13 of the Rarest Playing Cards in the World
Sparked by the popularity of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the custom playing card community has exploded in the last decade. New decks that push the limits of standard playing card design are being released almost every day and enthusiasts are eager to keep expanding their collection.
Whether they were only available through a private reserve or had extremely limited quantities to begin with, some of these decks of cards have become more rare and collectable than others. Below, you’ll find some of the hardest to find playing cards in the world. These cards are not to be used for doing any sleight of hand card tricks or cardistry!
1. Original Stud Playing Cards
When Walgreens redesigned their Stud Playing Card Brand in 2006, it sent shock waves through the magic and playing card communities. These new decks lacked the remarkably thin stock, balanced feel and bright colors that made Stud Playing Cards so beloved.
Fans of the originals quickly purchased the limited stock that remained. As a result, it’s now incredibly difficult to find an authentic sealed deck of Original Stud Playing Cards for a reasonable price.
(Unless, of course, you’re reading this while our EXTREMELY LIMITED stock of certified authentic Original Stud Playing Cards is still available.)
2. Original Jerry’s Nugget Playing Cards
About 50 years ago, Jerry’s Nugget Casino in Las Vegas produced a signature deck of cards that, for some unknown reason, never saw the light of day. These playing cards were instead locked away in a storage unit for over a decade before finally resurfacing as a $2 souvenir deck of cards in the gift shop. This is when magician Lee Asher discovered them and the rest is history.
Lee fell in love with Jerry’s Nugget Playing Cards and spread the news about them to his magician friends. Their popularity catapulted into the stratosphere and, by the late 90s, the entire stock of Jerry’s Nugget Playing Cards was completely sold out.
The lack of availability made card collector’s want Jerry’s Nugget Playing Cards even more. The demand led to insane prices on the secondary market and an influx of counterfeits. The demand actually got so high, Lee Asher led a team to create a modern version of Jerry’s Nugget Playing Cards in 2019. However, the originals are still highly sought after by collectors.
3. Brown Wynn Playing Cards
Wynn Playing Cards were commissioned exclusively for the Wynn Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. Due to their distinct feel and superb handling, many renowned magicians like Chris Kenner and Daniel Garcial labeled Wynn Casino Playing Cards as the next Jerry’s Nugget Playing Cards. This hype led the extremely limited quantities of Brown Wynn Playing Cards released to the public in 2008 by theory11 to sell out immediately.
What’s even more interesting is the fact that Wynn playing cards were actually introduced as part of a 3-part set that also included Violet and Red Wynn Playing Cards. However, since theory11 has gone on record saying the Brown Wynn Deck will never be printed again, collector’s have grown increasingly eager to add them to their collection. Unfortunately, they very rarely appear for re-sale online.
4. Scarlett Tally-Ho Playing Cards
Jackson Wild’s “Kings Wild Project” has been responsible for some of the most popular playing cards ever made. But, the Scarlett Tally-Ho Playing Cards are on an entirely different level.
Named and colored in honor of his daughter Scarlett, these gorgeous cards feature a fully-customized set of face cards with metallic gold accents, a stunning back design and a remarkably unique tuck case. They offer that perfect blend of simplicity and elegance that card collectors adore.
Three versions were initially made available: The Limited Edition (700 decks), The Gold Edition with gold-foil gilded edges (200 decks) and The Legacy Edition, which featured an individually-numbered gilded deck packed inside an exclusive tuck case (50 decks). With nearly nearly 500 backers funding almost $35,000 on Kickstarter, it’s not shocking to see why these 950 decks were gone almost immediately and continue to be highly sought after to this day.
5. Red Fontaine Playing Cards
Cardist Zach Mueller was always fascinated by vintage casino playing card design. So, in 2013, he designed and ordered his own custom deck of cards. This single prototype would later become known as Red Fontaine Playing Cards.
After using them in his YouTube cardistry videos, he began to receive interest from fans about purchasing the deck. So, he made an indiegogo for the Red Fontaine Playing Cards. This campaign reached its goal in 18 hours and was the first step in Fontaine’s eventual dominance of the custom playing card market.
To this day, 1st edition Fontaine Red Playing Cards are sold for insane prices online.
6. Blue Blood Playing Cards
Blue Blood Playing Cards were the inaugural release in a special 6-part series from Uusi. Each gorgeous deck was completely customized with hand-drawn illustrations by artists Peter Dunham & Linnea Gits and printed by the United States Playing Card Company on premium Bicycle stock. With a limited release of 2,500 decks, these special playing cards sold out quickly.
7. Gold Private Reserve Playing Cards
Dan and Dave Buck are no strangers to creating popular decks of cards. However, their Gold Private Reserve playing cards are easily their most difficult to obtain. That’s because, when they were first released, you could only purchase them directly from The Buck Twins in person.
These minimalist playing cards are wonderfully elegant and feature lovely touches of gold on their faces and the special tuck case. Combined with their exclusivity, these cards are highly sought after by collectors.
8. Venexiana Gold Playing Cards
With metallic gold ink and hot-stamped gold foiling infused into every single card, the Venexiana Gold Playing Cards are the epitome of luxury. Designed by Lotrek, each deck also comes sealed in a gorgeous gold-accented tuck case. Combine all this with the fact that only 212 numbered decks were ever printed and you’ll quickly realize why these are a dream addition to any card collection.
9. Boss Deck
The United States Playing Card company introduced the Boss Deck as part of their 2013 “Draw Like a Boss” Kickstarter campaign. This fully-customized deck is truly one of a kind and the limited stock of 2,500 decks sold out almost immediately.
10. Zenith Playing Cards
Touted as a breathtaking and dramatic take on classic playing card design, the Zenith Deck is beloved by collectors. It was created by Paul Carpenter as the first deck in the Encarded Signature Series and boasts a stunning circular medallion design washed in a quintessential black and white color scheme.
The special sideways tuck case of Zenith Playing Cards is also a work of art in its own right. It is crafted with thick matte black paper adorned with stunningly vibrant holographic silver foil and features an exclusive numbered seal marking its position in the limited run of just 1,000 decks.
11. White Centurions Playing Cards
After being featured in Chris Kenner’s “Blueprint” effect, White Centurions Playing Cards became a hot topic in the custom playing card community. These special cards are simply an elegant, inverted version of Bicycle Centurion Playing Cards. But, that didn’t stop playing card enthusiasts from wanting this unique deck of cards in their collection. The limited stock of less than 1,100 decks released by Theory11 in 2008 sold out almost immediately.
12. Unbranded Black Limited Edition Reserve Note
Renowned playing card designer Jackson Robinson makes his second appearance on the list with his Unbranded Black Limited Edition Reserve Note Playing cards. These special cards feature stunning black backs, embossing, red foiling and a two-panel diptych of George Washington.
With only 1,000 decks ever produced, these are the rarest playing cards from his Federal 52 Part II collection. They almost never appear on the secondary market anymore and, if they do, you can expect to pay $100s for a single deck of cards.
13. Microsoft David Blaine “Create Magic” Playing Cards
The David Blaine “Create Magic” Playing Cards are definitely the rarest deck of cards on this list and might possibly be one of the hardest to find in the world.
Printed by the Expert Playing Card Company, these special decks were believed to have only been given to Microsoft interns that attended a function David performed at in 2015. While some speculate that 2,015 decks were produced to mark the year “2015”, this number is not official. These “Create Magic” playing cards also feature the incredibly rare double seal Split Spades.
As you can see, custom playing cards are extremely popular. So much so, we created our own dedicated Vanishing Inc. Playing Cards brand to ensure we consistently meet the needs of all card collectors. We have 1,000s of different decks you can check out right now. There are cards for magic, poker and even fun facts about playing cards.
You can also learn the history of playing cards, find out how playing cards got their symbols, how to cheat at cards, how to display your playing card collection, store your playing cards or even make your playing cards last longer.