How to Figure Out the Age of a Deck of Playing Cards

Sometime ago I found some excellent information on collecting playing cards. While the site still exists, it has some outdated java script running on it and it prompts users to update their java. Rather than sending readers there, I’ve taken most of the information and posted it here. All credit for this should go to:


There are a number of clubs supporting the playing card collecting hobby. Two of these are essentially American clubs, albeit with many overseas members; 52+Joker, a club for deck collectors with an emphasis on American cards and The Chicago Playing Card Collectors’ Club which caters to both deck and single card collectors. In Europe there are a number of clubs and England is the home of the International Playing Card Society, a group with members from around the world, whose main emphasis is on education and research into the history and use of playing cards.

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How to Preserve the Value of Your Collectibles

When it comes to a collectible item, condition is everything. Even slight variances in condition can drop the value of an item dramatically. Collectible items unopened in original packaging can command premium prices, but open or damage the packaging in anyway and the value will instantly lower.

I been to a number of estate sales and auctions where stickers have been put on collectibles, both in and out of the packaging, in way that devalues an item. So when selling a collectible item, think carefully about where to place any stickers, tape, or adhesive.

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned over the years:

  • Make sure items are stored in a cool, dry place. Consider using a moisture absorbing product to prevent humidity from affecting the items condition.
  • Store paper items like comic books and baseball card in archival quality sleeves with acid free backing. The same should be considered when framing prints and posters. Make sure the framer uses and acid backing and a UV blocking plexglass front.
  • If you have coins in a stapled 2×2, make sure the staples are flat against the 2×2, so you reduce the chance of scratching other coins stored in a 2×2. Better still, use self adhesive 2×2 or polyethylene flips. Never store your coins in a poly vinyl flips, it will eventually cause PVC damage to your coins.
  • Use cotton gloves when handling coins or paper collectibles.
  • A sturdy display case will keep breakables safe and dust free.
  • If you own art, consider the temperature and exposure to the sun. I have a friend who owns a very nice and expensive painting that is hung in a warm, humid room. This could cause mold or, peeling of the paint.