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Thailand is one of the most prolific countries in Asia. Many people flock to the country to appreciate its culture and astounding temples. Some also go here to enjoy gambling. The government imposes strict gambling laws. Since the country has a long history of playing cards that the authorities found it necessary to create laws against owning too many playing cards. In the Playing Cards Act, locals cannot own more than 120 playing cards without the necessary registration from the Excise Department. Still, the country has the Playing Cards Factory that produces more than 400,000 card decks each month.
Some of the gamblers in the world are also avid collectors. They are fascinated by either a deck’s design or the history behind its creation. Those who are more superstitious may only want to use playing cards from their collection. Whatever their reason may be, collecting cards is a worthwhile hobby.
Over the years, the popularity of custom playing cards rose as more and more people become involved in investing in crowd-funded playing card decks. The clamour for a new and exquisitely designed card is changing the landscape of the playing card industry. Card decks have evolved to more than just thirteen cards, four suits, and one tuck.
The market is rife with amazing and intricately-designed cards and card collectors have their own way of choosing the decks they would want to place in their stash.
If you are keen on starting your card collection, check out our list of rare and expensive decks of all time. The difficulty of finding the deck is rated from 1 (easy) to 5 (difficult):
Market Price: $100
Blue Blood is the first of six in Uusi’s series printed by the United States Playing Card Company. The card is unique and highly coveted as each card showcases intricate hand-drawn illustrations by Peter Dunham and Linnea Gits. This hard-to-obtain playing card deck is only available in a limited quantity of 2,500. The cards were printed with air cushion and finished on a bicycle grade card stock.
Market Price: $200
Red Fontaine was first launched by Zach Mueller in 2013 as a crowdfunding project under Indiegogo. The project was a huge hit that the $10,000 funding goal was successfully met within 18 hours of posting. It doubled the funding within a month and since then the card collectors have been on the hunt for the rare Red Fontaine card deck. This demand drove up the prices.
Market Price: $150
Crafted by Paul Carpenter, the Zenith is the first playing card deck of the Encarded Signature Series. It features a dramatic re-imagination of classic playing card deck themes such as a central circular medallion motif, black and white theme, and borderless presentation. The box is also unique as it opens sideways and the box itself is created with a thick matte black paper. The Zenith playing card is beautifully crafted with intricately detailed holographic silver foil. Under the cellophane is the seal with a sequenced number (xxxx/1000).
Market Price: $100
Theory11 produced the Rarebit Playing cards for The Rarebit Restaurant and Lounge in Charleston, South Carolina. Patrons of the said restaurant can grab the original Green foiled version if their meals cost about $100. Card collectors love this particular card deck that features a tuck case in a black matte finish, which highlights the intricate foil line. The tuck also comes with a nice custom seal.
The deck’s back design is similar with the tuck but comes in a yellow-green pallet, whilst the jokers, face cards, and courts are all customised and patterned after the Rarebit Restaurant logo of a Rabbit.
Market Price: $180
The Scarlett Tally-Ho is produced by Jackson Robinson of Kings Wild Project and is named after his daughter, Scarlett. The tuck case comes in deep red adorned with gold foil accents. The interior side of the tuck has a lattice pattern. The playing cards are completely customised with courts having two gold metallic ink accents on the face whilst the back design comes with one gold metallic ink on its intricate design that Kings Wild Project is known for.
The Scarlett Tally-Ho comes in a limited Gold Edition featuring gold gilded edges. Only 200 decks are produced.
Market Price: $325
White Centurion Playing Cards draws inspiration from the design concept of Theory11’s Bicycle Centurion. This beautifully designed card deck as first launched in 1-on-2 effect Blueprint by Chris Kenner. After the show, card collectors expressed interest in acquiring the said deck, particularly after they found out that there are only about 1,100 White Centurions.
Market Price: $425
This ultra-luxurious and unique playing card showcases the admirable work of Lotrek. The Venexiana Gold Playing Card Deck features a gold foil hot-stamped on each of the 52 cards and printed on a 3,300 gsm French casino card stock. All of the Venexiana faces are also printed with metallic gold ink. Sealed in an intricately gold-accented tuck case, The Venexiana is a card collector’s dream as there are only 212 numbered decks ever produced.
Market Price: $100
The Boss Deck Playing Card was made by the United States Playing Card Company as an additional or companion deck for the Draw like a Boss campaign on Kickstarter. Only 2,500 decks were produced and immediately sold out during the campaign.
Market Price: $149
Regarded as one of the most elusive playing card deck produced by Dan and Dave, Gold Private Reserve is only available from another person who already owns it, who is most likely not willing to sell it to anyone else unless they would terribly need money. Dan and Dave occasionally sells and promotes the playing card deck but that is quite as rare as the cards itself.
What makes this card highly coveted?
The Gold Private Reserve features courts with a gold finish whilst the Ace of Spades and Jokers are specially designed to highlight the producer’s minimalist and sophisticated style. There are only 2,500 decks of Gold Private Reserve ever-produced, as each one is carefully inspected before wrapped in a gold foil and sealed in its tuck.
Market Price: $425 starting auction price
Extremely rare and hard to obtain Microsoft David Blaine Playing Card by Expert Playing Card Co. These cards were said to be given to Microsoft Interns who were present when David Blaine performed in a Microsoft-sponsored function. Only 2,015 decks of the card were produced in 2015. The deck features a double seal Split Spades, which is becoming extremely difficult to find.
Market Price: $100
Produced by Kings and Crooks, the Empire Playing Card Deck was a breakout project on Kickstarter. It immediately got funding for its imposing design featuring bold images. Each card in the deck is completely customised that reflects the personality of Lee McKenzie, the card designer. The bold gold and dark red palette add more depth to the card’s personality.
Market Price: $250
The Unbranded Reserve Note Playing Card Deck was produced as part of the Federal 52 Part II as a follow-up to the Original Federal 52 campaign. The said campaign has six decks: The White Reserve Note, The Silver Certificate, and the Black Reserve Note (both unbranded and branded versions). Since the Black Reserve Note is not much different from the rest of the series, most card collectors look for the Unbranded Black Reserve Note more. It features a George Washington crossing Delaware diptych in two panels, card backs in black colour, and embossing with a bright red foil. Only 1,000 decks were ever produced.
Will you be willing to buy any of these amazing cards if someone offers them up for an auction? Are your cards included in our list? Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below.