[ --- Portfolio52 Facebook's Featured Collections --- ]

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[ --- Portfolio52 Facebook's Featured Collections --- ]

Unread postby ecNate » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:47 am  

First, this should not be considered to compete with UC's featured member series (although that seems to have died off anyhow). The intent was to simply feature a prominent collection from Portfolio52 on the Portfolio52 Facebook page, along with a brief story about the owner. However, I've been asked to duplicate that content here for those who don't use Facebook or don't see all the posts because of Facebook being Facebook (read as 'stupid and greedy'). While a selection of other updates might appear in the Portfolio52 on Facebook thread, I think this ongoing set of updates requires it's own thread.

However, if you are on Facebook please go click 'Like' https://www.facebook.com/PlayingCardDB


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Portfolio52 Featured Collection Submission Details

If selected, or volunteered (PM ecNate to do so) to be a featured collection, the following will be used to help draft the article. Once complete it will be listed as a Note and status update notification on the Portfolio52 Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PlayingCardDB...........) and will also be archived at UnitedCardists (viewtopic.php?f=58&t=6371...........). You can see these entries for past featured collections to get a feeling for the variety of answers and length. It's intended to simply be a short paragraph or two, but will gladly expand if you have more to share.

This questionnaire is used as the primary means for gathering the content, but your responses will be converted to a narrative styled article and will also include include the number of decks in your collection, both total and unique, with the link to your collection:



1) How/why/when did you start collecting cards?:

2) Where are you located (city and/or country)?:

3) What are a few of your favorite decks and why?:

4) Do you specialize or prefer in collecting any kinds of cards (modern, vintage, transformation, advertising, casino, etc)?:

5) Additional information of your choosing (you could say thanks to Rhu for starting PCDB/Portfolio52, Alex Chin of Seasons Playing Cards for taking it over and expanding it, suggest people join at UC, push a Kickstarter project, talk about how you display your collection, if you open decks, if you buy singles or duplicates, your ultimate white whale, favorite uncut, etc). Links to photos or threads about your collection, display method, etc are welcomed as well. Pretty much anything you want to share related to cards and your collection:

6) Your collection URL on Portfolio52:

7) OPTIONAL Your real name (first name only is fine) and/or how to refer to you in the article (if you prefer to NOT use your real name your PCDB member name will be used, but please clarify if we should use he/she at a minimum to help with wording):

8) OPTIONAL What is your day job or other activities, hobbies or other collections do you have:

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Re: PCDB Facebook's Featured Collections

Unread postby ecNate » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:49 am  


Jan 2015 Featured Collection: iDoctor

For the first PCDB featured collection, we have selected iDoctor who is by far the largest contributor to PCDB, with almost twice the PCDB points of the 2nd. With 818 unique decks (1088 total) in his PCDB collection, it is a wonderful collection containing a mix of vintage casino decks, the majority of recent modern decks and more.

Located in Moscow, Russia, he started collecting playing cards by chance approx. 3 years ago when his son purchased a couple of a very beautiful decks. His favorite vintage deck is the Black Palekh (1967 edition) because these were the best cards of his childhood. For modern decks it would be the recent decks from Rick Davidson, Grail (both First and Limited) because of outstanding historical and artwork. In addition, he is in love with vintage Vegas cards from 1960-70s (Jerry's Nugget, Golden Nugget, Silver Slipper, Dunes, etc.) and always in search of the rarest of them because these cards are the most impressive pieces of a gambling history and have their own spirit. However, he collects all kinds of playing cards because for him cards are primarily art, so every well-done artist's deck is interesting and worth having.

In addition, iDoctor would like to say thanks to Rhu who created this unique project and to ecNate who has invited him to join. He is glad to contribute the best he can to the project and asks all card collectors to join PCDB and contribute just adding and keeping updated their own collection. The playing card world is huge and only by working together can we make PCDB the best card repository for us all!


iDoctor's PCDB Collection
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Re: PCDB Facebook's Featured Collections

Unread postby ecNate » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:55 pm  


Feb 2015 Featured Collection: dazzleguts

For the second PCDB featured collection, we have selected dazzleguts primarily due to the eccentric and rare mix of decks in her collection. While dazzleguts' collection at PCDB currently contains over 508 unique decks (768 total), this represents just 3/4 of her entire collection with the rest still to be added. Still, the collection as it stands is enough to crack the top 10 for most unique decks on PCDB. In browsing this collection you'll find a bit of everything from retro to modern decks, but punctuated with macabre themes, reproduction decks and the weirdly wonderful! In addition, dazzleguts is the second largest contributor by points to the PlayingCardDB. Thank you!

Dazzleguts resides in Vancouver Island, just off the west coast of Canada, in the province of British Columbia and started collecting 5 years ago, in January of 2010. At the time she thought it was just a passing interest in an item that was never looked at closely before. However, after finding some interesting decks from other countries in a local thrift store, she started looking at innovative modern decks through UnitedCardists and other online forums. It was only after becoming aware of the countless decks that have been made over the deep 600 + years of history behind playing cards that she was really drawn in, "To view these mundane everyday objects in that light was amazing".

Dazzleguts selected three decks as her favorites, one in each category of antique, vintage and modern:

- Her antique selection is the 1815 Ackermann transformation deck which she thinks is one of the most beautiful antique decks she has ever seen. Being a deck way beyond her budget, the deck she has in her collection is a reproduction that was made by the Fournier Museum from a deck, or set of proofs, that is in their collection. She believes that the softly stippled highly detailed designs of the cards have the surreal feeling of dream imagery and the suit signs are more skillfully set into each image than in any other transformation deck.

- From a vintage perspective, her favorite is the Canosa Erotic Deck (for card face images see the excellent DXPO site of card collectors Miriam and Joop in the Netherlands. NOTE - as should be expected the images are graphic and as NSFW images haven't been addressed yet in the PCDB policy they have not yet been added there yet). A beautiful, and at times bizarre, series of erotic paintings that were completed around 1979 by the artist Pier Canosa for the Cortina Art Gallery of Milan, Italy. 750 of the 4000 decks released through the gallery were signed and numbered to be released in North America through U.S. Games Systems. Dazzleguts has #s 70, 80 and 96 out of the 750.

- Lastly, her contemporary favorite is the 2009 Blosyak deck. It was made by the Russian illustrator, Alexander Blosjak, whose work reminds her of underground comics and graffiti. The deck itself is more iconic and less comic than his other work and was made in a small edition of 300. While the tuck is in PCDB, dazzleguts also posted the art of the deck in the Russian thread of the World Wide Time Machine of UnitedCardists.

Rather than collecting from specific time periods, specific makers of cards, or particular types, dazzleguts collects entirely based on how attractive or interesting the graphics of the cards are to her. That most often means an entirely custom designed deck, but can also be, if the price is low, a particular ace, joker, card back, or desired tuck box in an otherwise uninteresting deck. Storage space can be a problem as she never breaks up a desirable deck to have one card, but if the deck is already broken, and not particularly collectible, a well liked card may be removed and kept by itself.

All decks in dazzleguts' collection get opened, to be looked at and even played, but she will often have 1 or 2 extras that remain sealed, but most often only if they were a really good deal. Her collection is mostly stored in three Ikea Helmer drawer units, with some overflow into assorted boxes and other storage. Many of the decks in the collection came from thrift stores and garage/estate sales (including a Bicycle Gaff deck and a UV500 Black Tiger). Many more have come from friends and family who look for decks for that crazy card collector they know. Dazzleguts would like all of those reading to understand that it's very much possible to have a very interesting and fair sized collection without spending heaps of money.

Finally, dazzleguts would like to express gratitude for the community of people that make up UnitedCardists, and inclusion in that community and to thank Rhu for being added to the Playing Card Database team. Both are wonderful examples of the best aspects of online co-operation. Dazzleguts is honored to be chosen by ecNate as a featured collector of the DB, right after the amazing iDoctor.

dazzlegut's Collection at Portfolio52



** Edited on June 2, 2015 to current links at new Portfolio52 site
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Re: [ --- PCDB Facebook's Featured Collections --- ]

Unread postby ecNate » Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:18 pm  


Mar 2015 Featured Collection: VJose32

For March 2015, the featured PCDB collection is from VJose32 (jerichoholic at United Cardists). Anybody who has looked up a deck review has likely come across his videos on youtube from his VJose32 Card Connoisseur YouTube channel and related Facebook page. Victor Miranda is the man behind both that channel and this very impressive PCDB collection, which has by far the most unique decks on PCDB with 1499 decks. In addition, even with most of the decks in his collection being single copies, it still manages to be in the top 5 for having the most total decks. As you might expect from a collection that contains almost 54% of all the decks listed in the database, it's a wide variety of decks.

Victor, who is from Winnipeg, Canada, started collecting cards in the summer or fall of 2010 after coming in contact with magic videos on Youtube and eventually tutorials, especially those of mismag822. He eventually came across a video with a Tally-Ho Circle Back and found that deck to quite visually striking, considering the decks available at the time. Being from Canada and having to deal with potential custom fees, he initially limited himself to exclusively buying from Canadian magic sites, especially those of Magic Makers Inc and Big Blind Media, but soon started buying from American shops and his collection size rapidly took off without that self imposed limitation.

Like any collector with large collection, Victor finds it very hard to choose favorite decks, but one of his favorites is still the JAQK Cellars as they are very beautiful and make great use of metallic inks with amazing court cards. He's also still a big fan of Tally-Ho's and also Split Spades from David Blaine. He focuses on buying mostly modern playing cards from the major producers and Kickstarter projects, but also has a fair amount of vintage decks and a few casino decks. While he doesn't generally collect uncut sheets, the one he does have is the Norwood uncut from USPCC, a nice one for any fan of the USPCC.

Displaying such a massive collection at one time would be quite difficult anyhow, but he also prefers to keep them stored in closets to keep the family peace as others may not appreciate the extent of his massive collection. He does open every deck because he sees no value in keeping a deck sealed up and never seeing what is inside the tuckcase or feeling the cards. While at one point he tried buying 2 of everything to keep one sealed for the future, he stopped doing that for the most part because it gets rather expensive, especially being located in Canada with the added custom and shipping costs.

Even with such a large collection that does include rare decks and past white whales, he's still looking for the Bicycle Cage Garden, a vintage Dunes casino, and perhaps a vintage Silver Slipper casino decks. He's also hoping to get the Bund 18, Bicycle Suncity and Bicycle Grand Opening decks one day.

Lastly, Victor would like to say thanks to Rhu for this fantastic site, as he never thought he would ever have such an easy way to keep track of cards, especially after trying multiple methods on his own, which only got more difficult as his collection grew so quickly. He also would like to thank United Cardists for their involvement and recommend others to join them for keeping up with all the latest decks which is a must if you do want to keep up in today's card world.

VJose32's Collection at Portfolio52



** Edited on June 2, 2015 to current links at new Portfolio52 site
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Re: [ --- PCDB Facebook's Featured Collections --- ]

Unread postby ecNate » Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:13 pm  


April 2015 Featured Collection: Sparkz

Many of you will be familiar with this month's featured collection owner Tony, from his projects Kardify, SparkzCollector, Aquila, or just from the UC forums. Tony has had a number of collections and projects, but collecting playing cards has probably been his favorite experience. Not so much for the collection he's built over time, but more for the experiences and most importantly the designers, artists, community members that have gone from acquaintances to friends. As one can see from his work at Kardify or updates to PCDB, Tony is fully "all In" when it comes to collecting, he really works on learning and sharing about the items, community, production, the whole 9 yards.

Tony grew up in Chicago where he was a was a big fan of Patrick Nagel, Frank Frazetta and Annie Leibovitz and studied Graphic Design and Photography in school, which was back when it was just paper pencils and a darkroom, no computers with PhotoShop and tablets. After living in Italy for a few years enjoying life with his sketch pad and camera, he eventually came back to the states and settled back into the area he grew up and still resides now in the Chicago area. Prior to his current side projects, he spent most of his professional career in Marketing and Advertising, and as a freelance Photographer.

Tony's always been a collector and like his playing card collection, most of his early collections (TV Guide, sports memorabilia, comic books, etc) were driven by art and creativity, modern art, and fantasy art. Although Tony started collecting playing cards around September of 2014, it kind of happened in a roundabout way and followed a decrease interest in comic books and spawned from his collection of Zippo lighters (where his online persona of Sparkz comes from). Like many things as they become more mainstream, costs seem to go up and quality down, so when comics started going the wrong direction and after Michael Turner passed away, his interest in continuing comic book collecting waned. Eventually, because he never collected for value, but for what he likes, he went on a bit of a collecting hiatus entirely. Then one day he received a package from a friend in Germany with an enclosed note that read, “Thought you would like this design”. Inside was a Black Zippo with a graphic depicting a “Black Hole”, it was a really cool image and he started poking around Zippos and found some amazing work, not just images screened onto the lighter, but the use of different finishes, 3 dimensional pieces that were just crazy……….and expensive. The cost took its toll and while he is still on look out for certain pieces, they are few and far between. Eventually, it was during a search for an Anne Stokes Zippo, he stumbled onto the playing card collecting community when he found that she also had playing cards that were based on her artwork. Needless to say, he started looking up playing cards online, and the rest as they say, is history.

Like many PCDB collections, Sparkz's collection of 434 unique decks (868 total) mostly consists of modern decks, with a small vintage subsection that is growing as he learns more about these older decks. Tony generally will get 2 copies of a deck, one to keep sealed for the collection and another to open and enjoy. He believes it’s a shame if you don’t open the deck so he will try and get that second deck or find an open deck in the aftermarket later in order to enjoy the work done on the cards themselves as well as the work done on the tuck. He's found patience to be a great asset in his collecting experience because things you think you won’t ever get seem to come along in time if you're patient and keep an eye out for those unexpected opportunities. He also makes a great effort to display as much of his collection as he can because he really enjoys looking at it and doesn't want it stored in boxes or drawers. Although, as the collection grows he's finding that he has to pick and choose what goes in the wall cases (see more images of his collection and cases in this thread at UC).

Sparkz's tastes drive him to those that have a real sense of work behind them. The intricacy of the line work or design really are the things that pull him in, but it isn't limited to high end decks as there is a place for subtle appealing decks as well. While he isn't able to name a favorite deck due to so many amazing decks out there, he greatly appreciates the Federal 52 series by Jackson Robinson, especially for their role in modern playing card design history. Another is Encarded by Paul Carpenter who always seems to find a concept outside the proverbial box and the decks are truly unique and well designed. In addition he loves the brilliant variety of Uusi Studios and the appealingly different Book of Cards from UnCommon Beat. Plus a number of other amazing artists and designers like Brendan Hong, Lorenzo Gaggiotti, Erik Mana, Randy Butterfield, Lee McKenzie and the list goes on and on. Tony appreciates that in the playing card world there really is something for everyone to allow collectors to get a sense of what they really like and want to collect, which does take time. Tony also loves that collecting playing cards brought back his fascination and love of magic when he used to watch David Copperfield and Doug Henning specials whenever they were on, as well as other magicians over the years.

As Tony grew more familiar with Playing Cards he wanted to get involved in the community in some way and after a little trial and error, he sent a message to Ivan Choe who created Kardify.com and asked if he would be interested in adding a new segment to his site. Ivan agreed and they've become very good friends since then and is great when you can work with someone who shares your vision, motivation and ethics. They both were of the same mind set, wanting to bring something more to the community which they kept building relationships and doing what they can to keep expanding. During that time they had the opportunity to be involved in the Aquila Kickstarter project and while neither had done anything like it, they took the opportunity as a learning experience which would help them appreciate and report on other Kickstarter playing card projects. Ade Suryana had come up with a deck concept and was looking for some help getting it produced and on Kickstarter, so Kardify decided to develop Kardify Projects in conjunction with Ade’s group, 3 of Clubs, and a new chapter was opened for Tony, Ivan, Kardify and Ade.

Tony would like to thank the guys at the PCDB for asking him to do this, as it was a surprise as well as an honor to be asked. He also would like to take the opportunity to thank them for the amazing job they’re doing on the site; people ask how he catalogs his collection all the time, and he has to be honest that while he has his own system, he must always point them to PCDB. It is the easiest and quickest way to get your collection in one place and urges users to utilize all its functions, especially the “Want” and “Trade” lists. He can’t wait to see how the site continues to expands and grow. Tony notes, "this is not a paid endorsement" :-) [Thanks Tony!]

Sparkz's Collection at Portfolio52



** Edited on June 2, 2015 to current links at new Portfolio52 site
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Re: [ --- PCDB Facebook's Featured Collections --- ]

Unread postby ecNate » Fri May 01, 2015 1:51 pm  

May 2015 Featured Collection: MagikFingerz

For May of 2015 our featured PCDB collection comes from MagikFingerz (Tom). Tom was born and raised in Bergen, Norway, which is the second largest city in Norway which is located on the south-west coast. He's currently enrolled at a London UK university where he's been for the past four years.

Like last month's featured collection owner Sparkz, MagikFingerz (Tom) got into card collecting through Zippo lighters, but from a flair perspective instead of art. 9 years ago when Tom was just 17, he went on a language course to the US in Long Beach, California. While there he picked up a Zippo lighter and naturally to him, had to learn every trick he could find with it. In the process he started searching for other things to "flourish" with: coins, pens and eventually cards. Tom first got a hold of De'vo's Xtreme Beginnerz DVD and soon after ordered his first Tally Ho deck and was instantly hooked. Not too long after he discovered Ellusionist's new at the time line of custom decks (Black Tiger, Tally Ho Vipers etc) and knew they too had to be his. It was also around this time when he found the first incarnation of United Cardists, and as new custom decks were made and brought to light via this forum, things just started to snowball to the point now where he's clearly both a cardist and a collector.

With 571 unique decks, and many more as duplicates (Tom hasn't bothered to add most of the duplicate counts to PCDB), Tom's collection has what you would expect from a long time cardist and includes many of the old classic favorite standard decks that handle well and newer ones designed for appearance while flourishing. Although, he also has a good number of more recent custom artistic decks from various KickStarter projects and other sources. He also has a few uncut sheets, but only gets them if they can display a deck better than in his hands (which isn't often). For example, the Tally Ho Gaff deck (which shows off the Circle and Fan Backs beautifully in both red and blue) and all of Emmanuel's transformation decks to date. Tom displays most of his decks using IKEA shelves with attachments, meaning they can be tilted without things falling off.

At first MagikFingerz collected all kinds of decks, particularly Bicycle decks, but as his taste (and budget) refined, he ended up collecting mostly decks that are good for cardistry (especially fans) or are unique enough to grab his attention. Which means the bulk of his recent additions have been mostly modern decks by quality printers.

With a collection nearing 600, it's only natural that Tom would have trouble picking just a single favorite deck or two, but he does have some honorable mentions. The Black Tiger deck will always be the symbol of what started this hobby and collection for Tom. Similarily, Lance Miller's Actuators are a memento of the first successful playing card KickStarter, and also of one of the first deck designers to come to the UnitedCardists forum and ask for input along the design process. Finally, the Virginia Slims and RJRTC Watermelons are his favorite and best handling "old" decks, the perfect examples of "they don't make 'em like they used to".

Lastly, Tom needs to thank Rhu for doing all the great work he's done so far. Especially since he tried doing something similar with his Playing Card Wiki, but it just wasn't sustainable with all the new decks coming out. Tom finds Rhu's database is much more suited for the job.

MagikFingerz's Collection at PlayingCardDB

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Re: [ --- PCDB Facebook's Featured Collections --- ]

Unread postby ecNate » Sat Jun 06, 2015 8:28 pm  

Disclaimer: due to recent frantic activity with the new Portfolio52, and especially from not having a volunteer step up for this month's Featured Collection, we are doing an inside feature on ecNate who is part of the PCDB/Portfolio52 support team. Please note that while we have people lined up for July-October, we'll be looking for others to feature after, so let us know if you have a unique collection and/or interesting back story and are willing to be featured. Seriously, this was fun, but kinda awkward. :oops: I felt it was important to not skip a month though.

June 2015 Featured Collection: ecNate
Located in Wisconsin (USA), Nate started collecting just last year in early 2014 and initially intended to simply buy a few unique decks to play cards with. That soon escalated into planning to have just 20-30 decks in a custom display case which could be selected from to play with. That also was thrown out the window as more valuable or treasured decks were purchased and became a display only collection (recent photos of the displayed deck here) with certain decks being purchased in sets to keep one for the collection and one to play, plus less treasured decks sometimes get downgraded from collection to play status as display space runs out. Other than these exception, Nate typically buys just a single deck that gets opened almost always (if you don't open it you just collect tuckboxes and not cards) and kept for the collection display to occasionally be opened and carefully viewed,  Just a very select few get the double purchase and an even fewer never get opened. Like many others, late last year after catching up with missed decks in the past, he also started to develop a niche for his collection, which has resulted in cutting back on obtaining new decks and shedding some less favorite ones. 

With 270 unique decks (about 300 total), including 11 uncuts, it's not a massive collection, but not a tiny one either. It is full of variety with transformation style decks a prominent subset, plus a few vintage and casino decks, but the bulk is definitely modern decks. Nate doesn't care much for standard courts so almost all decks have fully custom courts and ideally even have the number cards and pips fully modified, even if it breaks "the rules", but a fully embellished tuckcase is becoming even more important to make it in the collection. Besides transformation and vintage decks, other clear themes are macabre and supernatural decks, balanced by both whimsical or animal themed decks, the classic elaborate decks, along with historic themes. Like many others, late last year after catching up with missed decks in the past, he also started to develop a niche for his collection, which has resulted in cutting back on obtaining new decks and shedding some less favorite ones.

The most treasured decks in his collection are an incomplete but original 1895 Vanity Fair No 41, Compucards, Eagle Deluxe Five Suit Bridge, Joker Poker set, and a set of 52 Plus Joker Club Edition pair and Gold  (all signed by Jackson, won in UC contest). Favorite decks for theme and design include all decks from Emmanuel Jose, the entire Seasons collection (especially Verana & Primavera), Highland Fauna, Dark Suits, Evil Deck, Branded Black Reserve Note, Origins, Ultimate Deck, 52 Aces, Russian Folk Art, Delirium, N17 v.01, Uusi Classic and a number of others. The deck that started it all was the Haunted deck which Nate simply couldn't believe existed and was very excited to discover and realizing this might become a collection after all, even though the actual deck was a bit of a disappointment and far better ones discovered later. His first uncut was Ultimate Deck, but other treasured uncuts include all from Emmanuel Jose, Black Reserve Note and Explore. Upcoming decks he's most looking forward to receiving are Arcana, HellsGate, Coven, Omnia and Army (his father was a featured court figure).

Nate also occasionally tends to his other collections of 1/43 scale cars, board games (although more to play, but at some point you realize you have a problem and calling it a collection makes it ok somehow), barware glasses including beer brand pints, automotive license plates, currency coins, concert tickets (although with etickets it's become an online setlist collection) and a few others from years ago. Beer steins, beer bottle caps and dealer coins may get upgraded to collection status in the future, but currently just a handful of each or a bucket of unorganized content. By day he's in web application security and IT management, with a background in development and hardware. Nate also enjoys mountain biking, sand volleyball, automotive racing (watching F1, IndyCar and historic racecars, plus track days and autocross in his own car and gokart), music and camping (cushy RV/campervan style ONLY).

He wants to send a HUGE thanks to Rhu for sharing what was initially his personal simple PHP app to track his own application and making it one for the community to use. Also, thank you to Alex Chin for helping rescue PlayingCard DB and for having a critical hand in turning it into Portfolio52 and the new version and system which gives the platform a great future after we get through the transition. Lastly, thanks to all those members of PCDB/Portfolio52 that contribute to the site and members at UnitedCardists for helping keep us all aware of new decks and helping get background and content to be used in the listings.

Nate's Collection at Portfolio52
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Re: [ --- Portfolio52 Facebook's Featured Collections --- ]

Unread postby ecNate » Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:07 pm  

July 2015 Featured Collection: Joe (montecarlojoe)

Also known as montecarlojoe on the UnitedCardists forums, Joseph lives in the original (and best in his mind) Portsmouth in Hampshire on the south coast of England.  Joe started out simply as a casual card player, playing poker with friends. He bought a really good quality set of chips to play with (and that started a separate poker chip collection), but they were always using pretty average quality decks (Cartamundi Casino Royale movie tie ins).  So Joe went on a quest to find more interesting options.  At that time Tron 2 had come out on blue ray and after watching it during a poker game he was inspired to find a similar themed deck because "Wouldn't it be cool if there were cards like that?!". After some research he found 4PM's GRID deck which started him on his journey collecting decks.  After more digging he also found the Revision 1 deck and was hooked, quickly finding United Cardists and KickStarter shortly after, around May 2013. He started contributing to UC on a regular basis and got to know the members and Mods, so when Mike Ratledge took over as owner of UC in 2014 he was lucky enough to be invited to become a moderator. Since then, he has mostly worked behind the scenes to help add new features to the forums and customize the site.  Which is made easier because his day job is in corporate IT and management trainer for local government. 

With 392 decks listed in his Portfolio52 collection, Joe's collection is primarily focused on modern decks and he typically waits for something that speaks to him and no particular style or theme drives him.  Although he does have a small collection of decks used in the Monte Carlo (Monaco) casinos, including a previously long white whale of his, 1979 BEE LOEWS Monte Carlo deck which was almost impossible to find.  His white whale slot has now moved on to the Gallifrey One deck which he normally wouldn't be into because it's a photo deck, but the Doctor Who back sold him on it.  

Generally Joe tends to buy single decks or sets only, with duplicates or deck purchases a very rare circumstance.  He will usually open at least one of a set of decks, but is very carefully when opening seals by using a craft knife to cut along he curve of the thumb groove rather than just tear them open. He buys decks to enjoy the art inside or even use them and to leave every deck in cellophane is to do the designer a disservice because they were created to be used and enjoyed.

Some of his first decks are still his favorites, starting with GRID as his first real collectible deck.  Federal 52 was the first KS project backed and ended up with the 10 deck wooden case and all 10 deck variations over both Fed52 projects. It's still the first thing he shows off when people see his collection! UUSi Bluebloods Redux were the first Brick bought with the wood brick box with all 12 UUsi poker decks is a real prized part of his collection. He also loves the transformation decks in his collection, with Emmanuel Jose's series being the decks he goes back to again and again. This is because in Joe's viewpoint his work is what minimalism should be with simple colors and shapes whilst still showing off a playful imagination and supreme artistic skills! However, there are so many great designers with Lotrek and Lorenzo being favorites as of late.  In addition, Joe is really impressed with Randy Butterfield and his work with the Luxx series.  Overall Joe loves so many of his decks for different reasons, but because of the community that has so readily accepted and embraced him, the United Cardists annual deck will always hold a special place in his collection.

Joe has a portion of his collection stored in an old architects chest, and others displayed on repurposed Ikea racks.  He's also modified brick boxes to be used as a display and of course fully utilizes the custom boxes from past campaigns. Joe also collects casino chips that were played in the Monte Carlo casinos with his favorite being a set of Art nouveau roulette chips used in the grand Casino de Monte Carlo between 1930 and 1950.

When Rhu was developing version one of the playing card DB, Joe really saw it as a fantastic piece of work.  Not only for the amazing resource it had the potential to become, which is just now starting to be realized, but also for the love and dedication that Rhu put into the project. Mike/UC had sponsored the PCDB and he am proud to say he was one of the first handful of contributors to the early site. Because he was in a position to give the PCDB/Portfolio52 its own forum for discussion and development, he was glad to do so at United Cardists which is a hub of the playing card community. Joe firmly believes that Portfolio52 will end up as one of the single most significant contributions to the playing card hobby. 

Joe's Collection at Portfolio52
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Re: [ --- Portfolio52 Facebook's Featured Collections --- ]

Unread postby ecNate » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:58 am  


September 2015 Featured Collection: Vasta41

Vasta41 is actually Paul in real life, who is a Computer Software Technician for the Commonwealth of MA still lives in Greater Boston today. He recently got married to his wife, Ashley who lets him display his cards in their den. Aside from his Jerry’s Nugget and Virginia Slims most of the cards he collects are modern decks created in the 90’s and after. He doesn't have the time nor funding to be able to collect vintage cards but is always impressed by peoples' vintage collections. He has a few favorite decks for a few different reasons: Paul's favorite “fun” deck is the Americana deck because he loves the courts! His favorite “elegant” decks are a toss up between the Seasons and Mana series. He used to open most of his decks but after about 100 or so he started to keep most of them sealed, but out of all his sealed decks the one he wants to open the most is the White Centurions because he imagines they would look stunning in real life.

Paul's journey into collecting cards is certainly a wandering one, but like many was rooted in magic. Like most adolescent boys, along with a slew of other toys, he was given cheap magic kit sets with sponge balls, rubber thumbs, rings etc. At the time he was only semi-interested in them, but as he got older and more experienced, so did his taste. He discovered and bought most of the Milton Bradley “Magic Works” products because they were higher quality and admittedly easy to perform. Among Paul's small collection of magic tricks were some trick decks, specifically a Svengali and Stripper deck. One thing that always bothered him about them is that they looked “fake” so he wasn't able to fool anyone. He did have a regular Hoyle deck that he played Rummy 500 with but the problem was it obviously wasn’t magical so he just had to actually learn some tricks! Paul found a book called “World’s Greatest Card Tricks” by Bob Longe and practiced every trick in that book. He eventually bought just about every one of his books and still enjoy performing his tricks to this day.

Paul has lived right outside of Boston his whole life so he often visited the famous Faneuil Hall marketplace. There was a magic store there (which was replaced by an Urban Outfitters over 10 years ago) which he visited once a month, if not once a week. His need to perform with a Svengali deck that was Bicycle-branded was finally me when he found that the store had almost all of the Hampton Ridge magic decks and eventually bought every one- Brainwave, Cheek to Cheek, The Split Deck just to name a few. By his mid teenage years his interest in almost all other magic except card tricks had faded. He never performed on a large scale by any means and pretty much stuck to "amazing" family and friends. In college Paul found it even easier to perform because people find illusions even more incredible when they’re inebriated.

As time went on his desire to perform was less and less, until the night he drove to U Conn for Spring Weekend with friends and found himself at a house party. The guy who lived there had much better magic skills than he did and amazed everybody, everybody except him that is. His jealousy toward his showmanship was the kick in the ass that he needed to get back on the saddle. Not only did that kid have skills, he also had a custom deck of cards, the first Paul had ever seen. It was one of the black and silver Bicycle decks with the one-way court cards tilted inside their frame. Obviously nothing too special nowadays but in 2006, Paul simply NEEDED this deck. He scoured the internet for “custom bicycle playing cards black” and it wasn’t long until he found himself on Ellusionist’s website buying his first custom deck, the Black Tiger with red pips. Less than a few years later he found all the other big boys and had a nice little collection of E, T11, D$D and general custom USPCC decks. At the time he was still a total E fanboy (which is eventually how Paul found UnitedCardists). He had every one of their decks, including the First Edition Black Ghost and most of their playing card tricks DVDs including Xtreme Begginerz & D&D’s Trilogy which are the two most fundamental trick/flourish DVDs he owns. While he kept up with his collection, he also kept up with his cards tricks and flourishing as well.

His discovery of UnitedCardists, which at the time was uc.net, was when he was trying to hunt down my white whale(s). Back when Paul was an active E fanboy, he was also an active member on their forum. One day someone posted a teaser picture of awesome looking black and white decks asking if anyone knew any information about them and didn’t even know the name. Turns out they were the Bicycle Cage Garden decks and Paul had to have them. Since Paul believes everyone "drinks the Kool Aid over there", not much else was discussed about the decks since they were non-E so off to the internet he went. One Google search yielded the UnitedCardists forum not only talking about the Cage Gardens but links on where to buy them too . As it turns out one ebay seller had 4 sets priced at $50 then incremented $10 until he sold all four. While he debated spending that much money on two decks, they sold out. Not knowing how valuable they’d become he didn’t regret not buying them at the time, but he sure does kick himself now! He then made the transition from the E forum to UnitedCardists and hasn’t looked back since.

Lastly, Paul has a custom method for displaying his collection. As his collection grew, he was outgrowing his night table draw and wanted a way to display his cards. He then sketched up an idea for a 60 deck hanging shelving unit that he could screw in the wall. Luckily his father is a carpenter who specializes in cabinetry and enjoyed the opportunity to build more than two for him, but as Paul told him at the time, “It will take me forever to fill up these two so don’t bother!” That was back when he had just 75 or so cards. The rest, as they say, is history...five years later he now has 695 unique decks (nearly 900 in total, with a few yet to be added to P52). He built Paul four more cases so he now has a total of six but quite frankly he simply ran out of wall space so many decks are still in shoe boxes. Initially he had experimented with free standing bookshelves due to weight concerns with wall mounted units, but after attaching these units directly to the studs using 4 screws per case they have withstood the test of time. Each shelf in this size case holds 12 decks of cards with 3 inches in width allotted for each deck. The height of each row is 3 ¾ inches. Solid pine was used for top, bottom and side pieces and solid poplar was used for all interior shelving. ¼” plywood was used for the back and attached to the shelves as well as case perimeter. This stiffens the shelves and also is used to hang the case on a wall. Using the guidelines for dimensions above, the cases can be created bigger or smaller to hold all sorts of decks. Paul's units hold 60 total which is a nice size for him.

You can see photos of Paul's custom cases here in Paul's Photobucket account and you can view Vasta41's collection on Portfolio52. Discussion about Paul's collection is also here at UnitedCardists.

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Re: [ --- Portfolio52 Facebook's Featured Collections --- ]

Unread postby ecNate » Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:25 am  


September 2015 Featured Collection: Lydian

Lydian (his handle on forums and P52 is derived from a jazz mode which is a straight major scale with a sharp 4th), got into collecting cards after a YouTube time killing session early in the morning after working a night shift. Living London, UK, where he goes by his real name of Lewis, he stumbled on to "the shape of my heart" routine by Shawn Farquhar. While he was interested in magic since a small lad, nothing came of it and his focus moved to music, until this happenstance brought his interest back to cards. The routine just blew his mind and soon after order a few Bicycle decks, which led him to his current collection and obsession with cards. As he viewed more tutorials, in addition to books like Expert at the Table and more, he found even more lovely decks like the Monarchs and more. Initially his collection consisted of no more than 20 decks, which he thought that was a lot at the time. Now a year later the collections has grown to over 300 (283 unique decks currently listed in Portfolio52). It escalated quickly after 3-4 months when he was averaging 20 decks/week, including some expensive decks. He went through a number of phases of collecting, including KickStarter, Theory11, Illusionist, David Blaine, etc. At the time he did realize it was an expensive hobby, but then he entered the vintage Vegas deck phase when he fully realized the meaning of the word expensive. Since then things have calmed a bit, and unless he really like a modern deck the focus is on the vintage Vegas decks. Instead of buying a bunch of cheaper moderately desired modern decks the savings is instead used to get decks like the pricier Purple Golden Nuggets or Dunes.

A quick glance at his Portfolio52 collection reveals what you would expect from his history, a solid mix of modern decks and vintage casino decks. Some of his favorite decks in the collection include:
  • Altruism decks
  • ? decks because he loves 'I {think} therefore I am'
  • Jerry's Nuggets which handle better with time and loves the history (not to mention the joy of receiving)
  • Black and Gold Golden Nuggets which was rare find for him as he hadn't even heard of this type by Gemaco until he saw them (Lee Asher also confirmed he's only ever seen one other person with them, but he's yet to upload to P52)
  • Whispering Imps Private Reserve Gold because he's always been a fan of these decks and love the simplicity and artwork of the W.Imps
  • Artisans which is probably his first favorite deck when he started collecting due to the finish, box design and the artwork are all fantastic,
  • Aristocrat because he loves the way they handle and Friars because being a jazz pianist and lover of the music himself, appreciates it because it was a club that Frank Sinatra was a member of which is just awesome in itself to him.
  • Lastly, all his other vintage Vegas decks which is the absolute main theme of his collection as it stands now and his pride and joy.

For displaying his collection, Lewis likes elegant playing card boxes, especially those lined with felt, everything from vintage, hand crafted, Japanese puzzle boxes, acrylic frames and boxes (props to the latest creation) and nice stands. This is like another addiction in itself for him, finding nice ways to display his collection. He's also recently acquired some lovely boxes which he'll be posting pictures of soon, probably in a thread of it's own on UnitedCardists as it will be pretty substantial (in terms of variety anyway).

Outside of collecting Lewis is a Jazz Pianist of 18 years now and also teaches and works in a music shop. He studied a jazz piano, receiving a degree at a music conservatoire in London. He loves Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Barry Harris, Art Tatum, Chet Baker, Herbie, Chick, you name it. While loving cards, this is my primary focus as it stands now. Another one of his hobbies is freediving, which isn't cliff diving as you may assume, it's about breath holding while diving in water. He traveled to Thailand for a month to do a freediving course and got my level 2 SSI, reaching a depth of 20 metres. His static breath hold as it stands is 3 minutes 54 seconds.

Additionally, Lewis would like to thank you everyone who has put together the site from it's start as PlayingCardDB to Portfolio52. Necromancer is a really cool member and always been a gentleman to me, a great seller and communicator, since he started on the UC forum.

Lewis still has to add more decks to his collection on Portfolio52, but quickly added a number prior to this feature and hasn't listed all duplicates. He also has an Instagram account full of card photos. Lastly, he also has a number of posts of his collection in the show of your cards section of UnitedCardists, including his own collection thread there.

Lydian's Collection at Portfolio52
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Re: [ --- Portfolio52 Facebook's Featured Collections --- ]

Unread postby Emptysea1229 » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:32 pm  

looney tunes
1998
warner brothers
pictures of looney tunes caracters

looneyfront.jpg

looneyback.jpg
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