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First Look: Art of Play's Peau Doux Playing Cards, The Cards That Cardini Used!



Art of Play in collaboration with Pitchford Entertainment Media and Magic have released a modern poker-sized replica of the special "Peau Doux" playing cards used by Richard Valentine Pitchford (1895-1973) or better known by his stage name, Cardini.


Cardini is known for his superlative manipulation act, which showcased his unparalleled card fanning and production skills. For his fanning sequences, Cardini originally used a brand called "Park Avenue," which was obtainable from Woolworth's, until he was introduced to a card with an even more attractive back design on general sale in Walgreens drug stores in 1934. Trademarked as "Peau Doux" cards, the brand name was derived from the name of Mrs. Walgreen's dog Po Do, which translates from French as "smooth skin".


The stunning Art Deco design depicted a series of five concentric arcs in red, black, white, gold, and red, reading from the top left-hand corner to the bottom right-hand corner of the card. The deck carries the iconic image of the winged horse Pegasus, silhouetted in gold, emerging from the gold arc.


Cardini realized the potential of the deck for display fans and color changing effects. He wasted no time in entering into a transaction with the Walgreen Company. It is believed that he bought up the complete stock of the cards, extracting from the company an assurance they would not manufacture any further decks. Cardini even went so far as to purchase the printing plates, which he then smashed, further to protect his exclusivity. Today, an unopened Cardini' bridge-size 1934 Peau Doux playing cards go for up to $700 in auctions.


I am pleasantly surprised how well these turned out! Art of Play's replica is a faithful reproduction, from the Art Deco-styled tuck box to the iconic card backs. The Ace of Spades has been updated and features the pegasus instead of Mrs. Walgreen's dog Po Do.


Gold metallic ink on the courts and the card backs create a striking and elegant look, especially when used in contrast against the black background. Also, the indices and suits have been enhanced to match the theme of the deck, giving it a more modern look and feel. The jokers feature a black and white illustration of Cardini's profile.


Peau Doux’s, will be available in a limited supply this Friday (9th February 2018) on Art of Play for $15. Don't miss out if you want to own a piece of magic history. Use coupon code KARDINI at checkout to get 10% off the Peau Doux decks on Art of Play.
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