Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards Almost every hobby that involves collecting has a holy grail which every collector dreams of finding and owning in their personal collection. For some playing card collectors, the grail of collecting would be a sealed deck of original Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards in pristine condition. If you've spent some time in the world of playing cards, you'll almost certainly have heard of this famous deck, because name-dropping the famous "Jerry's Nuggets" often happens in discussion forums about cards. Owning an original deck of these is often mentioned as a badge of honour that cements your credentials as a serious collector. If you have one, it's likely a prized item in your collection, because it is one of the most iconic and valuable decks of cards there is from the latter half of the 20th century. These playing cards were first created in 1970 in order to be used at Jerry's Nugget Casino, which is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The casino was founded by Jerry Lodge and Jerry Stamis in 1964, hence the name "Jerry". It's still owned and operated by the Stamis family today. But after being manufactured, the Jerry's Nugget playing cards were put into storage for around 20 years, and were never used on the casino's gaming tables. Why? Even the folks at the casino don't remember the reasons why. Was it because they wanted to keep in step with the other casinos in town that were using borderless Bee-backed cards at the time? Was it because the back design was too detailed or too simple, and could be marked too easily by card cheats? Who knows. At any rate, they were sometimes offered as complimentary gifts to guests who stayed at the casino, while the rest were eventually sold individually at the casino's gift store for as little as one or two dollars each. They finally sold out around 1999, and according to rumour the final case was purchased by an overseas buyer.. But with magician and playing card expert Lee Asher singing their praises and selling them on his website, and with cardists Dan and Dave Buck also getting on the bandwagon, using them in some of their cardistry videos, and vouching for them, demand only continued to grow. What made these playing cards special is that they were produced with a top-of-the-line grade of USPCC card-stock that was only produced for a limited period of time. It is thinner than most contemporary playing cards, and is simply not available today. What's more, modern printing methods simply can't replicate the original process used to produce these playing cards. This involved a cotton roller that would paint the embossing pattern on one side of the card, followed by a varnished finish that was applied by a dip coat technique. Environmental restrictions also mean that the chemical finish used for this has been abandoned. In short, technology has made these manufacturing methods completely obsolete, and this all means that it's just not possible for there to be anything quite like these decks ever again. That in itself wouldn't make them the stuff of legend. But Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards began to develop a legendary reputation for amazing handling qualities. Demand began to increase, and over time, they have become highly sought after by playing card collectors and by those with an interest in card flourishing. As demand increased, the price went up, and their growing scarcity means that today you can expect to pay up to $500 for a deck on the secondary market. As often happens in such cases, the story of Jerry's Nuggets Playing Cards began to attract some interesting side stories. There are reports about a large remaining haul of these playing cards being bought up from the gift shop, and held back by an unknown stranger who is sitting on what is now a valuable commodity. They also attracted the attention of counterfeiters, since the increasing price-tag suddenly made it viable to sell forgeries. Lee Asher has an extensive guide that contains information to help you identify illegal fakes, after sophisticated counterfeiters began flooding the market with them just over a decade ago. But all this has only served to add to the legend that is Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards. Today most playing card collectors and magicians have all heard of Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards, and consider them to be the stuff of legend: a unique product with legendary handling, that is hard to find, and impossible to reproduce. As the old adage puts it, it's something often imitated but never duplicated. And as the number of playing card collectors continues to grow, the appeal, scarcity, and value of a deck of authentic Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards only continues to increase.