The Discoverie Deck is a collaboration between Big Blind Media and Vanishing Inc and pays homage to Reginald Scot's "Discoverie of Witchcraft". The design is unlike any either company has ever released and will only be released in limited quantities. The deck has been somewhat of a mystery up until now when only a select few have been given any information regarding the deck. Currently on pre-order for a July 19th release by select retailers including JP Playing Cards in the UK, The Discoverie Deck is much more than a regular deck of cards. The Discoverie Deck is history wrapped in 56 custom designed playing cards. Here is the story of the deck as told by Big Blind Media and Vanishing Inc:
In 1584, magic was changed forever by one man and one book Reginald Scot published the Discoverie of Witchcraft, one of the first ever magic books written in the English language. Discoveries showed a superstitious public that magicians were not witches, but entertainers with clever effects and methods. We commemorate this historic moment in history with a deck befitting the Discoverie legacy.The specs:
The Discoverie Deck is designed in a style of a rare first edition Discoverie of Witchcraft. Intricate woodcuts from the book are featured on the faces of the cards, and the Aces are adorned with a passage from the book. Written in elegant calligraphic style of the day. The tuck case act as "covers" to protect the "pages" cards within. The Discoverie Deck is printed on premium grade USPCC Stock
Without Discoverie the world of magic would have been a very different place. It is the first and only pack of cards ever produced by vanishing inc magic, and has been printed in a very limited edition.
Name: The Discoverie Deck
Company: Big Blind Media and Vanishing Inc.
Release Date: To be released on July 19, 2013
Colors: Deep reds, browns, beige, burnt orange, antique colors
The Discoverie Deck features 56 cards including 2 Jokers and 1 gaff and a "history lesson" card. The tuck case is quite the change from what Big Blind Media usually releases as it is designed to look like the first edition of "Discoverie of Witchcraft" book released in the 1500's. The entire tuck case looks like an almost ancient book with a leather binding and weathered pages. Although printed by USPCC, the Bicycle logo does not don this deck. In fact, the only wording on the Tuck Case is "Discoverie Deck" across the the top front and left side.
Once inside this deck, you are met with a design that takes actual images from the original "Discoverie of Witchcraft" book. The back design continues the concept of the leather bound book. It almost seems as if it is the inside of the book cover. A small downside with the back design is that it is one-way but given it's simplicity, the one-way design is not extremely noticeable and does not take away from the overall deck. More than likely a spectator will never notice the subtle differences that make this a one-way design. It is true to a book cover in that book covers are not normally two-way.
The Ace of Spades is not the keystone of the deck as it is combined with all of the other Aces to create a message taken right from the book. By downplaying the Ace of Spades, which is normally the arch of the deck, designer Sam Hayles puts emphasis on the message of all the cards combined instead of the individual cards separate. This brings the concept of a "book" into light as each card becomes a page in the book creating a much larger story.
Every card in the deck dons a background that looks like an old page in a book with burnt orange, beige and other colors to give the effect of discolored or antiqued paper. The Jokers take images right out of the book as seen here in a later edition of Scot's classic:
The number cards feature the antiqued book paper look as well. Interestingly, the two's and four's have a Joker image as well as another book image on them. This can be used creatively for different card magic routines. This is something you do not see often or ever in standard playing cards. In fact, most custom decks do not even add this type of design to the number cards.
Up close look at the number cards' detail:
The court cards were designed with custom coloration on an antiqued paper background that overlays the royals. They still feature the Anglo-American royals that are normally on traditional playing cards. Given the the theme of this deck it would have been interesting to see more customization on the court cards with artwork depicting early magicians and other historical figures from the 1500's when the book was written. It can only be imagined that magicians in the 1500's were under a lot of scrutiny and pressure, which is extremely stressing. Although the current court cards are not far from that period's style, a more emotional looking court card dressed with items that early magicians and witch hunters used would have been a unique touch. Despite that, the colorization of the court cards provides a cohesive look and feel throughout. Because of that, the cards do not feel out of place at all and actually become more of the pages in the book that this deck is based on.
The cards handle like a standard USPCC/Bicycle deck. They are smooth but not slippery. There are no complaints on fanning, shuffling and overall handling.
Notes on the The Discoverie Deck:
- Reginald Scot died in 1599, 15 years after "Discoverie of Witchcarft" was published.
- James I ordered all copies be burnt in 1603.
- There have been later editions released including downloadable copies.
- The Discoverie Deck is limited with less than 10K printed.
- Designer Sam Hayles designs all of Big Blind Media's cards including the upcoming Karnival Elite being released on the same day.
Final Assessment: The Discoverie Deck is an extremely unique deck of playing cards that should appeal to collectors and magicians. The story behind the deck goes back hundreds of years, which can be very beneficial for those magicians that love to tell stories in their routines. Because the story is so rich in history, it can even help those that struggle to tell stories. The design of the deck isn't the most detailed or most eye popping but the sum of this decks parts makes this deck stand out among some of the super detailed and illustrated decks. This deck was meant to tell a story and to pay homage to one of the first books on magic ever written. It accomplishes both tasks and then some. The Discoverie Deck becomes the book. And that is what makes this deck such a must have.
Final Score: 9.5/10