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In this review series I'm featuring the LUXX Gilt Edge Collection, produced by Paul Middleton from JP Playing Cards. Paul founded this business in 2012, with a passion for enjoying luxury playing cards. He'd seen how Kickstarter enabled independent designers and small agencies to successfully bring their creative custom playing cards to market, to compete with products larger companies. Then came his own vision for his own product: LUXX Playing Cards, designed to be a luxury brand of playing cards, that included decks that looked impressive, while remaining functional and affordable, with a broad appeal, and a quality production from Legends Playing Card Company. The result was the LUXX series, which has four main members in its family: Original/Shadow, Palme, Elliptica, and Greille. The Gilt Edge Collection takes members of this original series, and adds elements of additional luxury with the help of gold and silver gilded edges, applied by a master craftsman. It makes these decks absolutely stunning in every way, with an amazingly glamorous look! Let's find out more about the LUXX series, and about the Gilt-Edge Collection!




The LUXX Elliptica deck is the third design in the LUXX series, and was the second contribution from Randy Butterfield of Midnight Cards.

The Elliptica deck reflects a love for simple and beautiful borderless decks, and was inspired by a love for the classic Bee diamondback design.

The aim was to make this the best value LUXX deck in the series, with the lowest price point yet, biggest print run yet, and largest range of colours. With that in mind, the Elliptica was produced in four different colours: Red, Green, Blue, and Purple.


The love for luxury is immediately evident from the richly produced tuck-boxes, which feature a wrap-around pattern that takes up the design from the card-backs, but uses brilliant gold foil to enhance the visual glamour and appeal, for a very stylish and classy look. They feel soft to the touch, but when held up to the light, the patterned gold foil is instantly eye-catching, creating a shiny pattern that stands out beautifully from the rest of the tuck box for a look of absolute class.

The card-backs feature a simple repeated design that has a powerful effect as a result of the borderless design, and has deliberate overtones of the classic Bee diamondback style.


The court cards aren't a radical departure from classic styling, but a simpler colour scheme of oranges and reds combined with black creates a whole new look.

I'm particularly fond of the way that the background to the character has a black or red colour that matches the colour of the suit, which is heightened by making the inside pip white. It ensures optimal and practical clarity, while still evoking a fresh feel and an original and stylish look - it's one of the things I like most about this deck.


The Jokers take up the main motif from the back design on opposite corners, along with an original image of a juggling jester. This combination helps bring together the deck's theme, while retaining a very clear connection with traditional playing cards.

The indices have a very straight forward and practical font, while the pips feature an almost heavy and bloated shape that adds real emphasis to them. One interesting feature is how the black pips are slightly lighter in tone than the indices themselves.


The arrangement of the pips is also custom, with a tight unity that emphasizes the center of each card.

Close observers will also notice that the hearts/diamonds are given a sense of extra "weight" by the addition of stylish black borders that are slightly heavier on one side, to create a sense of emphasis.


This image of an uncut sheet offers an overview of the entire deck.


Here's another look at the card backs, with an example of a fan that takes full advantage of the borderless design.


All the decks have the same face-cards, the only difference is the card-backs and the tuck box. But the fact that this deck comes in a choice of colours means that prospective buyers have a range of options to pick from.


If you are a fan of the classic Bee diamondback design, then you'll appreciate what the LUXX Elliptica offers: a more elegant design accompanied with superior paper quality, and at a reasonable price. It looks like an expensive high end end deck, and yet it is the best value of the entire LUXX range, being priced competitively to be at a lower price-point than the typical deck of custom playing cards, which would normally set you back $12-15 plus shipping.


Even though it doesn't come in a gilded version, I also want to include mention of the LUXX Greille deck, which comes in Copper and Silver.

The LUXX Greille is the fourth design in the LUXX series. Like the LUXX Palme, it was designed by Rick Davidson.


Coming in either a combination of black/copper or blue/silver, this is one of the most classy decks that has been printed by Legends Playing Card Company. It's not hard to see why, just by looking at the shiny tuck box, which has individually numbered seals.


The chief thing that stands out with this deck is the hot stamped shiny foil on the card backs. If ever a deck is going to dazzle you with its brilliance as soon as you take it out of the tuck case, it is this one!

Like the attractive and embossed tuck box, which is nearly all foil, the card backs feature a repeating grid pattern that has a geometry styled design that emphasizes the shimmering foil.


Depending on how the light falls, the way this foil-back looks can change dramatically, because from different angles the light will pick up triangles, squares, or diamonds, and this produces a very eye-catching effect.


The card faces mostly employ a traditional style, with slight adjustments to the font used for the numbers, although the court cards have a customized look and colour scheme that emphasizes blue and yellow.


The LUXX Greille also has custom aces, custom jokers, and custom court-cards - while these are all styled on a traditional deck, they feature modern looks with a more original yet unified colour scheme.


The LUXX Greille is definitely one of the more premium and classy decks in the Legends catalogue!


* * * CONCLUSIONS * * *


Stylish designs: It's very obvious that the LUXX decks of playing cards aren't your average design. The court cards in particular feature some truly beautiful elements and stylish features. This is also true of the card backs, which reflect famous motifs like the Paisley design on the LUXX Palme, or the shiny foil on the LUXX Greille. In their own way, each of these decks feels stylish and unique.

Two designers: Both the LUXX Palme and the LUXX Greille designs were created by Rick Davidson, whereas the Original LUXX (First Edition and Shadow) and the LUXX Elliptica were both created by Randy Butterfield. I'm a big fan of Randy's work, and he's created a wide range of designs that reflects a real diversity of styles - for a comprehensive overview of them all, see my review here. With this series both Rick and Randy have had opportunity to showcase some variety in design, and the LUXX series is all the better for it.

Bordered & borderless: One interesting feature of the LUXX series is how two of the decks are bordered (Original, Greille) while two are borderless (Palme, Elliptica). Both Rick Davidson and Randy Butterfield have each contributed one borderless design to the series, and it's nice to see this kind of variety. While most people might prefer the traditional bordered designs, a deck with full-bleed card-backs that takes advantage of the entire canvas of the card-backs gives new possibilities for design, and has a unique potential to produce elaborate and attractive fans, as is particularly evident with the LUXX Palme deck.

Functional designs: Even though all these decks look very stylish and and refined, they all remain very practical. There's not an excessive degree of customization so that the cards aren't really recognizable anymore. The court cards are very much inspired by traditional designs, and while they have been customized enough to make them look elegant, there remains a very clear connection with the classical style. In addition, the number cards don't have extravagant changes from what most people are used to. The alterations add elegance and refinement, but ensure that the suits and numbers are very readable and clear, whether looking at a card as a whole, or just at the indices.

Legendary tuck boxes: In my estimation, Paul Middleton has made an excellent choice by opting to have all these decks printed by Legends Playing Card Company. When it comes to innovation and luxury in the design of tuck boxes, they are an industry leader. That's certainly evident in the decks in this series, which feature enhancements like embossing, gold foil, and more. A tuck box is your first point of contact with a new deck of playing cards, so it needs to make a positive impression from the outset, and these decks certainly do that. The LUXX Elliptica tuck box immediately confronts you with a rich gold foil pattern, whereas the LUXX Shadow Edition tuck box is darker and yet still very stylish and classy. The LUXX Palme has the wrap-around Paisley design that is its eye-catching signature, while the massive amount of foil of the LUXX Greille is impossible to go unnoticed. In every case, the tuck box makes an immediate statement of refinement and luxury, and impresses from the moment you set eyes on it.

Legendary card quality: Legends Playing Card Company is also renowned for the quality of their playing cards, which they make available in several different finishes: Classic, Elite, Diamond, and Emerald. The LUXX series features examples of the first three of these. With the Gilt Edge Collection, you get one deck in each of these three finishes: The LUXX Shadow Edition features the Diamond Finish, the LUXX Palme the Elite finish, and the LUXX Elliptica the Classic finish, which is also used for the LUXX Greille. The Classic finish is closest to the air cushion finish of a typical USPCC produced deck of playing cards. The Elite finish is similar, but has a different embossing pattern and more papery feel. The Diamond finish has the thinnest card-stock, but is the most durable, and has a great long-lasting snap. All these finishes offer different advantages, and it's largely a matter of personal preference. But one thing is for sure: they are all quality finishes, with crisp, clear, and accurate printing, and durable card-stock, which shuffles and fans beautifully. They also have a diamond cut with super-smooth edges that is significantly superior than any USPCC produced deck. For my thorough reviews on Legends playing cards and their different finishes, see my two feature articles here and here.



Looks: I can't say enough about how amazing the gilded edges look. They have been applied to this deck just beautifully, and clearly this has been done by an expert craftsman who knows what he is doing. It looks absolutely classy, especially when the deck is together as a pile. The gilded edges won't show up that visibly when holding a single card, but look amazing when holding a stack or the entire deck. With nearly all these decks, the gold gilding matches at least one element of card-backs beautifully, and so complements the overall tone of the deck with welcome elegance. The visual impact is significant, and it really adds an extra degree of stylishness and luxury. It especially shines when doing packet cuts - clumps of cards really bring out the best of this deck, and will give you the biggest visual benefit from the gilded edges.

Usable: when I first saw one of the LUXX gilt-edged decks, I imagined it would be consigned to becoming a collector's piece, and that it would be destined to remain in its box in order to preserve its pristine condition. While a gilt-edged certainly can be used that way, it would be a mistake to think that this is its only purpose. Despite its lush appearance, this is by no means a fragile museum piece that cannot be used! You can certainly use it to play games, without fear that subjecting it to shuffling or game-play will ruin it. In fact, I personally believe that actually using a gilt-edged deck for playing card games is one of the best ways to get full enjoyment of a beautiful deck like this!

Handling: The first thing you'll notice with these decks when removing them from the box the first time is that all the cards appear to be stuck together in clumps. That's just a feature of the gilding process, and confirms that the deck has been delivered directly to you from the craftsman who applied the gilding. As a result, you will need to gently pry apart some cards the very first time you use the deck, but that is easily done. One publisher advised the following: "When you decide to break the deck I would first flex the entire deck lengthwise and then just fan the deck slowly, one card at a time, using your thumb to separate any cards that stick together." Once broken in this way, it functions more or less like a normal deck. The handling is affected somewhat, because most of the cards have a tiny lip on the edge. My experienced card flourishing friend was still able to give them a beautiful faro shuffle and lovely cascade flourish without much difficulty, but I expect this could cause cause the gilded edges to wear more quickly. But once the deck is worn, it handles fairly similar to a normal deck, unless you are doing sleight of hand. Because of the gilding, I can't recommend this deck for all kinds of cardistry (although they look beautiful when doing cuts, since these typically involve moving packets of cards!), or for a magician that performs moves relying on sleight of hand - it could be a little less predictable. But aside from that, the gilt edge deck still fans fairly evenly, shuffles well, cuts especially nicely, and for the average person, will function just like a regular deck. I was pleasantly surprised by this, and had expected the gilding to have an even bigger impact on the handling. Evidently the hand process used by LUXX's master craftsman is more effective than a commercial gilder or an automated process.

Durability: To be honest, I wasn't expecting the glossy gold edges on these cards to stand up to a lot of handling. But I wanted to give them a decent trial, so I took one of the decks along on a family holiday, where we used it intensively every day for Cribbage and other traditional card games, and really put it through its paces with heavy shuffling and usage. I was pleasantly surprised how well it stood up! Even after more than a couple of weeks of intense use on a daily basis, the gilded edges still looked shiny and gold. The only real signs of wear were from places where cards had been dropped on a hard floor surface, which would cause visible damage to the edges of cards from any deck. I've read reports of other gilded decks shedding gold specks almost immediately when shuffling, but with these decks the gold gilding didn't flake off while handling the cards or anything like that, but has stood up rather well. Perhaps this is the result of the fact that the decks have been printed by Legends Playing Cards, noted for producing very smooth edges, and that the gilding is the personal handiwork of a master craftsman. So judging from my experience, the gilded edges are very durable, and you shouldn't be seeing any signs of wear after using them a number of times. Expect the luxurious look to last for a decent amount of time, and even though signs of wear will become apparent eventually, my well-used deck still looks impressive.

Gift-worthy: These luxurious decks would be ideal to give away to anyone who enjoys card games, even if they're not a collector. They are all very usable and practical, and yet look incredibly stylish. The ad copy for the Gilt Edge Collection notes the following, which I heartily agree with: "Gilt Edge decks make an absolutely stunning gift for playing card collectors or those that appreciate the finer things in life!"



I knew that these the decks of the Gilt Edge Collection from LUXX would look beautiful, but they have impressed me far more than I could ever have imagined. I expected the gilded edges to look beautiful, of course, and adding gold and silver to the edges of a deck definitely adds a significant look of luxury and class. But I didn't expect this visual beauty to be as durable as it has proved, nor was I expecting the handling of the cards to still be as good as it is. It's hard to imagine a deck of playing cards more stylish and elegant for use in playing games of traditional cards.

What's more, the designs of the LUXX series are creative and attractive, while not departing too far from elements of traditional design, which ensures that they are functional and practical. I can highly recommend the original series for gamers and collectors alike, especially given that they have been produced with a reasonable price-point in mind. And for the person looking for an ideal gift, or for some self-indulgent luxury, you really can't go wrong with the LUXX Gilt-Edge Collection!


Want to learn more?
JP Playing Cards:
LUXX Playing Cards:

Direct links for the decks featured in this review series:
Standard LUXX decks:
- Original LUXX: First Edition (Orange, Blue)
- Original LUXX: Shadow Edition (Gold, Silver)
- LUXX Palme (Red, Blue)
- LUXX Elliptica (Red, Blue, Green, Purple)
- LUXX Greille (Copper/Black, Silver/Blue)
Gilded LUXX decks:
- LUXX Gilt Edge Collection

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