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The Amazing Noobini
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Oslo, Norway
1658 Posts

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What are your thoughts on the Heirloom Decks from Card Shark? http://www.card-shark.de/index_e.cfm

You may not have received yours yet if you live further away but I got mine today and examined them with somewhat mixed initial feelings:

While the (in my case French) faces are very lovely I was frankly a bit disappointed in terms of actual deck handling feel contra what is promised on the website:

"The cards you get here have the same paper quality as your favourite Bicycle playing cards, with linen structure and flexibility to meet your needs."

and...

"...printed on the best playing card stock available (3-layer paper, linen structure, high flexibility, the same that you know from your favourite Bicycle deck)."

These cards are absolutely lovely looking, but as far as the handling which the blurb promises us, they are in my opinion nothing that comes remotely close to that. They are as waxy as cards can get when they are printed with ink all over the surface. Frankly you couldn't fan these evenly if your life depended on it. And if you bend the deck it doesn't quite have the same will to bounce back as for instance USPCCo cards.

Not that anyone would buy such a deck to do flourishes anyway, it's just slightly annoying and unnecessary with advertising promises that are not fulfilled. Handling wise these are more like souvenir cards you buy from unknown printers. Colorful but just not a contender when it comes to sleight of hand. This doesn't prevent these cards from being shuffled and dealt without effort, although depending on your choice of technique, a DL may be a small struggle at best.

The choice of card stock does touch on an esthetic issue as well. As the air cushion texture really doesn't contribute much to the feel of the cards, it would perhaps have been a better choice to go with a coated smooth finish for a more authentic vintage look without the little air pockets.

One more thing that could possibly have been solved differently is the fact that the background stain pattern is identical on each card, so when you spread them out certain spots repeat into a line through the card spread. This was also a problem with Ellusionist's first 1800s decks that also relied on an added wear pattern. The 1800s were also like these a bit heavy on the yellow color which makes the vintage appearance less convincing in daylight. A little less would have been more, I think.

Well, this does sound a bit more negative than I wanted it to sound. I didn't really intend this to be a review either, but rather just some initial thoughts after just having received the cards. I don't in any way wish to discourage anyone from ordering these fine decks! It is clear that a lot of hard work and clever thinking went into these decks.

Conclusion, highly subjective of course:

Seen as playing cards intended for certain types of magic that may require special decks such as mentalism, these cards should pack quite a punch both for their secret features and for their unique and beautiful look. However for varied sleight of hand use, they don't quite make it.

Negative:

- (Understandably) expensive decks.
- Somewhat unrealistic advertising promises.
- Some minor design choices that could possibly have been different.

Positive:

- Finally an antique French faced deck in a modern poker format.
- Brilliant secret features, although only clearly seen from up close.
- Uniqueness and beauty.
- Better looking than any of the other antique look decks.
- Some extra card availability.

Would I buy these again? Yes, but probably not more than one deck having handled them.
"Talk about melodrama... and being born in the wrong part of the world." (Raf Robert)
"You, my friend, have a lot to learn." (S. Youell)
"Nonsensical Raving of a lunatic mind..." (Larry)
magicbob116
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Thanks for the review! I am still considering whether or not to get an Heirloom deck. It's good to have as much info as possible to make an educated purchase.
B. Robert Pulver

The "I Hate Card Tricks!" Book of Card Tricks Vol. 1, 2, and 3
Kards for Kids
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http://www.magicnook.com/magicbob
Donal Chayce
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Christian ("Card Shark") has a booth in the Dealer's Room at the IBM/SAM convention. I don't know how sales are going for him, but he's getting a lot of foot traffic.
Card-Shark
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Germany
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Hello everybody,

just found this thread, thanks for a review of my decks, Noobini.

Just as a short reminder: the card stock is really the same compared to Bicycle. What makes the difference between both decks is the finish on them. It has nothing to do with the amount of ink on the cards, the finish is let´s say the fifth color on each card, independedly the same on Bikes, Heirloom, Tally-Ho or Bees. But the mixture is different, in Germany only water-based finishes are allowed due to environmental issues.

I experimented a lot with their finish and came to the conclusion that if you really want to have the same feeling of Bicycles (after talking to a lot of magicicans not everybody actually wants that glitchy feeling) add a really SMALL amount of fanning powder to the decks and they will work like a charm.

It would be great if someone else could second this as I do not want to make this into a "dealer´s description". I want to be as true as possible when describing my stuff, I hate telling lies (when it is not about my own magic Smile.

BTW, the responses in Louisville where great. I am very thankfull of meeting so many nice and interesting people and the possibility to start new friendships.

Christian
Expert in playing card production for magicians.

The Person Who Says It cannot Be Done Should Not Interrupt The Person Doing It!
Chinese Proverb
jfquackenbush
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Out here on the desert
607 Posts

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I just stumbled on this thread and I have to concur that right out of the box, the cards don't handle quite like I expected them to. They really do need fanning powder, which is not something I'm used to as I generally don't like to do it and I'm not a huge flourish guy. that having been said, they work brilliantly for the packet tricks and blank deck effects I bought them for, and once I got the fanning powder on them I was quite happy. There are a couple of false deals that I do a lot that I couldn't really get to work cleanly before I put the fanning powder on them, but once I did they were very usable although I do find that I have to be more careful not to catch hangers with them. Somehow that seems kind of appropriate though, and I think it actually works to the benefit of effects I do with them because I feel like I handle them more delicately as a result of having to be extra careful. Also, there is some walter scott work that the higher friction texture helps out on. members can PM me for details on that one, but I find it's a trade off. I'd never leave behind my league backs or tally-hos for most card work, but that's appropriate I think. I like that I can treat these cards like they're special and I'm not using them for every single thing I do. It helps with their aura of mystery to take them out as something special and unique. But I agree with the assessment Christian, they definitely don't feel like Bikes to me so you might want to update your ad copy if you haven't already.
Mr. Quackenbush believes that there is no such thing as a good magic trick.
Steve James
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Two short videos using the Heirloom deck, just in case you haven't seen them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZeBtHOVxZ8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Udnvi9wiadc
Matthew Jones
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These decks imo are perfect for Tony Chris' The Chosen effect, especially if you're doing some sort of a routine that centres around the occult or something classical, if you don't already have that DVD you should check out his site at http://www.tonychris.com/ and check out some of the stuff he's come out with, if you're a Bizarrist this guy is really good.
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