The Bicycle Pluma deck is one of Bicycle's most recent mass releases. We find it's origin in an updated version of an apparent historical plate found in USPCC's archives. The deck was officially released in a light blue color in August of 2013 and an orange deck of the same name/design was released as well but has only been spotted in select Wal-Mart stores.
Name: Bicycle Pluma
Release Date: August 2013
Stock: Standard Bicycle Stock
Finish: Air Cushion Finish
Colors: Light Blue/Orange
The theme of the deck features "avian" or bird-like and tribal imagery. Pluma, which can be translated into "feather" as well as "pen" in Spanish, is the perfect name for this deck as it takes on the principles of both a feather with the avian imagery and a pen with the tribal line work. The tuck case (seen above) is heavily customized with wings spanning behind a huge Spade filled with tribal and detailed line artwork. The wing span gives us the impression that the Spade is taking on the the shape of a bird. The wings wrap around the sides of the tuck case and brings us to the back design.
The back design features more of the same feather work from the tuck case that is worked in and out of intricate tribal detail. The centerpiece of the back design on both sides features an acorn-shaped face design with a fanned feather headdress on top and a maple leaf-shaped bib going underneath the face design. Four white fanned feathers are the focal point in each corner of this two-way back design that contrasts perfectly with the swirling of the darker tribal detail that marries each design element perfectly and evenly.
Once the deck is opened we find the standard 52 cards, 2 Jokers and 2 ad cards. The Ace Of Spades features the same Spade that is found on the tuck case. However, the difference with the AoS design is that the border and the wings are dropped. This is a nice design tactic as it forces the focus and your eyes to gravitate toward the swirl and tribal design. By dropping the wings/feathers it takes the attention off the avian theme and reminds us that there is more of the design to be seen. Outside of the Spade, "Bicycle" is written above the Spade in an Art Nouveau font similar to the font used for "Pluma" on the tuck case minus the stylization. The use of the Art Nouveau font style ties in the historical aspect to this deck. It reminds the handler that the deck has depth beyond the design.
The deck features historic court and number cards similar to the designs found on the Bicycle Expert Back Deck. The courts and numbers take their look from early decks from USPCC beginnings. The main customization on the Bicycle Pluma Deck courts and numbers comes in the form of a re-color. For the light blue deck, the Anglo-American courts' patterns are filled with light blue, sea blue, white, brown and black. For the orange deck, the courts' patterns are filled with yellow, orange, brown and white.
With the number cards we are presented with a darker red for the hearts and diamonds than on a standard Bicycle deck. The Darker red helps contrast the lighter blue and orange keeping the color palette theme in focus.
A disappointment with this deck is the lack of customization on the Jokers. With this deck we are presented with the same style Jokers as on a Bicycle Standard without any colorization. In fact, these Jokers are simply black and white. If full customization is not an option, it would have been a pleasure to see a recolor of the Jokers with the blue or orange deck color palette used on each deck.
Handling these cards are actually more aesthetically pleasing than functionally pleasing. While the deck features the same stock and embossing as a Bicycle standard deck, there is something about the back design that tricks the mind into thinking they perform better. At any rate, the design provides a great deck to play with or perform tricks with, which adds to the functionality and handling even if it is just our love of the design telling us so.
Notes on the Bicycle Pluma Playing Cards:
- While this deck features an updated plate from Bicycle's past, there are no actual historic decks referenced as its predecessor.
- The Orange deck is not available on BicycleCards.com but can be found at select Wal-Marts.
- Often time USPCC/Bicycle creates exclusive decks to be sold at different big box retailers. These exclusive decks can very from full customization to slight differences in the bar-code.
Final Assessment: Bicycle Pluma is a dream to play with. The artwork is top notch coming out of Bicycle, who aren't all that known for creating extremely custom or intricate pieces. Although, as of late we have seen an improvement in design with decks like the Sideshow Freaks, Speakeasy and now Pluma. The deck's design is versatile for all kinds of playing card fans including performing magicians. The collectors will go crazy over the orange Pluma deck as it is not readily available on the web. A rare deck is a wanted deck!
We are currently offering Bicycle Pluma Orange on Ebay.