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Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages

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Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« on: December 21, 2013, 01:57:38 PM »
 

52plusjoker

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Welcome one and all to The Cellar of Fine Vintages, a meeting ground for those interested in learning more about, and sharing their knowledge in, vintage and antique playing cards.

The collectors of playing cards seem, at present, to fit into two distinct groups.  There are those whose main interest is collecting older cards; and those whose primary interest is collecting new, non-standard cards – particularly those emanating from the plethora of young designers who have realized that the modern computer gives them the tools to create wondrous new designs with a degree of precision that was not available only a generation ago.  To be sure, there is some overlap between these collectors, but the majority at the moment lean either one way or the other rather than both.

This latter, more tech-oriented group also realized that the sharing of information about their hobby was easily accomplished through the Internet – discussion forums, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.  To a large extent, the collectors of vintage and antique cards, being an older crowd, pass over these tools for learning and communicating about their interests, preferring their generation's methods such as the telephone, the fax machine and the printed newsletter.  They knew what they were familiar with and were comfortable with it.

Being one of the former type of collector, but having been exposed to some of the joys of the latter group, it dawned on me that each group had much to offer the other.  Additionally, younger, more modern collectors have begun showing more interest in the classic designs of yesteryear, just as vintage card men such as I have begun to take notice of the artistry in some of the finer examples of the latest breed of custom playing cards.

A light bulb turned on – I saw an opportunity to "bridge the gap", to enable more communication between these groups.  This was my main motivation for acquiring The Discourse when it became available.  I realized it could be used a nexus for both groups to intermingle and "cross-pollinate" each other's interests, as well as providing a simple platform that can motivate the older collectors to give the newer communication tools a try.

The Cellar of Fine Vintages is a start.  We have seeded the message board with many of the existing posts that we believe more properly belong here.  We are fortunate to have a great moderator in Jonathan Rock, a member of both the Discourse and the 52 Plus Joker Club.  You can bet that Judy and I, and slowly more and more of the "dinosaurs" from our world, will be here often to add content, to share our information and experiences and to answers questions from those seeking to expand their horizons.  Rest assured, fellow dinosaurs, that you will find, as I have, a warm welcome from the membership of the Discourse, eager to learn from you and to offer you help when you need it.  I look forward to many wonderful conversations here with all of you!

Tom
« Last Edit: December 22, 2013, 11:16:05 PM by Don Boyer »
Tom Dawson
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Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2013, 03:41:08 PM »
 

jmrock

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I wanted to take the time to thank Tom, Judy, Lee, & Don for their vote of confidence.  As many of you know, I do collect many modern decks.  However, my true passion lies with Vintage Playing Cards.  I feel fortunate to have been chosen to moderate the Vintage Section of the forum.  I especially feel honored to moderate this topic knowing this is the Dawsons' area of interest and expertise.  I rest well knowing that the current owner of the forum quite literally 'wrote the book' on Vintage American Playing Cards.  I look forward to sharing and learning more than ever about a topic that I hold so dear to my heart…
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2013, 09:15:57 PM »
 

Don Boyer

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First, my thoughts and those of my family go out to the Dawsons, the Ashers and anyone else from the Discourse or 52 Plus Joker who is braving the aftereffects of the storm which has blown through the Toronto area, leaving many without power for the immediate future.  I hope that you manage to recover swiftly with a minimum of fuss and bother.

I don't think I could put this board into finer hands than those of Jonathan Rock.  As a member of the 52 Plus Joker Club, he's accumulated one impressive collection of vintage playing cards and as a member of the Discourse he's impressed us with his knowledge of those cards - as well as some impressive photos of them!  Between Lee, Tom and me, he was the unanimous choice and with good reason.

There's little more I can say that hasn't already been said, so - for a change - I'm going to keep this short and welcome everyone to our newest board, A Cellar of Fine Vintages!
« Last Edit: December 22, 2013, 09:22:47 PM by Don Boyer »
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Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2013, 10:47:55 PM »
 

HandSkillz

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As a relatively new collector, this is very very exciting to me!! One  thing I think would be useful would be for a few of you guys to post your vintage collections, or at least some of the gems, and give details on the individual decks (pics please!!).
Starting to get better...have to stay dedicated...can't lose any more cards in the middle of a trick.  Literally, completely lost a card.
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2013, 11:18:31 PM »
 

Don Boyer

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As a relatively new collector, this is very very exciting to me!! One  thing I think would be useful would be for a few of you guys to post your vintage collections, or at least some of the gems, and give details on the individual decks (pics please!!).

All in due time!  Tom and Lee may be offline for a few days due to the storm in Toronto taking out power for a number of people out there.

Jon, having a "Post Your New Vintage Decks" topic is actually a killer idea.  Ain't nothing like making people drool...  :))
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Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2013, 12:47:39 AM »
 

Anthony

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1st off Gratz to Jonathan on his new role, well deserved!

Also being one of the newer collectors, while I have found great appreciation and fondness with modern custom decks, as a collector I've always added a vintage section to my collection as I learned more about it. Needless to say, Discourse is in the enviable position to have some fantastic people to learn from and this is very, very exciting.

Kudos to everyone on expanding an already information filled site, really excited about how well rounded Discourse is shaping up to be in the future for collectors from every angle of playing card world.
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2013, 01:44:07 AM »
 

jmrock

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Thought I'd post a sort of welcome advertisement that I find apropos...  It's from 1886 advertising United States Playing Cards - Russell & Morgan Printing Co…  I recently had it framed… It reads as follows, "Marble and mirrors and gilded hall; The great and fortunate gather around.  Fortunes change hands here - some appall. Some are flushed with success they found..."  The piece also features the tiger from Russell & Morgan's first deck of playing cards… I get a kick out of the text because this is how I feel while hunting for Vintage Decks… I hope you all get to experience feeling flushed with success you've found… 
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2013, 01:49:22 AM »
 

Don Boyer

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That's a very cool piece, Jon!  Awesome way to kick things off.
Card Illusionist, NYC Area — Playing Card Design & Development Consultant
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Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. — Mark Twain
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2013, 02:17:17 AM »
 

JacksonRobinson

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Awesome! I'm gonna get nice and cozy hear. Thanks guys!
Jackson Robinson
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Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2013, 11:47:14 AM »
 

10ofclubs

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I'm really excited for this. I love vintage decks even though I can't buy many of them. I love learning about the decks, particularly ones that came out when the printing companies first popped up, and about how the cards tie into history.

I'm also on board for seeing your guys' collections. I've been curious about yours a long time jmrock!
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2013, 07:13:34 PM »
 

speedyy400

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Since I know absolutely nothing when it comes to vintage cards, does anybody know a place on the internet where we can search them? Say I come across a vintage deck on Ebay or Amazon, and I want to check for what it actually is and what it is worth, is there somewhere I can go.

I am certainly looking forward to learning a ton about these older decks and seeing the decks that people have amassed over the years :D
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2013, 07:41:22 PM »
 

jmrock

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At risk of sounding cliche… A deck's worth what someone is willing to pay for it… Vintage decks that one year ago fetched $130 sold a few weeks back for $40… And vice versa… The market is constantly fluctuating and demand for a particular item dictates price… You should not really be collecting to make $… If you happen to, then that's great, but the value of a deck is what it's worth to you… Regardless of "current market value" people have paid two or three times what the market dictates… It all depends on the how badly a collector wants a specific deck… I'm sure everyone here knows the feeling of opening that box and taking out that deck for which you paid a premium, but couldn't be happier… Even better when you paid pennies on the dollar…  8)...
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2013, 07:49:05 PM »
 

speedyy400

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I have been told that multiple times here jmrock but thank you. I do not collect cards to make money. I am a relatively new collector. The reason I ask is that if/when I do start collecting vintage decks, I would rather have an idea what the going rate is for a deck of cards than pay extra for a deck I can get cheaper. Also it would be nice to see information on the cards and if they are actually a good deck of cards. As a college student, I probably won't be paying high price for cards anytime soon but it is always a thought in the back of my mind =)
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2013, 08:33:30 PM »
 

52plusjoker

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I have been told that multiple times here jmrock but thank you. I do not collect cards to make money. I am a relatively new collector. The reason I ask is that if/when I do start collecting vintage decks, I would rather have an idea what the going rate is for a deck of cards than pay extra for a deck I can get cheaper. Also it would be nice to see information on the cards and if they are actually a good deck of cards. As a college student, I probably won't be paying high price for cards anytime soon but it is always a thought in the back of my mind =)

Always happy to try and give you an idea of market for a particular deck. If American vintage/antique it is likely in the Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards. There is a supplement to the Encyclopedia with a price guide therein.
Tom Dawson
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Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2013, 01:42:27 AM »
 

Don Boyer

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I have been told that multiple times here jmrock but thank you. I do not collect cards to make money. I am a relatively new collector. The reason I ask is that if/when I do start collecting vintage decks, I would rather have an idea what the going rate is for a deck of cards than pay extra for a deck I can get cheaper. Also it would be nice to see information on the cards and if they are actually a good deck of cards. As a college student, I probably won't be paying high price for cards anytime soon but it is always a thought in the back of my mind =)

Always happy to try and give you an idea of market for a particular deck. If American vintage/antique it is likely in the Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards. There is a supplement to the Encyclopedia with a price guide therein.

Very true - speedyy400, you should get those two books.  Nearly every deck of cards printed from the dawn of the nation up to 1950 will be located in those two tomes.  You find one that isn't, you better show Tom!  :))

Also, if you want to learn what the present market rate is for something, there's no single source that will tell you the whole picture.  I get it - you're thinking that as you're new to the hobby and on a budget, you want to get cards for something below the top-dollar price whenever you can.  Bargains do indeed show up now and then - but you have to do the research to know what's a bargain and what isn't.

I get a good rule of thumb by checking recently completed auctions on eBay, NOT the currently active ones that haven't closed.  People can ask for the sun, moon and stars - it doesn't mean they'll actually get that when the sale ends.  Look over the more recent sales, nothing that's too old unless the item simply hasn't been offered much in recent months, and from there you can get a ballpark figure of what they've been going for recently.  Armed with that knowledge, you can negotiate with a seller to get a decent price, spot a bargain, etc.

If that sounds like there's some work involved - well, there is!  It's a vital part of the hobby.  It's hard to trust any single resource to have the most recent and accurate information.  If I made a website for recent sales of vintage decks, how would you know how accurate or current it is?  The answer is, you wouldn't, not unless you did the research yourself, thus precluding the need for such a site in the first place.
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Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. — Mark Twain
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2013, 11:09:59 AM »
 

52plusjoker

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I have been told that multiple times here jmrock but thank you. I do not collect cards to make money. I am a relatively new collector. The reason I ask is that if/when I do start collecting vintage decks, I would rather have an idea what the going rate is for a deck of cards than pay extra for a deck I can get cheaper. Also it would be nice to see information on the cards and if they are actually a good deck of cards. As a college student, I probably won't be paying high price for cards anytime soon but it is always a thought in the back of my mind =)

Always happy to try and give you an idea of market for a particular deck. If American vintage/antique it is likely in the Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards. There is a supplement to the Encyclopedia with a price guide therein.

Very true - speedyy400, you should get those two books.  Nearly every deck of cards printed from the dawn of the nation up to 1950 will be located in those two tomes.  You find one that isn't, you better show Tom!  :))

Also, if you want to learn what the present market rate is for something, there's no single source that will tell you the whole picture.  I get it - you're thinking that as you're new to the hobby and on a budget, you want to get cards for something below the top-dollar price whenever you can.  Bargains do indeed show up now and then - but you have to do the research to know what's a bargain and what isn't.

I get a good rule of thumb by checking recently completed auctions on eBay, NOT the currently active ones that haven't closed.  People can ask for the sun, moon and stars - it doesn't mean they'll actually get that when the sale ends.  Look over the more recent sales, nothing that's too old unless the item simply hasn't been offered much in recent months, and from there you can get a ballpark figure of what they've been going for recently.  Armed with that knowledge, you can negotiate with a seller to get a decent price, spot a bargain, etc.

If that sounds like there's some work involved - well, there is!  It's a vital part of the hobby.  It's hard to trust any single resource to have the most recent and accurate information.  If I made a website for recent sales of vintage decks, how would you know how accurate or current it is?  The answer is, you wouldn't, not unless you did the research yourself, thus precluding the need for such a site in the first place.

Good points Don. In the 1950's and 60's there was a famous collector/dealer who published a price guide. It was a great price guide if you were a buyer. Prices were ridiculously low but dealers at antique shows, paper shows, etc. had no idea so fell for his strategy [he was the big buyer]. Now days info moves so quickly one couldn't get away with it anymore. Finally, our Price Guide is legit - only caveat is it is several years old now and some things have increased [the best stuff] and some decreased as the market has become a bit saturated for certain classes of decks.
Tom Dawson
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Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2013, 06:37:06 PM »
 

speedyy400

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Tom and Don,

I appreciate the comments and offering the knowledge you guys have amassed. I may look into getting those books in the near future, but I am certainly in no rush. I think the comments you have shared Don are very accurate. I enjoy the work involved in this hobby because it teaches you more than sitting back and just clicking the purchase button. I definitely like how much information is accesible instantly Tom. I would hate to pay 3x the price for something, only to realized I was scammed. I guess that is another part of the learning curve right?

Ryan
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2013, 07:14:12 PM »
 

jmrock

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Ryan… I hear you loud and clear... I will tell you a short story… Last year I purchased a Santa Back Set of playing cards for over one hundred dollars… They were not available and this is a set that I had to have… I still love this set… Fast forward one short year later and they are popping up all over the place for $40 - $60… So I employed a method used when buying stocks called 'dollar cost averaging' and picked up a second set for forty dollars… So you could now say that I own both sets for seventy dollars… But the point I'm getting at is I literally paid almost three times more for the very same set a short while ago, but I am not  at all disturbed by this...  In fact, I am completely happy having purchased them for the hundred+, given they completed an essential part of my collection and I liked them enough that price was a secondary concern… So yes, don't overpay what current market value dictates, and as Don pointed out, this can be easily checked by looking at the sold listings on eBay… However, when dealing with unique  and vintage items, realize that this may be your one opportunity to purchase them, period... So feel free to get a little nuts, just not to the point where it takes food off your table…
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2013, 07:52:45 PM »
 

52plusjoker

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Tom and Don,

I appreciate the comments and offering the knowledge you guys have amassed. I may look into getting those books in the near future, but I am certainly in no rush. I think the comments you have shared Don are very accurate. I enjoy the work involved in this hobby because it teaches you more than sitting back and just clicking the purchase button. I definitely like how much information is accesible instantly Tom. I would hate to pay 3x the price for something, only to realized I was scammed. I guess that is another part of the learning curve right?

Ryan

Ryan
We all make mistakes and pay too much on occasion.  As we learn, we make fewer mistakes - but 40 years older and wiser since my first Antique deck, I'll still make a foolish buy once in a while. What I have learned is that if something is old, and I want it, and seems too pricey - I still should buy it. Why? Because when I have, in the long run it appreciates if it is in fine condition and scarce.

The other side of all this is that we get lots of items at less than fair value over the years. That pays for our mistakes! In the extreme, we once bought a Murphy Varnish transformation for $20 and sold it years later in auction for a figure in the thousands.

The principles are the same, whether it's an Antique deck or a new design. "Stop, look and listen" as the slogan went at railway crossings when I was young - good advice when buying a collectible. Stop and make sure it fits into your area of collecting. Look at it closely to make sure it meets your standards for condition - then listen to your heart! Do you really want it? If so, go for it. You won't be sorry.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2013, 07:53:43 PM by 52plusjoker »
Tom Dawson
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Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2013, 07:57:44 PM »
 

10ofclubs

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I think of it like this:
To elaborate on jmrock's example, let's say he saw the Santa Back set for a hundred bucks, thought it was too pricey and then never saw another on the market. I'm willing to pay a little extra for my decks on the off chance I won't see another one like them. Because there would be nothing worse than not buying because I think it costs too much and then never given the chance again. Does that make sense?
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2013, 09:00:30 PM »
 

52plusjoker

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Sure does - I have passed on some at what seemed to be crazy prices to regret it later when I never saw another. And as I said when I have plunged I've almost never been sorry.
Tom Dawson
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Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2013, 09:44:49 PM »
 

speedyy400

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Jmrock: I understand "dollar cost averaging" and think it is a great concept. It is probably something that I will employ long term as my collection grows and I have more money to spend on cards. It is probably a wonderful feeling finally completing a collection. I have yet chosen a collection that I wish to complete from beginning to end, but I know when I do, I will definitely be doing the same as you.

Tom: Thank you again for sharing your experience. It must be awesome to know that you have bought a deck worth way more than what you purchased it for. I do not collect cards in the hopes of making money, but because I find it an interesting hobby. That could only make the satisfaction much better. I do hope that I experience that to a degree, even if it is only a thousandth of what you got from it.

10ofclubs: It totally makes sense. I know I will come across times like this where I will regret not purchasing an item and never get that opportunity again. But I know that because of this forum, specifically this topic, I will be grateful for all of your advice to purchase an item, and be forever happy with my purchase.

Generally, I really do appreciate all the wisdom shared to me that experience has taught each of you. I have learned a lot reading from this and am looking forward to the rest I have to learn. I will definitely be asking my questions when I come across them with this new area of playing cards. It is awesome to have a group of people that have such a vast knowledge of cards, that I can confidently be comfortable with the comments you have to express.
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2016, 01:12:33 PM »
 

akicer

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I have been collecting modern cards for a while but very new to vintage cards. Already learned a lot form the posts, but wanna check if some one have some better place to get vintage cards other than ebay?
 

Re: Introduction to The Cellar of Fine Vintages
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2016, 06:10:38 AM »
 

Don Boyer

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I have been collecting modern cards for a while but very new to vintage cards. Already learned a lot form the posts, but wanna check if some one have some better place to get vintage cards other than ebay?

EBay is the 800-pound gorilla of the trading world, especially for playing cards.  Of course, there's also places like this forum and our in-person meet-ups like the annual convention.
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Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. — Mark Twain