Cartamundi’s purchase of the U.S. Playing Card Company has rocked the magic world. Although the sale is not scheduled to be final until this summer, it has already set a bright line between the pro-sale and anti-sale forces.
As the fives of loyal readers of Inside Magic know, we do not take an official position on the conglomeration or acquisition of companies related to magic or the variety arts.
[Yes, we recall that this hard-and-fast rule was broken on two occasions: the merger of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (Martin & Lewis Combo Doomed to Failure!) (July 24, 1945); and the manufacturer of fine wood magical pieces, Tree Top Trix, with metal and Plexiglas® effects maker Modern Magic Studios (What Do You Get When You Combine Wood and Plastic? We Don’t Know But We Wouldn’t Eat It) (April 12, 1966). As it turns out, we were wrong on both counts. Martin & Lewis went on to be very successful and Top Plastrix turned out some great effects (although only one was digestible and even then only inadvertently and the subject of much litigation leading to the magic studio’s ultimate bankruptcy. “Mini-Marbles from Nowhere” was a trick just begging to be Exhibit A in litigation,” New York Times, February 19, 1972)]
We do know that USPC was one of many brands owned by Newell Brands along with Paper Mate, Parker, Elmer’s, Rubbermaid and Yankee Candle, to name a few. USPC was one of many diverse products within the Newell Brands portfolio. It’s proud history, though, stretched back to the late 1800s and found its roots in Norwood, Ohio. It provided special cards for soldiers in the Spanish-American War and World Wars I and II. It even worked to produce cards that could be used to help POWs escape.
Cartamundi (“cards for the world”) has been printing pasteboards since the 1700s and appears to be solely focused on games and cards. Its web page says they have 11 manufacturing plants and over 2,200 employees.
We love our Bee decks and do not leave home without them. We have walked out of our palatial (in the sense that Marie Antoinette’s very last home was a palace) dwelling without our fake teeth, toupee, wallet, and rodent – the fake teeth and toupee are for the rodent, the wallet is ours – but never without a Bee deck of cards.
We have confidence that Cartamundi will continue the production of our favorite cards with the same care and quality control as USPC and for a magician that is all for which we can hope. We have no vested interest in either company but are very much concerned that the historic brands we have loved will be loved by the company now dedicated to manufacturing and selling them.
Check out the Cartamundi / USPC press release here.
View the Cartamundi website here.