House of cards

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

THE world record for the most decks of playing cards collected by a single person stands at 11,087. If this young Cebuana is set on breaking the world record by the time she hits her retirement age, she would need to collect roughly around 260 decks of different playing cards a year.

The lady doesn’t seem fazed though. She has a total of 70 playing card decks collected at present. Some are the size of bond papers, some the size of matchboxes. “I don’t really have a goal on exactly how many cards I would like to have, but I do imagine myself walking in a room that is full of cards that are mine,” Kara Dorothy Anton reveals.

It looks like she would prefer to maintain a house of cards, in a more literal fashion.


“If I want to, I can (beat the record). The last time I knew about the world record, it was around 11,000 decks owned by a Chinese,” she refers to the record held by a certain Liu Fuchang. “I’m still 17. I’ll have many years of trying to beat that record.”

For a generation that has seemed to trade the enchantment of discovery and wonder for the perks that technology and innovation brings, Kara is among a rare breed of young people today, who find themselves captured by the drawing power of a simple magic trick.

Traditional magicians would pull rabbits out of hats. Then David Copperfield brought it to a whole different level when he made the Statue of Liberty at New York, “disappear” back in 1983. Then the modern era ushered in street magicians, who would broadcast their insane illusions through television programs. Popular acts include masters of trickery David Blaine and Criss Angel.

For Kara, her love for magic began when she was in sixth grade. Her older sister showed her a magic trick and she was so surprised at how it was done. She immediately gathered interest and started watching Criss Angel shows on TV. “After that, I made a choice of being the one who does the trick, rather than being one who just watches.”

Then she started collecting playing cards—decks of playing cards to be exact.

“I started collecting playing cards when my classmate during first year high school gave me a Blue Bicycle Rider Back deck for my birthday. I actually asked for that deck because I fell in love with magic the year before.”

That particular playing deck, a Blue Bicycle Rider Back set, is still present today among her collection. It is in pristine condition, just like the rest of the items.

“Every time I buy a new deck, I always take it out the plastic covering, take out the cards and spread it, and then I put it inside a plastic box to keep it safe. I never use any deck from my collection to play with my friends. I have a different set of cards to play with them,” Kara explains.

Kara is aware that she is not the only one in Cebu who is into collecting playing cards. Most of the people who are into it, are also into cardistry or card flourishing like her. Cardistry—unlike traditional card magic that focuses on illusion—is a practice that trains an individual to master the manipulation of playing cards to display creativity or performance art.

“These cards are my treasures. It’s either I bought it or it was given to me as a gift, I’ve never actually asked money from my mother to buy me these cards, I’ve actually learned to save as well because of this. It’s a real fulfillment seeing my collection grow. I’ve never actually thought of selling these cards, but I intend to keep it for as long as possible and pass it down when the time comes.” (CONTRIBUTED FOTOS)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 23, 2014.


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