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Cotta's Almanac Transformation Playing Cards (1810) - Reproduction Deck #5 (Kickstarter)

1810 "Pantheon" Deck 5 of 6 in a series - Precisely Hand-Recreated & Printed by USPCC - 2 Limited Editions

Cost: ~US$10 per standard deck, US$12 for limited edition deck
Current funding level: already funded!
Kickstarter ends: Thursday July 1, 2021


Transformation playing cards involve cleverly incorporating the pips on the cards into a larger picture. So an imaginative artist might transform the Heart pips into faces, the Diamond pips into hats, or the Club pips into paw prints. Transformation playing cards exhibit a level of creativity and ingenuity like few other decks, because the artists creating them must work within the limitations produced by the need to incorporate the pips into their design, and work with this in a creative, imaginative, and original manner.

Transformation playing cards first started appearing in the 1800s, and especially in the latter half of the nineteenth century there was a real boom. But the honour of the very first published and complete deck of transformation cards goes to Johann Freidrich Cotta, the man at the helm of publishing house J.G. Cotta from Tübingen, Germany, around 1804. J.F. Cotta went on to produce a series of six playing card almanacs in successive years from 1805-1811, with a new deck appearing in all but one of those years.

A special project is underway, spearheaded by Will Roya from PlayingCardDecks, to produce reproductions of these rare and historic decks. Roya has engaged the assistance of graphic designer Azured Ox, who recreates the cards digitally. The plan is to produce all six Cotta decks individually over the next year or two. The first deck of the series has already been printed and will be available from the publisher soon, and the second deck is now up for crowdfunding on Kickstarter.


The fifth deck of the playing card almanac series was issued in 1810, and was themed around the classical pantheon of gods. The court cards depict various mythological characters, while the number cards include caricatures of famous people like Napoleon, and a variety of comical subjects.

As with the previous reproduction decks produced by Will Roya and PlayingCardDecks, the Cotta decks are being printed by United States Playing Card Company, makers of the well-known Bicycle brand. This means we can expect a quality product with good looks and good handling. Funding will come with the help of Kickstarter, and Will Roya is an experienced and respected creator with a proven track record. He has often used crowdfunding to produce his decks, typically with a fairly quick turnaround.


The Cotta transformation decks are extremely significant, given the many transformation decks they subsequently inspired, and the unique place they occupy in playing card history. To be able to enjoy them in a fine modern version that carefully reproduces these keystone decks is a real privilege, and I'm delighted that these classics are being brought to contemporary audiences with a quality edition!

The five previous reproduction decks in this series can be purchased here.


Here is an article with more information about the whole project: The Famous J.G. Cotta Transformation Decks.

Kickstarter link:

The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Hot off the Press! » » Kickstarter: Cotta's Almanac Transformation Playing Cards (1810) - Reproduction Deck #5 (0 Likes)
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