What’s in a Deck

What’s in a deck?

by Alex J Coyne. © 2016 Great Bridge Links

There are more to playing cards than just Bicycle, and to the serious card enthusiast (that would be you!) your personal deck becomes an extension of yourself when you’re playing cards, doing card tricks or reading fortunes.

Here are some things about playing cards you might not have known about – it could make for great trivia next time it’s your turn to host the party!

The oldest deck

The oldest known card deck is the Flemish Hunting deck (or the Hofjager Hunting pack). Each card was painted by hand with gold and silver highlighting, featuring four suits a little different than the ones we use today: nooses, tethers, collars and horns. The suits we know only evolved some time later – eventually being standardized by a combined effort from the French, and then the English to hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades.

This historical piece is currently housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, USA, who paid $143, 000 to obtain it. Thankfully, if you’d like to own a set yourself, all you have to do is go online and buy a reproduction.

Protecting your cards

Of course you want to keep your cards in great shape, but this is easier said than done – especially when decks are used regularly or passed around between friends. Here’s how to make sure your decks last a lifetime:

  1. Moisture is the greatest enemy to your decks: Wet surfaces, humidity in the air and even dirt or sweat from players’ hands can be highly damaging. If your decks are especially valuable, you might want to watch the room’s humidity levels by purchasing a humidity meter.
  2. Keep your cards away from high-temperature areas – heat, just as easily as moisture, can cause decks to lose their freshness or cards to start warping.
  3. Clean your cards carefully with a soft brush, or enclose them in a bag with a dry substance like flour or talcum powder and shake: Carefully wipe each card afterwards. And, it kind of goes without saying that your cards should be handled with clean hands – and no, there’s nothing wrong with asking fellow players to wipe their hands first.
  4. Consider purchasing a card bag or box to keep your cards in when they’re not in use: This makes for easy storage, and there are some really beautiful and ornate card boxes available that’ll turn heads whenever you’re getting your decks out. You can find some amazing card boxes on our sister site giftsforcardplayers.com

Get your own!

If simply buying a deck isn’t enough for you, you can create your own. Software like Nandeck (which can be found over at www.nand.it) is specially created with the card designer in mind, and it’s a great help for designing a deck with your own personal touch.

Try Make Playing Cards.com (makeplayingcards.com/) to have your own deck of cards printed according to your needs and specifications. These are great for getting your custom-designed deck out there, or maybe you want to create a special deck for an upcoming party, anniversary, birthday or other occasion.


About the author: Alex J Coyne is a freelance journalist, author and language practitioner. Sometimes, he’s got an ace up his sleeve and a Joker in his hat. He can be found at his blog. alexcoyneofficial.wordpress.com