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What Is the Value of an Opened Deck?

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What Is the Value of an Opened Deck?
« on: August 25, 2015, 11:04:43 AM »

Don Boyer

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I recently received a PM from member "smithesque" with a very good question.

Hey Mr. Boyer, I didn't want to clog the message boards with this quick question: is there any real market for opened or gently used playing cards, or are those decks basically worthless in terms of $?

My response to him is worthwhile enough for everyone to read, so with his permission, I present it to you here.

Yours is a perfectly fine question for the boards.  Never feel afraid to ask a question there.  We're not going to ridicule you - we were all new to this hobby once, so we understand how you feel and want you to be comfortable.  OK?  :))  With your permission, I'd like to make a topic for your question and my answer - you can't possibly be the only person asking!  (It's the biggest reason why these questions are best asked in the boards; it adds to our knowledge base.)

Open decks do indeed have a value.  It's understandably less than a new, sealed deck, but there's a value there nonetheless.  Some people don't mind getting open packs if for no other reason than they planned to open it anyway.  Some like getting the bargain if the deck is still in good shape.  You even run into the odd situation where a damaged deck has some small - perhaps I have an open pack of Brand X, but my Ace of Clubs is bent or torn and yours is just fine but you have a torn tuck box or a missing Queen of Whatever (you get the idea).

When it comes to vintage decks, the majority of the decks on the market are opened packs.  Playing cards, for the most part, are ephemera, which is defined as a product or item that was meant to be used up and disposed of, never meant to last for a long time.  You're far more likely to run into an opened vintage deck than a sealed one.  It doesn't mean they're worthless.

In general, vintage decks in perfect shape but open are the next best thing to having a sealed deck - and you get to look at the cards, too!  They retain value nicely.  The condition is key - the worse the condition of the deck, the lower the value.  And interestingly enough, tuck boxes are NOT mandatory for a decent valuation, though it can certainly help.  Tuck boxes tend to fall apart faster than the cards themselves, and for antique decks, some never came in tucks at all - they were sold in a paper wrapper.  The wrappers rarely last - the few existing examples are of notable value.

For modern decks, it's a bit different.  Intact everything is best.  A rare, valuable deck in "open box" condition will retain a fair amount of its full after-market value and will be worth more than original retail in most cases.  However, a more common deck or a less valuable one will not retain as much value - it won't be valueless, but will almost certain be worth less than current retail (or for decks not in print, less than prevailing market value).

There's a parallel to this in the vintage market - of all the Bicycle decks on the market, the one least likely to have a strong market value is the Bicycle Rider Back.  It can be a hundred-year-old example of the deck, but it will be worth less than a comparable Bicycle deck (same age and condition) with almost any other back design.  The reason is that they're very common, having been printed in the billions if not trillions over the years!  If you find a random vintage Bicycle deck out in the wild or on sale on eBay, there's practically a better-than-even chance it's going to be a Rider Back!
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Re: What Is the Value of an Opened Deck?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2015, 12:33:34 AM »

Rob Wright

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The most valuable deck I own is open. In fact it doesn't have a tuck at all. It's also 130 years old. If anybody thinks that modern decks are expensive to collect. Just wait until you start collecting vintage decks.

As far as the question at hand. When we talk about the value of open vs. closed decks, usually we are talking about modern decks. In general an open deck is always going to be worth considerably less than an original like new deck. . That doesn't mean that it's not worth some money though. Example- I have an sealed unbranded black Reserve Note deck from Jackson's 2nd Fed 52 project. They are still selling for well over $100 now. I was able to pick up a 2nd signed opened one for a very reasonable price. If I was to sell it. I would take no less than $75 for it, and I would get it. Not selling it though.

It all really boils down to each individual deck. If the deck did really well when it was new, and is still expensive/rare as a sealed deck. then people will pay a small premium to get a used deck, just to say they have one. In general any deck I can buy new for under $20, I'm not going to buy used. Unless I'm buying it to have as a second.
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