A Question (and possibly a rant) About Tuck Box Sticker Seals

Mar 5, 2020
2
1
Hello all,

First-time poster here, so please point me in the right direction if this isn’t the place to post this.

I have collected playing cards for over 30 years. I don’t play card games of any kind, and while I absolutely love card magic/illusion, I’ve never really attempted it myself. I’m a graphic designer and I love collecting playing cards solely for their unique designs and illustrations.

I have a question/rant that’s been bugging me for a while now.

I just received my order of Theory11’s James Bond 007 playing cards. They're beautiful, but I'm not here to review them. I bought multiples… you know… one to stock, one to rock, etc, etc. Just like every other Theory11 deck I’ve ordered, I crack one open to admire. I try to peel the sticker seal off and like many decks I’ve opened before it, it a) leaves behind a bunch of nasty residue, b) peels half the sticker off, leaving an unsightly white paper half-sticker behind or c) some combination of both.

I don’t know the history of sticker seals on playing cards. I assume it has to do with casinos? …when a dealer would open a new deck at a table the seal proved it was a new, untouched deck? I honestly don’t know. I would appreciate some knowledge on the topic.

Anyway, why do some card companies make these stickers with such strong adhesive? I imagine (but could be wrong) a lot of people buy these cards more for collector purposes than anything else. At the very least, wouldn’t a consumer want to enjoy the deck as it was sold to them on the website? Go to just about any card product page on Theory11’s site, or any other luxury card company’s site, and fully half of their photo marketing focuses on the beautiful tuck boxes they are clearly very proud of and put a lot of effort into designing.

Some card companies I’ve purchased from have very mild adhesive on their sticker seals, which I love. I can peel the sticker off, put it on a blank card to save, and the tuck box remains in perfect condition, so it can be appreciated in the way the designers clearly intended. I can’t show off the top of my 007 tuck box to friends and expect them to see the cool “Bond. James Bond” message the website proudly displays in their marketing photo. Instead, mine says “BonXXXXXXXXXond.”

Anyone else have the same issue with playing card sticker seals?

Thanks for reading my rant.
 
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Reactions: 010rusty
Oct 2, 2018
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The seals have their origins in tax/revenue stickers. While the tax on playing cards ended in 1965, companies still apply the seal.

Personally, I have refrained from buying some decks simply because the seal needs to be broken in order to open the tuck...depends on the deck. Sometimes the seals detract from the overall aesthetic of the tuck. But I share your point of view that the seals can be a source of frustration. Wish I had the $$ to just get 2 of every deck..but that is not an option. I've also tried to remove some of the seals....you can probably guess how that went. I would be OK if they went the way of the dinosaurs. I have never bought a deck because of the seal design, and quite a few tucks in my collection don't even have them. But I'm interested in what other people think.
 
Mar 5, 2020
2
1
Thanks for the origins information! I never would have thought that.

Generally, Theory11's decks have had hassle-free sticker seals. Off the top of my head, the Neil Patrick Harris, Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Union and Hotel Roosevelt decks all had seals that came off easily and with no residue. The James Bond deck was impossible to take off without ruining the top of the tuck box. I was really disappointed. Places like Art of Play and Ellusionist (can I mention competitors names here?) don't use seals on all of their decks, but when they do, I've only had intermittent problems.

I too wish the seal went the way of the dodo. They don't cause problems often, but just enough, and on just the right decks, to make it very annoying.
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,553
3,813
New Jersey
Here is the trick.... Press the seal down so you can see the indentation of the half circle on the front of the box. Use an X=Acto knife to cut the seal along the half circle and then cut along the top of the front of the box. The seal remains in place and you can open the deck.
 

Lyle Borders

vp of operations // theory11
Staff member
Aug 5, 2008
1,563
786
Seattle, WA
www.theory11.com
Thanks for the origins information! I never would have thought that.

Generally, Theory11's decks have had hassle-free sticker seals. Off the top of my head, the Neil Patrick Harris, Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Union and Hotel Roosevelt decks all had seals that came off easily and with no residue. The James Bond deck was impossible to take off without ruining the top of the tuck box. I was really disappointed. Places like Art of Play and Ellusionist (can I mention competitors names here?) don't use seals on all of their decks, but when they do, I've only had intermittent problems.

I too wish the seal went the way of the dodo. They don't cause problems often, but just enough, and on just the right decks, to make it very annoying.

We keep the seals for the same reason we keep jokers, and the suits, we use, and the Ace through King - playing card tradition. It is what is expected. Not all decks have them (we even have a couple that don't!) but they are there because they are a familiar part of playing cards.

The seal originally would not have been meant to be removed. It was a permanent part of the deck, showing that tax had been paid on that item.

Our seals aren't designed to be removed either. We actually have intentionally gone to very strong, permanent adhesives in order to keep the seals from coming off the tucks between application and the cello wrap. Because we tend to use nice, high quality papers on our seals the have a measure of fold resistance, and they don't like being folded around the edge of the tuck. Without strong adhesives, they un-attach on one side and that... makes a mess.

The seals are a part of the artwork, and we intend for them to stay in place. Your preference may be to remove them (go for it!) but that isn't our purpose for them. Like you would have to break a tax stamp, our decks are really intended to have the seal broken upon opening. You can do it sloppy so it looks terrible, or you can take time and use a thin knife to cut it open nicely. I am often at my desk when new cards come in, so I cut along the half-moon thumb cutout with an X-acto knife. This leaves the artwork mostly intact when the tuck is closed, and it leaves no residue or loose seal anywhere to gum up my cards.

For our decks, if the seal comes off nicely it is likely because the paper used for the tuck just happened to give a weaker attachment to the seal. We use the same adhesives for all of them, and have for several years now.

// L
 

Lyle Borders

vp of operations // theory11
Staff member
Aug 5, 2008
1,563
786
Seattle, WA
www.theory11.com
Here is the trick.... Press the seal down so you can see the indentation of the half circle on the front of the box. Use an X=Acto knife to cut the seal along the half circle and then cut along the top of the front of the box. The seal remains in place and you can open the deck.

This is how I open EVERY deck.

// L
 

zombieripper

Elite Member
Dec 7, 2013
34
37
Theory11 does a lot with tuck seals, instead of just using one generic seal for every deck. I think the amount of effort that goes into the seal makes or breaks the value of having it on the box. If the seal is really nice I'll try to preserve it by gently scraping a sharp knife under the edge of the seal until I can lift the tuck flap, then I'll put the seal back down across the flap, or remove it. A Q-tip with a little rubbing alcohol can take off the glue residue from the box. That being said, for most seals I prefer the RealityOne method mentioned above. I really like the tuck seal from the 5th & Laurel deck. Does anyone here have a favorite seal?
 
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Reactions: ForceProof101
Dec 30, 2020
12
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I wish everyone would offset the seals which would make cutting them hassle and worry free.
 
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