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Messages - Don Boyer

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Playing Card Plethora / Re: "Ars Goetia" card game
« on: January 16, 2018, 01:53:40 AM »
I, too, had the same question about who was printing this project when I saw no printer listed in the project description.

The "aged/worn" look is interesting, but I've seen it used and overused so much lately.  Perhaps if you went for something a bit different, something more akin to a woodcut printing?  Maybe even a "sloppy" woodcut printing, with an occasional extraneous drop of ink here and there or an area of an image being smudged a little.

I'd leave out the extra pips on the Aces.  It makes them look more like threes at a glance - the last thing you want to do with a deck of cards is make them easily confused for each other.  One pip in the art and one pip in each of the indices is just fine, the right amount - more than that and it's really not an Ace any more.

I like the overall Gothic look - but I've always been a fan of Sam Hayles/DOSEprod, so that says a lot!  ;)

Playing Card Plethora / Re: Borderless back designs
« on: January 14, 2018, 02:06:03 AM »
I know what you mean - they're the decks that tend to not stand out as much because of the seeming simplicity of the pattern.  Often they form a sort of optical illusion when you spread them, making it hard to tell where one card ends and another begins.  It's one of the reasons why they're a favorite of card sharps and sleight-of-hand artists - it makes certain stunts of pasteboard legerdemain a little easier to get away with!

One that stands out right away is one that I consulted on for the designers - Pagan by Uusi.  It was initially released in brown and ivory backs, then last year a special printing was made with a blue back as a partner deck to their Pagan Otherworlds tarot deck.  I specifically counseled them to size the pattern to match the size of the Bee Diamond Back pattern to better produce that same illusory effect.

Another is a long-standing classic - Steamboats 999 by USPC.  They're not in print now but they're not too hard to find the most recent reprints if you know where to look.  It's a rather attractive pattern, in my opinion.

There's another interesting feature about borderless backs that have a simple, repeating pattern like you described.  They have to be very precisely cut - if not, the resulting pattern can actually be read as a one-way design.

The Conversation Parlor / Re: Question: Dan and Dave old decks
« on: January 13, 2018, 02:38:26 AM »

I think Aces Fulton's Casino Sunset Orange came earlier than Fulton's Chinatown, but are they "rare"? Which one would buy (for almost the original price)?

Thank you!

( If you want me to shoot your decks for free please visit: )

The entire Ace Fulton's Casino series of cards came out AFTER Fulton's Chinatown.  At least, after the original red/orange Fulton's Chinatown.  There was also a yellow/black "Game of Death" version, which was later redesigned as a Bruce Lee commemorative deck - that may have been after the Ace Fulton series.

They're all rare to some degree.  They're all sold out from the original seller - sort of.  While "Dan and Dave" no longer have them, the Art of Play, which is owned by Dan and Dave Buck, has some Fulton's Clip Joint (the original and in my opinion best liked) and some Fulton's October (least liked by a wide margin).

D&D had a hard time selling out the Chinatown decks, as far as I can tell.  It was in stock longer than most of their other decks up to that point.  Of the two, I'd say that among collectors that the Ace Fulton's Casino series was the more popular of the two.

If I recall, there was, in this order:
1) an orange deck and a brown deck with an embossed finish,
2) a more-rare "Midnight Fuel" edition in black, also embossed, and
3) a red and a blue with a smooth finish.

The red and blue were less popular - smooth finishes in general can be less popular due to the differences in handling and feel and by the time they came out (which was after the other three colors did), people were experiencing a little "Fulton's Overkill" on the whole series.

There are also stripped versions of some of the Ace Fulton's decks - I think just the orange and brown.  If the deck seal is a long sticker printed with the image of a stripper dancing on a pole, it's the stripped version, which sold for a significant premium at retail.

The only ones I'd see selling for a significant premium over retail would probably be the Midnight Fuel and the stripper decks.  But collectors don't always buy stripper decks - some get only "straight" decks, not gimmicked decks.  The original Chinatown decks were thought of by many as not even worth original retail - they sell for a small premium above it when you can find them.  The entire Fulton series was nowhere near as popular as the original Smoke and Mirrors decks.

These are clearly imitations - knockoffs, if you will.  I'm thinking they were made utterly without permission, but since they're somewhat modified, it would be hard to win a case of copyright infringement in court - harder still when you factor in that they were printed by a Chinese company, making it pretty much impossible that the printers would ever see the inside of an American courtroom, aside from movies and television.  I'm told that Chinese law makes it nearly impossible for foreigners overseas to sue Chinese nationals while they're residing on Chinese soil.  Theoretically, the Chinese government outlaws copyright and trademark violations, but their efforts in that respect are about on par with a few wine corks and some spackling compound plugging the San Andreas Fault to stop earthquakes.

All I can say is that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so T11 should be flattered.  I can practically guarantee you that they weren't made with the permission of anyone involved with the creation of the Artisan design, right down to the janitor who sweeps the floor in the stock room.

Playing Card Plethora / Re: The Royal Wilds Deck - Live on Kickstarter!
« on: January 06, 2018, 06:53:03 AM »
Welcome, Robinson!

I have to say that your deck isn't my personal choice, but having said that, I recognize that it's really well done, highly thought-out and a worthwhile deck to see out there.  My biggest wish would have been that you made it in color - your images practically scream out for a full-color treatment.  You may also hear a few people wishing you'd done a two-way design for the back (many collectors and players prefer them and they tend to sell better), but I recognize that you were looking for something to fit with your theme and your back design does that well.

Introduce Yourself / Re: Mahdi The Magician
« on: January 06, 2018, 06:49:04 AM »
Hi everyone,

I'm Mahdi Gilbert and perform under "Mahdi The Magician". I've been involved in the magic world for a few years, specifically in the realm of close-up card magic and have been working on designing my own deck of playing cards, Hidden Leaves for about a year now.

I thought I would introduce myself here and say hello. Nice to join this forum!


Welcome, Mahdi!  Hopefully you remember me - we met a few times at CARC.

I'm glad to see you here.  Make yourself at home and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Introduce Yourself / Re: Hi I have a question
« on: January 06, 2018, 06:46:26 AM »
Almost forgot to mention - you were unsure about what a cardist is.

Cardistry is the art of flourishing and card manipulation.  Have you ever watched an old-school magician or even a young kid performing and they did some really wild-looking cuts and spreads and fans and such between tricks?  Cardistry separates all those flourishes and makes them into an art form independent of magic.  Cardists are people who perform cardistry.

Design & Development / Re: HIDDEN LEAVES - PLAYING CARDS
« on: January 06, 2018, 06:42:48 AM »
Hey, Mahdi!  Great to see you here!

I'm also looking forward to seeing this deck's release.  Keep us posted!

A Cellar of Fine Vintages / Re: Ask the Experts at 52 Plus Joker
« on: January 06, 2018, 06:39:26 AM »
I have wrote to the Cartamundi support with question about marlboro deck rarity and price. And they answered me today:

"It looks like a promotional order we once made for Marlboro Ö it is forbidden for cigarette companies to make advertisement with their logo on playing cards.
So I donít have any information on this projects.
And because this is promotional deck that mean I canít estimate any retail price for it ☹ this product was given a way gadget for free.

So definitely this is an collectable item but value of it can tell only a collationer of such items. I canít help in this matter sorry."

So, i will be really grateful if anyone can give me a clue, how can i find marlboro cards collectors, or how can i estimate this deck.

Similar laws were passed in the US restricting heavily where and how a tobacco company can advertise their products.  That will make such decks all that more collectible.  Just make sure that older decks aren't prohibited by any laws in your country!  I'm just guessing, but it's not impossible that such a law could have been made retroactive - I've seen and heard of crazier things.

Introduce Yourself / Re: I'm a Playing Cards Photographer! :D
« on: January 02, 2018, 02:38:01 AM »
Welcome to the forum - we're glad to have you here.  If you poke around here enough, you're likely to find people who'd be interested in having their decks professionally photographed - good luck.

A Cellar of Fine Vintages / Re: Help Identifying Older Playing Cards
« on: January 02, 2018, 02:33:47 AM »
You don't see DeLand decks with the Arrco faces very often these days.  It's a good find!  The DeLand decks are a bit impractical for most serious magicians, but when I was a kid, kids liked playing around with them.  For a while, Arrco was printing DeLand's decks, then I believe USPC was making them with USPC standard faces (probably around the time that USPC bought Arrco), and now I have no idea who's making them but I don't think it's a major card printer - could be some inexpensive Asian shop doing the work.

The SS Adams Company was bought out by Magic Makers, Inc., which is still around and makes many gimmicked decks as well as reprints of Bicycle Rider Backs in a variety of colors/styles.  While I don't see them often, this deck was also made in a red-backed version.

A Cellar of Fine Vintages / Re: WWII Steamboat 999
« on: January 02, 2018, 02:27:44 AM »
Thank you! I will post some pictures later today. I tried posting through the forum but it isn't working so I will need to use another site.

The most likely reason for the problem you were having is file size.  We have a cap of 1000 Kb per photo, 5 photos per post.  It's one of the things we'll be reviewing when we look to upgrading/modernizing the site.

I did post some links to the pictures that same day. Did the post go through?

It did, and I've examined your photos.  It is indeed the 1945 deck, to the best of my ability to tell.  Everything about it is indicative of that year's issue.  Your box is in surprisingly decent shape - the box will typically wear out and get discarded long before the cards.  The only thing that I can think of that would have "sealed the deal" in terms of being 100% conclusive would have been an intact if broken tax stamp, but they often fall off over the years.

A Cellar of Fine Vintages / Re: WWII Steamboat 999
« on: January 01, 2018, 06:56:11 AM »
Thank you! I will post some pictures later today. I tried posting through the forum but it isn't working so I will need to use another site.

The most likely reason for the problem you were having is file size.  We have a cap of 1000 Kb per photo, 5 photos per post.  It's one of the things we'll be reviewing when we look to upgrading/modernizing the site.

A Cellar of Fine Vintages / Re: WWII Steamboat 999
« on: December 26, 2017, 01:47:45 AM »
I got a deck of Steamboat 999s for Christmas that are supposedly from World War II. They even come with a war bond ad card and they even have a double sided blank card. I would love to find out if these are legit but all my Google searches have led me no where and I don't know how to research these. Is there anyone that can help me out? There is a serial number under the Ace of Spades that reads either G1101 or GI101 I'm not sure which.

Could you provide some photos of the deck?  It would be helpful to see:
- the box (or what's left of it, as they often don't outlast the cards), especially if the tax stamp/deck seal is still at least partially intact
- the Ace of Spades
- the Jokers
- the ad card
- a few court cards

With that, I can try to give you a clearer picture of the deck's age.

With what you've given so far, the Ace of Spades code is almost certainly "G1101" - a typical AoS code used in most of the 20th century was a single letter followed by a four-digit number.  G-series codes were used on decks made in the following years: 1904, 1925, 1945, 1965, 1985 and 2005.  As you mentioned that the ad card mentioned war bonds for sale, it's most likely a deck from 1945, but having more information would help confirm that.

Interesting bit of trivia: the Ace of Spades production codes began being used by USPC in 1904, so the G-series was the first to be produced.

My source for the AoS code data is - I helped Lee update some of the information there.

Introduce Yourself / Re: Hi I have a question
« on: December 25, 2017, 02:33:59 AM »
There are a few communities online that are dedicated to gaming in general.  Many such sites include sections for card games, both with standard and non-standard decks.

Best of luck to you!

Hi again,
I am wanting to buy a Bicycle US8 full color joker. Please PM if willing to sell.
Thanks, Mike

Hey, Mike - this is the STISO board for modern decks; anything less than 20 years old.  I noticed you posted in Aces and Eights as well - that's the place to look for vintage and antique decks.

The Conversation Parlor / Re: What do you think? Is this faulty?
« on: December 25, 2017, 02:30:22 AM »
I was buy the karnival death heads armour edition deck, and i think is this faulty but i'm not sure. What do you think?

I've purchased a few Death Heads Armour Edition.  There were a few decks that had printing flaws, but I've never had a problem getting them exchanged for decks without the defects.

A Cellar of Fine Vintages / Re: Ask the Experts at 52 Plus Joker
« on: December 25, 2017, 02:28:51 AM »
Hi guys.
I have the 20-year old(as i'm) marlboro deck, 52 cards, without box or jokers. And i want to estimate deck price and rarity. I can't find any clue in the internet, so, may be someone can tell me anything about it.
Deck condition is rather shabby, i've played with this cards from my childhood.

I'd be hard pressed to give you a firm value on that one.  It's a European deck, something I'm not as familiar with.  Four indices, one in each corner, tends to be the first giveaway in most cases.  Also, with "Made in Belgium" on the Ace of Spades, there's a good chance the deck was printed by Cartamundi.  They print all over the world, but their HQ is in Turnhout.  The spade design on the Ace looks to me like a Cartamundi Ace of Spades.

I can tell you that there's value to it for both card collectors AND for cigarette memorabilia collectors, so that will bump the value up just a wee bit.  But factoring in the condition of the deck, I wouldn't count on it being worth a lot, unless it was exceptionally rare and sought-after.  That can happen with advertising decks now and then - made in limited numbers, distributed, then quickly forgotten by the company that commissioned them to be printed.

Playing Card Plethora / Re: Best Marked deck of 2014
« on: December 11, 2017, 01:35:43 AM »
I realize that this is an older thread, but seeing as the Sharps deck was the winner of this award, is there a place where I can find more about its marking system, or someone who can tell me more about it?

I am aware that it uses shades, but needs some help with the specifics.

In most marking systems, they work as the name would imply - there are marks somewhere on the back of the playing card that will indicate what's printed on the front.  These might be additive marks, like someone coloring in a blank space or drawing a line or a dot, or they might be subtractive, like someone scratching a line or a dot into a field of color to reveal the white paper underneath.  There are also the easy-to-use "reader" decks, so called because they use simple, easy-to-read symbols rather than a concealed code of some kind - for example, in a regular marked deck, a King of Diamonds might have a specific set of dots or scrawls concealed somewhere in the back design, unknowable without knowing what the legend of the deck is, while in a reader deck, a King of Diamonds might have a "K" and either a "D" or a diamond symbol printed somewhere on the back, so the person using the deck only needs to know letters, numbers and symbols and not some arcane code.  Readers tend to be more easily detected but are also far easier to use.

The way a shade system typically works, all the cards are still printed "identically" in terms of the pattern on the back - the shapes, lines, etc.  The difference is that certain parts of the pattern are altered in terms of slight changes in the shade of a color used to print them.  It's meant to be very subtle but still readable to anyone who knows where and how to look.  You can't use a shade system to create a "reader" deck, and in order to be read, you have to know the legend for how it's marked, but they're among the hardest marking systems to spot, not counting decks employing things like UV inks or daubs, RFID chips, etc.

In this way, it shares a certain amount in common with modern steganography, a practice of hiding a message in a digital image.  They way that works is that you take your message, usually already encrypted for privacy, and determine the exact length of the string of bits (individual ones and zeros) needed to convey that message.  You find a digital image, typically a photograph, that has at least the same number of pixels (acronym for "picture element," the smallest part of a digital image), and you change the least-significant bit, typically the last bit, using a particular formula.  In a picture with 32-bit pixels, the color change is a difference of Ĺ^32 - you're making that pixel one 4,294,067,266th closer to either brightest red or darkest violet in the color spectrum.  To the naked eye, that's truly undetectable.  To a computer, it's easily spotted, especially if the person using the computer has a copy of the original photo with which to compare the one concealing the steganographic message.

But back to my point - it's a change not in the overall shape of the back pattern, but in the coloration of the pattern, making it a far more subtle form of marking and tougher to spot.  A riffle test may or may not reveal it, depending on just how big a change the shade is.

Hi, Mike!
I may have some decks that might suit your purposes but I do not know how to "PM" anyone. Is there another way to contact you? Thank you!

Hey, Toby,

"PM" is shorthand for "private message" or "personal message."  To PM someone, click on their screen name in the column to the left of their message to see their profile, then scroll down to the "Contact Me" section and click on the link "Send this member a personal message."  It's like email but sent only through the forum, though members do receive email notifications of new PMs waiting for them, unless of course they've opted out of receiving notifications or changed email addresses and didn't update their profile.

Introduce Yourself / Re: How did you find PlayingCardForum?
« on: December 06, 2017, 01:00:39 AM »
I had found club 808 through a friend and had ordered some decks. Iíve always been a fan of forums for learning and figured there had to be one based on cards. Did a google search and ended up here.

Glad you found us.  We're not the only forum out there for playing cards, but we're probably the largest, and the only official forum of 52 Plus Joker - North America's premier society of playing card collectors.  If you have any questions, please, feel free to ask.

Introduce Yourself / Re: I must have been living under a rock....
« on: December 06, 2017, 12:56:53 AM »
I call home, London.

1,800 decks! Where do you put them all! LOL!
I was bitten by the bug a while ago, I've just managed to keep it under tight control. If I didn't I'd probably be broke by now. ;) But I do look forward to reading the topics here. It will probably help me focus on what decks will make my collection more robust, but still keep it under control.

Where do I put them?  Well...

There are these boxes that sports memorabilia shops sell for holding baseball and other sports cards - I've seen CCG players use them as well.  A "super monster" box has five columns in it, each holding a thousand baseball cards.  For typical decks of average size and thickness, a single super monster box holds 125 decks.  I have a stack of them in my bedroom, holding all my still-sealed copies.  About ten of them are filled to max capacity, with perhaps one part-full and two still empty.

For the open decks, I have these stackable drawer units from Staples - I got the idea from Kevin Reylek, a magician and card guy who works over at Penguin Magic these days, but when I met him, he was still with the Blue Crown.  They're plastic and have these stops on the sides of the drawers to keep them from accidentally sliding out.  A single-height drawer holds about 45 decks, and double-height drawers hold far more than twice as much, though they're better suited for larger items like boxed sets.  I have four drawer units - two are 12 single-height drawers each, two are 10 singles and two doubles each.  There's still plenty of capacity left, but they're filling up fast.

I still have to get through resorting the entire collection at some point.  It's completely disorganized, beyond having sealed decks in one place and open decks in another.  But in its present state, it takes up not quite an entire wall in my bedroom, so that's not so bad, really, especially when you consider that my wife and I have a four-bedroom apartment.

Another Ontarian here. Iím from Burlington, have lots of friends that live out in London.

Welcome aboard, Buttons!

I got a look at them.

Good luck.  You'll need it.

Introduce Yourself / Re: How did you find PlayingCardForum?
« on: December 05, 2017, 06:48:02 AM »
I'm at work, wearing my CF-18 Canada 150 shirt, when one of my coworkers says, "Love your shirt!" (He's a plane enthusiast.) I told him I bought it in Ottawa on July 1st (2017), at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. I also told him I bought a nice deck of cards there as well, and that the deck had a different plane on each card. He said, "Cool." I told him I collect cards and that I have over 175 decks. He said, "I didn't know you collected playing cards." I said, yup! I then told him that I'm now looking to buy older decks. He then tells me about decks that were made during the war. The decks had plane identification symbols on them so that the guys could learn them and still have something to pass the time with. I thought that was really cool! So I did a Google search for them. I found many images, but one caught my eye and I clicked on the link to it's host website ... and I got this forum! LOL!

Interesting story!

The kind of deck you're thinking of is called a "spotter deck."  They were pretty common in World War II, less so going into the Korean War, and I don't think they were still making them by the time the Vietnam War was being fought.  They made them for ships at sea as well as for aircraft.  The basic idea was that with all these new recruits going off to war, playing cards were a common pastime that fit in a shirt pocket, ideal for someone on deployment, so why not make packs that educated them as well as entertained them?  You played with them often enough, you got to learn the silhouettes of the common enemy and Allied crafts without even thinking about it.

Welcome to the club!

Introduce Yourself / Re: I must have been living under a rock....
« on: December 05, 2017, 06:42:09 AM »
I've been collecting cards for over 20 years. I have no idea when or why it turned into a hobby/collection for me, but it did! I have over 175 decks! A few are tarot cards and specific game cards (like UNO). I'm now trying to find old/vintage cards, or at least ones that mimic them.

I'm from Southwestern Ontario, Canada, and calling me JennK is perfectly fine. :)

Hell, JennK!  You're in good company - a fair number of our membership is from the same general neck of the woods, including Torontonian, Magician and 52 Plus Joker Club President Lee Asher.  I'm not from there myself, hailing from the New York City Metro area, but my mother's family does hail from Quebec.

I'm glad you found us.  Sounds like you have a tidy little collection there.  Please, look around, get comfortable and feel free to ask questions.  Hopefully you won't get bitten by the collecting bug quite as hard as I was - I've been at it for nearly seven years and I estimate my collection is about 1,800 decks, in about 800 or so different varieties!  I've slowed down a bit out of necessity, but there's always new and tempting decks passing by that are hard to resist.

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