What is Cartamundi?

Based in Belgium, Cartamundi is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of playing cards, card games, collectible card games, board games and more. With a massive workforce spanning more than a dozen factories around the globe, Cartamundi has established itself as a company that any card magician, card game player or deck collector should know.

What is Cartamundi?

Cartamundi is one of the most respected names in the world of playing cards, games and toys. Legendary board games like Monopoly and trading card games like Pokémon have been manufactured on Cartamundi production lines. As well as countless varieties of premium playing cards and card games for everyone from amateur poker players to the world’s biggest casinos.

As the world’s leading manufacturer of playing cards, card games & board games and digital solutions, Cartamundi generates an annual revenue that is near half of a billion dollars. But, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, Cartamundi’s expansion into a manufacturing powerhouse largely follows a similar path to the history of the United States Playing Card Company (which is actually quite ironic, but, we’ll get into that later). They have relied on many critical expansions and acquisitions to evolve their brand.

playing poker with friends

History of Cartamundi

Cartamundi was founded in 1970 as a joint venture between three prominent Belgian printing companies that had more than 250 years of combined experience making playing cards—Van Genechten, Biermans and Brepols. The name Cartamundi is actually the Latin word for “cards of the world” and represented the company’s desire to capitalize on the growing popularity of people using playing cards to learn card tricks, and host family card game nights or poker nights.

Cartamundi’s first major expansion came in 1993 when they established a location just outside of France to embed themselves in the European market. One year later, they entered the blossoming United States market by opening their first sales office in Kentucky (famously where the USPCC printed their decks of cards for decades). This was quickly followed by establishing their Cartamundi U.S. Headquarters and Manufacturing Facility in Tennessee in 1996.

During the early to mid-1990’s, Cartamundi also expanded their brand to include collectible card games. This included games like the Star Trek Customizable Card Game and Star Wars Customizable Card Game (which is different than the massively popular Star Wars Playing Cards from theory11’s line of custom playing cards).

While Cartamundi always printed playing cards for magicians, this new trading card game niche introduced them to a whole new type of “Magic”. During this same time, “Magic: The Gathering” was becoming massively popular and Cartamundi’s flagship Belgium factory started printing “Magic: The Gathering” cards for its creators Wizards of the Coast (also known for publishing Dungeons & Dragons and helping provide Americans with Pokémon Cards). To this day, Cartamundi still prints both English and foreign language “Magic: The Gathering Cards”.

uncut sheet of magic the gathering playing cards at cartamundi playing card factory

Often, Cartamundi’s expansion into a new country came as the result of a significant acquisition. For example, they acquired the Brazil-based Copag in 2005 and took over Copag Playing Cards (which are considered to be the signature deck of Cartamundi Playing Cards). However, it was the following year that truly changed everything for Cartamundi.

After acquiring the Dallas, Texas-based Yaquinto Printing Company in 2006, Cartamundi was able to offer even more types of manufacturing services and items like UV and plastic printing, and folding cartons. They eventually relocated their headquarters into the old Yaquinto factory and started a 300,000 sq ft expansion that was completed in 2009 when Cartamundi USA opened its new state-of-the-art facility.

In 2011, Cartamundi launched a new arm of its business in Los Angeles, California, called Elite Packaging that services the packaging needs of entertainment studios. Then, in 2015, Cartamundi drastically expanded their card game and board game production by acquiring Hasbro’s board game factories in Ireland and Massachusetts.

As far as magicians are concerned though, no acquisition was bigger than when Cartamundi acquired the United States Playing Card Company in 2019. This meant that Cartamundi now owned its biggest competitor and iconic playing card brands like Tally-Ho Playing Cards and Bee Playing Cards. Most notably, they now owned the rights to the most popular playing cards in the world, Bicycle Playing Cards.

Many magicians were worried about the future of Bicycle Playing Cards, particularly the common Bicycle playing card trick decks they loved so much. Luckily, it’s been a very beneficial partnership for everyone involved. Beloved USPCC playing cards still maintain their own iconic branding and are among the best decks of cards for performing card tricks.

learn magic tricks

In recent years, Cartamundi has made a strong push to be a dominant force in the custom playing card market. They have proven their ability to innovate by introducing multiple types of card stocks and finishes designed exclusively for performing card tricks, learning cardistry flourishes and playing easy and fun card games. As such, many custom playing card designers have turned to Cartamundi to develop their unique decks of cards.

Here are some of the best decks of Cartamundi playing cards:

Copag 310 Playing Cards

red and blue copag 310 playing cards by cartamundi

“Copag 310 Playing Cards” are Cartamundi’s signature deck of cards. They are Cartamundi’s equivalent of Bicycle Rider Playing Cards and were the first deck of cards to introduce the signature True Linen B9 Finish Cartamundi is now famous for. This stock took two years to develop and was made using input from professional magicians, poker players and cardistry pros to ensure it had the best handling for any magic trick, cardistry flourish or poker game.

These decks come in the standard red or blue colors found on ordinary decks of playing cards. However, special versions are also available.

Guy Hollingworth Playing Cards

Guy hollingworth playing cards burgundy by vanishing inc

Produced in conjunction with Vanishing Inc., the new “Guy Hollingworth Playing Cards” are a long awaited reboot of a beloved deck of cards first introduced by Dan and Dave Buck. Better known as “The Buck Twins”, Dan and Dave Buck are credited with promoting the surge of popularity with custom decks of cards and people wanting to learn how to get started in cardistry.

This new deck features the same aesthetic as the original “Guy Hollingworth Playing Cards”, but with an added border to make card tricks easier and a super soft linen stock for superior handling. It comes in emerald green or burgundy red.

NOC Luxury Collection Playing Cards

NOC Luxury collection playing cards gold silver and bronze

Everyone from magicians to cardists and card collectors loves “NOC Playing Cards.” What makes “NOC Playing Cards” so good though? Playing card collectors have loved their perfect blend of elegance and simplicity since they were first introduced by YouTuber and Magician Alex Pandrea (The Blue Crown) in 2012. There have been countless different versions of “NOC Playing Cards” created, but few have been as amazing as the “NOC Luxury Collection Playing Cards.”

Teaming up with Cartamundi, “NOC Luxury Collection Playing Cards” are the first-ever deck of cards with a fully-foiled back design. Using Cartamundi’s incredible advanced cold foiling technique and signature SlimLine stock, these limited edition decks of cards are true gems in any playing card collection. But they aren’t easy to add to your deck collection. These custom stylish playing cards were funded in 1 minute on Kickstarter and sold out quickly. They are now fetching prices on the secondary market equivalent to some of the rarest decks of cards in the world.

Cohorts Playing Cards

red cohorts playing cards

Vintage Casino-inspired playing cards are very popular among collectors and card magicians. And, unlike original Jerry’s Nugget Playing Cards and Stud Playing Cards which are only for serious deck collectors, “Cohorts Playing Cards” were designed for everyday use.

Featuring an unsuspecting design and premium feel thanks to Cartamundi’s luxury-pressed E7 stock, “Cohort Playing Cards” are beloved by magicians looking for an alternative to Bicycle Playing Cards. Although, they probably aren't some of the best playing cards for poker because they are also a marked deck of cards. We don’t want your friends to accuse you of learning how to cheat at poker.

As “Cohorts Playing Cards” are a marked deck of cards, they allow you to unlock a world of new amazing card tricks and mentalism tricks. You’ll also receive 2 Jokers (which are more useful than you might think), an alternate color double-backer and a duplicate card on top of the standard 52 playing cards. So, it’s not a shock that “Cohorts Marked Playing Cards” are so popular among professional magicians and famous mentalists.

The fact mentalists use these playing cards is also interesting since some mentalists might argue that playing cards are bad to use in mentalism. However, we would disagree. Playing cards are just another tool to help make the amazing happen. There’s a reason that “Cohorts Playing Cards” were included in the “How to Read Minds Kit”. This special kit uses playing cards and other magic props to teach you a variety of easy mentalism tricks you can do using a marked deck of cards and other popular mentalism tricks like how cold reading works.

The Feather Deck

teal feather deck playing cards vanishing inc

More than a year was dedicated to crafting this custom deck of cards. Vanishing Inc. teamed up with Travis DeMello, a talented illustration artist from Brooklyn, New York, who is known for creating astoundingly detailed anatomical drawings. Working from scratch, he meticulously crafted every single detail you see on the back design of these playing cards by hand.

When you first hold “The Feather Deck: Goldfinch Edition”, you may not believe it’s been hand-drawn. The level of detail is truly unrivaled. He perfectly captured the timeless symmetrical aesthetic of the Goldfinch Feather, all the way down to each individual bristle. You’ll love the perfect subtle shine of the carefully-infused gold foiling and the unique look of the reimagined faces. This is a deck of cards that will make you eager to learn how to properly display your deck collection.

“The Feather Deck” is available with either teal or gold backs. Each deck of cards comes in a textured cardboard case with foil-embossing and a custom seal. A blank-faced card and double-backed card are also included for anyone looking to learn some easy card tricks to amaze their friends with or any of the other best card magic tricks.

The Boy Who Cried Magic Playing Cards

the boy who cried magic playing cards

"The Boy Who Cried Magic Playing Cards" were originally only made available to those who purchased the Deluxe Edition of The Boy Who Cried Magic. This was the first-ever book from Andi Gladwin, who shared a lifetime of amazing card tricks he created.

To do so, he had to take a break from growing Vanishing Inc. and reinventing the magic shop into the best place to buy magic tricks. It was all worth it though, because The Boy Who Cried Magic is now considered one of the best books for learning intermediate to advanced magic. As such, the custom “The Boy Who Cried Magic Playing Cards” were made available to everyone.

These stunning, fully-customized playing cards were designed by Michal Kociolek—a talented artist who is also a well-respected card magician. Every detail from the card backs to the custom card case and unique seal were designed to match the distinct theming from The Boy Who Cried Magic.

Upon first glance, these collectable decks of cards look like a truly expensive custom stylish deck. You may be eager to start researching the best ways of storing your playing cards, so you can keep them protected. However, the reason they’re offered at such an affordable price is because they’re meant to be used.

These playing cards are some of the best playing cards for card magic tricks—particularly the professional card magic tricks taught in “The Boy Who Cried Magic”. That’s why they use Cartamundi’s luxurious SlimLine stock and come with a double-backer and blank-face card (two of the most popular gaff cards in card magic). Whether you’re just learning card magic basics or are a seasoned professional magician, you’ll love “The Boy Who Cried Magic Playing Cards.”

Looking to find where to buy playing cards? The Vanishing Inc. magic store offers the largest selection of playing cards for sale. No need to go searching for a magic store near you. We have 1,000s of playing cards available right now.

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