In the glorious age of technology, there are more places to find antique decks than at your local vintage shop or flea market (though those are great places!). Here are a few sites great for finding old decks, specialty decks, new decks, and everything in between.
- eBay: If you’re already reading this article, chances are, you’ve searched eBay for vintage cards before—but it’s definitely worth a mention. Try adding keywords to your playing card search such as “antique,” “vintage,” “collectible,” “rare,” “limited edition,” “first edition,” “second edition,” and so on.
- Etsy: While Etsy.com is the internet home of handmade items, they’re also purveyors of all kinds of vintage goods. [www.etsy.com/browse/vintage-category] Shop owners often have plenty of vintage goods to sell, and many have vintage decks. If you search for “playing cards” in the search bar, all kinds of results pop up. Use the options on the left-hand side of the site to personalize the search (try clicking “collectibles” or “paper ephemera”) to see what’s available. Some listings may have a single card, while others are complete decks. Sometimes the decks are antiques; other times it’s a newer (but one-of-a-kind) find.
- Gamesetal.net: Games Et Al is a British-based website dedicated to the sale and collection of vintage and antique playing cards. Even if you aren’t a buyer, their collection is well worth browsing just to get an eyeful of the beautiful decks. It’s split into categories like “European Cards to 1900,” “English Playing Cards Illustrated 1650 to 1901,” “Boxed Games,” and many more. Click on the deck photos to the left of each description for a more detailed view.
- Kardwell.com: This site not only includes playing cards, but also card supplies like chips, boards, and game-specific supplies for bridge, craps, and more. In addition, they have newer decks with vintage card back designs (just try searching “vintage decks”).
- 52 Plus Joker: One of our favorite sites for playing card history, 52 Plus Joker gives their members access to all kinds of vintage and antique decks. Their quarterly catalogue is full of news and info about playing cards, and their mail-in auctions throughout the year are stuffed with collectible and rare decks.
Finally, the International Playing Card Society has a great list of resources for anyone interested in learning more about or buying vintage decks.
Are you a collector of vintage decks? Do you have any particular resources or tips for finding decks? Share your wisdom in our Comments section!