2020 Collectible Playing Cards Gift Guide

Playing cards make a great gift for almost anyone, and there are thousands of decks to choose from. The right deck for your gift is a matter of how much you want to spend, what kind of collector the recipient is and the x-factor that is personal preference.

Card deck pricing looks like this:

  • Mass market, not unique, possible low to mid quality production: < $5
  • Mass market, some fun design, decent production: < $10
  • Niche market, good design, good production, maybe limited run: < $20
  • “Luxury” art playing cards, limited release, unique design: > $20
  • Limited remainders of highly successful campaigns: > $100

I have posted some of my extra cards over on eBay.

Once you decide on your price range, you have to decide how many of each deck should you buy? I often, not always, get two. OK, sometimes I get more. But the logic behind getting two is that I have one I can use, and one that can stay sealed for some future endeavor. I have no idea if this is a good idea for your recipient. I was just watching someone else talk about decks, and his tag line was, “I don’t always open decks, but when I do….” which I think is pretty entertaining and accurate.

In addition to playing cards, you might consider an accessory like this display case, which, in case my better half is reading, looks pretty sweet.

A note about Playing Card Kickstarters: I back a lot of them (and I miss a lot of them too, because I can only spend so much on them), and the thing to keep in mind is that there is no guaranteed delivery time, or delivery at all. I’ve had more than a few decks take the better part of 9 months to be delivered. I haven’t yet had a purchase fail to arrive at all yet, but I have two that I’m on the cusp of declaring lost. I contributed $198 to this one over a year ago.

A great, low cost place to start is the Bicycle Cards store. There are a wide variety of quality USPCC decks, on many different themes, and the prices are very reasonable.

I’m definitely under all circumstances starting this list with a 2020 commemorative deck. I haven’t seen this in person, but at $14 for a USPCC deck, it’s a great gift that should elicit a smile from even the most involuntary participant in the great petri dish of an experiment we’ve all found ourselves in.

Theory11 does a number of really great decks that are sold online and at major retailers. I have two of their decks, Jimmy Fallon (from Target) and Union (from TripOnMagic via eBay). Both are pretty nice and in the $10-12 range. If you head over to their website, you can find a great way to start a collection: the Theory 11 Build a Brick of Playing Cards and it’s a great price: $99 for 12 decks. What a fantastic idea, and it’s great to get them direct from the source. If you know someone who might like a collection, this is a great place to start.

For the soccer aka football fan in your life, PlayingCardDecks.com has some (new? just arrived?) “official decks” that are worth checking out. There’s no indicator who the manufacturer is, and given that they’re official merchandise, I suspect the quality isn’t on-par with a lot of global custom playing cards, but the price is great at $9.99 each.

You could actually spend a lot of time over at PCD thinking about what would be a fun gift. Maybe you want the Vintage Reproduction Gilded Playing Cards 10 Deck set ($200), or maybe you want to grab a 5th Kingdom Black (Artists Edition) Gold Gilded for $30. I was hoping to find a deck of PCD’s Alice In Wonderland deck, which I super love (and I’m glad I have two of), but it appears to be sold out. Found one on eBay.

For someone who loves the fine art look, head over to UUSI.us and check out their selection of cards. I have quite a few of their decks, and they always spark a conversation. They’re typically in the $35-$50 range.

You can also find some great geography themed cards. I have some of the Bicycle Los Angeles Skyline cards ($25), but I missed out on the Bicycle Chicago Skyline cards ($30) which you can find over at CollectiblePlayingCards.com. There are also a number of places to get great National Parks Playing cards, or you can search eBay for something closer to home for you, like this Denver / Colorado themed deck.

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