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High Fidelity Playing Cards

1x deck: US$15 each
Multiple decks: $25 for 2x decks, $46 for 4x, $76 for 6x, $150 for 12x
Early bird prices: $11 for 1x deck, $22 for 2x, $44 for 4x, $110 for 12x
Uncut sheet: $35

Kickstarter ends: September 18, 2020

As a result of a collaboration between Sky Nerd Studios (Landry Sanders) and Black Ink Playing Cards (Jody Eklund), comes a beautiful classic looking deck of playing cards which has just launched for funding on Kickstarter, entitled: High Fidelity Playing Cards. Self described as a "re-imagined hand-drawn upscale deck, inspired by Goodall's rare scroll-work playing cards made around 1899", this classy set of playing cards showcases two main influences: a beautiful and historic Charles Goodall deck, as well as the Victorian phonograph.

The deck's name already hints at its Victorian inspiration, with the designation "High Fidelity" having musical significance, as well as pointing to the fact that it draws its designs from a stunning 19th century Goodall deck that it reimagines. As we look at this deck, we're to imagine famous playing card designer Charles Goodall himself, listening to his phonograph, as he puts together some of the most stunning court cards that were produced in the Victorian era.


Sky Nerd Studios describes itself as "a design studio that creates custom house plans, playing cards, art, handmade leather goods, video and photography." It's the home of artist Landry Sanders, who has used crowdfunding to bring several decks to the market already, including his Unusual Designs deck, along with his colourful Rainbow Illusion deck and its vibrant sequel, Rainbow Illusion V2 deck.

But with this latest deck, Landry has teamed up with rockstar designer Jody Eklund, the man behind Black Ink Playing Cards, and a popular creator with many fine custom decks to his credit, and noted for his attention to unique historically inspired artwork.


The design of the magnificent tuck box for this deck owes its origin to Jody Eklund, and it immediately captivates with a lavish look. The dark blue card stock is adorned with copper foil on both sides, with a particularly extravagant design on the back and sides, highlighting the luxury that lies within.

The card-backs feature monochrome artwork that reprises the luxurious pattern of foil on the back of the tuck box, but a more simple look helps give attention to the design itself, and also ensures that the cards retain somewhat of a classic feel that reflects the time.


Now for my favourite part: the court cards, which have their origins in a Charles Goodall design from 1899. Many decks of playing cards today owe their classic look to designs that have been preserved and modified across the corridors of history. In this case, Landry has opted to use a special design based on a deck produced by the Charles Goodall company in London.

Here's a comparison between a card from the original Charles Goodall deck, and an in-progress work as this deck was on its way to its final form as seen in the Kickstarter project.


The name of Goodall & Sons is an important one in the history of playing cards, because this company produced as many as two-thirds of the playing cards printed in Britain. By the time the dynasty's founder, Charles Goodall (1785-1851), handed over the business to his two sons in the mid-1800s, they were already producing more than 2 million decks every year.

But it's the clarity and classic beauty of the many Charles Goodall designs that led them to be adopted and copied by other manufacturers around the globe, and these designs are one of the major influences behind the designs of modern court cards. The particular deck used as a source for the High Fidelity project was produced in 1899, and is an uncommon deck with detailed scroll work and ornamental patterns.


A vintage colour theme adds to the overall authenticity and feel. While the court cards have a standard look that is immediately familiar, they look instantly different from modern decks, courtesy of their more elaborate and dignified appearance. Thin borders around the edges of the cards add to a unique and distinctive look.

The pips on all the cards have a very classic feel, chiefly evident with the Club suit.


As usual, the Ace of Spades lives up to its billing as being a center-piece, with a more elaborate and artistic design.

Fine details here include a reference to Black Ink Playing Cards, which is emblazoned on a scroll. Also in the middle of a richly ornamented pattern is the recurring shape of a phonograph.


The Phonograph theme also returns on the Jokers, again reminding us of the Victorian origins that inspired this deck.

The final version of this deck will be produced by Legends Playing Card Company (LPCC) using their Classic finish. LPCC is an industry leader known for producing high quality playing cards in Taiwan, and their playing cards are noted for having the accurate printing registration which is essential for this deck. They're also very durable and handle smoothly, and the Classic Finish is a fine choice to ensure a quality product which matches the beauty of the artwork.


I love the inspirations that Landry has drawn on for this forthcoming High Fidelity deck. The Charles Goodall design from 1899 is absolutely stunning, and the vintage look evident in the court cards produces a classic feel.

The Victorian era phonograph fits in well with the period that this captures, and everything works together nicely to create an authentic period piece, while still being very functional and practical for daily use in card games, card magic, or even for discerning collectors.


Kickstarter: High Fidelity Playing Cards (ends September 18, 2020)
Prices: $15 for 1x deck, $25 for 2x, $46 for 4x, $76 for 6x, $150 for 12x
Early bird: $11 for 1x deck, $22 for 2x, $44 for 4x, $110 for 12x
Uncut sheet: $35

Creators: Sky Nerd Studios (Landry Sanders) and Black Ink Playing Cards (Jody Eklund)


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