
What is your favorite deck of the ones you have, and why?
Well in my case its decks because they are a set. Since they were a gift/reward from my favorite designer it would have to be my Mercury Gran Riserva set. (If anyone wants them, pick a number greater than zero and plan on adding at least 5 zeros after it)
What deck that you do not have would you most like to have?
Wow. Talk about a loaded question! You would think it’s an uber rare and priceless deck but oddly enough it’s got to be the Bicycle Porcelain deck. I love the art but I think it’s also partly due to not being able to get it. I know there are some on Ebay but vastly overpriced and I promised myself I would stop overpaying for cards.
What would you like to see in the design of a new deck?
I really like what is new and fresh but I really would like to see something old redone but with its own feel or soul. It’s hard to put into words. A good analogy are cover songs. It’s not hard for a talented band or singer to cover someone else’s song and mimic it but the very best covers are the ones that a great performer makes their own. Johnny Cash’s cover of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt” is the perfect example of this. Cash, a Country/Rockabilly singer took a song by an industrial band and made it his own. You can hear the original in it but his version is so “him” that he redefined it. That the essence of what I would like to see. Sorry. No baby seal skin/ivory inlay/titanium foil!
Has the way you collect playing cards changed since you started?
A great deal actually. For starters I don’t buy every deck I see anymore. I have learned to be more discerning and picky. And as I said above I am looking at older and rarer decks as well now. I am also trying, and mostly failing to not be a “completionist”.
What is the oldest deck in your collection, when did you get it, and did you pay too much?
Well there’s the Egyptian decks I mentioned above from the 70’s. I also have some Rider Backs from the 60’s. Both were purchased from Thrift stores for pennies so I didn’t overpay for them. I’m still working on older decks.
What is your favorite part of your collection that isn't a deck of cards?
I’m not a huge add on fan but if something catches my eye, and I can afford it, I’ll grab it. That being said I really like the companion booklets from Colonial unrest and Golden Spike. And since it’s not a deck my Dia De Los Muertos and Heretic uncuts are favorite. I don’t have much wall space so I resist the uncuts.
Do you have any words of wisdom for new collectors?
Just to try to go slow and learn what you like. It’s hard to resist buying tons of decks in the beginning and we all usually fail, but try. Also, and more importantly do your homework. Research and ask questions. Not just about a certain decks value but with Kickstarter being a big part of this hobby now and so many decks there, ask about designers and their delivery and overall reputation. I got sucked into a campaign early on and it’s currently 7 months late with no delivery in sight. As it turned out the guy running the campaign had a pretty bad reputation but I rushed in waving my debit card around without asking.
Well thanks for honoring me with Collector of the month and sorry for my long winded answers!
Thank you, John! Enjoy your time as the latest UC Featured Collector!
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All information posted as fact is accurate at the time of posting to the best of my knowledge.