Difference between Bicycle Maiden Back Marked Cards and Penguin Magic Marked Cards

Feb 22, 2019
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0
Now this question might sound stupid, but I'm confused. Is there a difference between the Bicycle Maiden Back Marked Cards and Penguin Magic Marked Cards? I mean both are selling at almost the same price on the Penguin Magic website. If there is can you help me with:
1. Which one is easier to read?
2. Which one has a more hidden marking system?
3. Any additional bonuses to the decks (Double Backers, Blank Cards, etc)

I believe that both come in mnemonica.

Please help out!!
 

Antonio Diavolo

Elite Member
Jan 2, 2016
1,097
883
24
California
Now this question might sound stupid, but I'm confused. Is there a difference between the Bicycle Maiden Back Marked Cards and Penguin Magic Marked Cards? I mean both are selling at almost the same price on the Penguin Magic website. If there is can you help me with:
1. Which one is easier to read?
2. Which one has a more hidden marking system?
3. Any additional bonuses to the decks (Double Backers, Blank Cards, etc)

I believe that both come in mnemonica.

Please help out!!
I think there are multiple different marked maiden back decks. Bicycle has a trademark on their standard "rider back" design as well as their ace of spades. I think it basically prohibits people from altering their back design in any significant way.
So it's really difficult/expensive (but not impossible) to get marked (and gaff) decks with the rider back design. That's why so many people make marked/gaffed decks using maiden (or mandolin) back cards. Penguin Magic's marked deck is a Maiden back deck, so you could be talking about the same deck. Do you have a link to the other Bicycle Maiden Marked deck you are referring to?

I do own a couple decks of the Penguin marked deck so I can tell you about it:
  • The deck is a reader back deck and the markings are very clear so it's very easy to use as the magician. However, they can be rather obvious if someone is looking for them. That's why it's important to not treat your marked deck like a marked deck. That basically means you shouldn't spend a lot of time looking at the back, which is easy with this deck as the markings are clear. I personally prefer reader back decks for this reason. The markings may be more obvious, but that also means that I won't have to do any sort of mental work to figure out what the card is. So, the easy to read design has it's advantages and disadvantages.
  • Each card is marked for value and suit in 6 places (2 marks on each of the long sides and one on each of the short edges) so you'll always be able to read them no matter how the cards are laid out or spread.
  • The deck does come in mnemonica stack and comes with (unmarked) duplicate jokers, a double backer, and a blank card. Plus, you get a download with Rick Lax (I know he makes cringe Facebook content but he's actually a very good teacher, performer, and creator) teaching you a few easy tricks with the marked deck.
  • The newer runs of the deck are printed on Penguin's new thin "Elite" stock, so they handle super well.
 

j.bayme

ceo / theory11
Team member
Jul 23, 2007
2,853
365
New York City
theory11 created the Maiden back design and developed the original marking system thereof with Andy Nyman, with additional input from Steve Cohen. I'm biased (!!) for that reason, but I think our system is the most deceptive, and favored by many top mentalists who use The Code.

Note that after purchase of The Code, we enable refills (for $9.95) in your My Account area at theory11!
 

Antonio Diavolo

Elite Member
Jan 2, 2016
1,097
883
24
California
So here are the links to the decks I was referring to:

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/8474

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S25194

Is this the same deck?
No actually. I think the second link you sent is a more hidden marking system because it definitely isn't the same one on the Penguin marked deck.

theory11 created the Maiden back design and developed the original marking system thereof with Andy Nyman, with additional input from Steve Cohen. I'm biased (!!) for that reason, but I think our system is the most deceptive, and favored by many top mentalists who use The Code.

Note that after purchase of The Code, we enable refills (for $9.95) in your My Account area at theory11!
I had no idea that T11 created the maiden design! That's really cool!
 
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Mar 15, 2018
247
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boardgamegeek.com
Yep yep! This was created around the time The Code was first released.
Are you sure this is correct? The Code first appeared in 2013.

According to information I received, the origin of the Maiden Backs lies in the work of Geno Munari (from Houdini's Magic) and magician Boris Wild.

Geno produced the Gambler's Marked Deck in 2008, using the Rider Back design, which was the very first factory printed Bicycle-branded deck that combined a reader system of markings with a stack.

Around 2010 USPCC had taken steps to protect their intellectual property, and from then onwards marked decks using the trademarked Rider Backs were no longer allowed. So to get the Gambler's Marked Deck reprinted at that time, they had to develop an alternative. I was told that it was
Geno Munari and Boris Wild who played a key role in the development and design of the Maiden Back design at that time. The Gamblers Marked Deck was subsequently reprinted on Maiden Backs.

If that was around 2010, how can Theory11 have been the ones who developed the Maiden Back design in conjunction with The Code, which only came out in 2013? Or is my information incorrect?

I would appreciate clarification on this point, since I am currently writing an article about marked decks that incorporate a stack, and am covering both the Gambler's Marked Deck and also The Code.
 

Lyle Borders

Elite Member
Aug 5, 2008
1,604
859
Seattle, WA
www.theory11.com
This is less for @EndersGame since he received this information directly from Jonathan (CEO of theory11) via email, but here is the info from Jonathan:

The final art design (Maiden Back) was developed by theory11, in collaboration with USPC leadership for the exact purpose you mentioned.

The correct timeline is as follows:

- In July 2011, USPC began the process of developing a close alternative to Bicycle Rider Back, but the design wasn't "there" yet. I don't know who worked on the first draft - but I believe much of that first draft was done in-house at USPC.

- On August 19th, 2011, theory11 was commissioned to re-work on the design, and we began collaboration with USPC leadership on the art in multiple rounds of revisions on August 22nd, August 25th, August 26th (example), September 2nd, September 6th, and September 8th.

- The final art was approved by US Playing Card on September 8th, and available at that point for any custom card clients (of USPC) to modify and use as desired.

- On January 12th, 2012, theory11 started working with Andy Nyman on ideas on how to mark this deck, and we utilized the same illustrator that designed it to start marking it.

- A press release was drafted on February 3rd, 2012 by theory11 and USPC, announcing the new design.

- The trademark was filed by US Playing Card on February 8th, 2012, using the exact final design submitted by theory11.


// L
 
Oct 4, 2022
79
21
I hope y’all don’t mind me joining this conversation a bit late. The information above was very interesting, thanks!

The Maiden Back design is excellent, by the way, as it leaves more room for marking than the 808’s. Great job, Theory 11!

I am looking for the ‘less obvious’ marked version of the Maiden Back, so far in vain -- the one in the 2nd link provided by aizazkhan above. It seems to be out of stock everywhere.

There appear to be not only the Penguin-style obvious markings (where 4 is 4 and A is A), but the same on Bicycle Maiden Backs, as at https://www.ruten.com.tw/item/show?21821052674660, as well as a third style (also on Bicycle Maiden Backs, in which there are no alphanumeric (reader) markings except a reasonably well camouflaged stack order numeral at the top center, and the other symbols (for the current deck, on left, replacing a Maiden back ‘horn’ shape with dots in it, and on the right for the prior card) are warped beyond recognition but quite learnable for some, as in the 2nd link provided by aizazkhan above, where e.g. K looks like two intersecting semicircles, plus a dot in the open space).

The frustrating thing is that I would like to get my hands on this third, affordable ‘warped’ style *without* reader marks (and which is not locked into a bundled package with a video, thus more affordable to a home hobbyist on a tight budget after huge medical bills). The Code looks awesome but I already know how to use a marked deck, I don’t want any reader marks, and I don’t need all the flexibility in it, so it’s not for me. I will say that the availability of refills is excellent, but it doesn’t change the fact that some users won’t want reader marks yet want an 808-like, Maiden or Mandolin look (unlike many alternative systems).

At the many sites I checked, locally (Taiwan) and abroad (US), the latter two Bicycle Maiden Back systems are both confusingly listed under the same name, Bicycle Maiden Back, and at only one website as Bicycle Maiden Back VF v2. Both are identified as USPCC, but whether USPCC designed and owns them, or merely prints them for someone, is not clear. Worse yet, despite the existence of the above two (reader and ‘warped’) “Bicycle Maiden Back marked cards, at some sellers only the term ‘Bicycle Maiden Back, Marked’ is given, with a picture of an apparently unmarked Maiden Back shown (as at https://playingcarddecks.com/products/marked-maiden-back-bicycle-playing-cards-blue-red and https://www.amazon.com/Maiden-Back-Bicycle-Playing-Cards/dp/B079NR9CMD?th=1), and in all cases, where a picture is shown of the ‘warped’ they are listed as out of stock and in one case as roughly ‘discontinued – if you are the manufacturer please contact us’ (Penguin).

So could anyone please clarify who designed and owns the non-reader VF v2 with ‘warped’ marks, and whether the latter are indeed discontinued or just temporarily out of stock? Are they actually available and in stock anywhere? I can easily, after studying the system, identify the symbols with a mere glance, perhaps due to my experience with paleography, oracle bones and Chinese writing, and would strongly prefer this system, as it would pass close scrutiny by spectators (who are just family and friends in my case).

Many thanks in advance for any assistance!

-Kent, in Taipei
 
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