Jerry's Nugget playing cards
Jerry's Nugget Casino was founded in 1964 by Jerry Lodge and Jerry Stamis in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1970, the casino printed a special deck of cards that weren't used in their casino, but were sold in their gift shop for fifty cents each. These decks have become highly desired by collectors due to their unique handling qualities, and almost fifty years later they now fetch upwards of $200–500 per deck on the second-hand market.
The signature design of the card backs shows an image of the oil derrick sign from the parking lot of the casino, set against a solid blue or red background. This sign also appears on the deck's joker.
Jerry's Nugget playing cards were supposedly printed in the 1970s for the gaming tables, but never saw any action at the gambling table. They were immediately sold in the gift store thereafter. They were made from top of the line United States Playing Card Company card stock that is no longer available today, and is thinner than most modern playing cards. The chemical finish used for these cards is also not available today due to environmental reasons, meaning that they cannot be replicated.
Jerry's Nugget playing cards were printed in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then were driven to the North Las Vegas casino via trucks where they sat in storage for many years. The playing cards eventually sold out around 1999, after famous French magician and private collector Dominique Duvivier purchased the remaining stock of about 14,000 decks. Jerry's Nugget Casino does not have any plans to reprint them.
The cards became famous after being used by notable card flourishers, who praised them for their unique handling qualities, and as a result they become highly prized and in demand from cardists and collectors. According to fans of these decks, there is something different about the cards that makes them perfect for different types of moves and flourishes. They are renowned for being stiff, holding their form, and being easily manipulated. Dai Vernon, Larry Jennings, Ed Marlo, Lee Asher, Frank Simon, Chris Kenner, Earl Nelson, Dan & Dave Buck, Wayne Houchin, and many other notable sleight of hand artists have been seen playing with Jerry's Nugget playing cards.
In 2008, sophisticated counterfeiters saturated the market with fake Jerry's Nugget playing cards, and upset buyers began posting videos online. While the illegal versions look remarkably genuine, most playing card experts can tell the difference easily.
In 2016 a parody deck entitled Chicken Nugget Playing Cards was created by Taiwanese magician and cardist Hanson Chien. Hanson Chien also acquired an original deck of Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards produced by a different publisher, Arrco Playing Card Company, which features different artwork than the more well-known deck, and may even pre-date it.
In 2019, as a result of a collaboration between Expert Playing Card Company and Jerry's Nugget Casino, a successful project was launched to recreate the decks in a modern finish and a vintage finish. Reprintings of the Jerry's Nugget design have since been released in multiple colours.
- Jerry's Nuggets Casino
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