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Monarchs Playing Cards by Theory11

Monarchs luxury playing cards by Theory11, featured in the film Now You See Me.

Above: plastic seal with a crown and "esto perpetue" which is Latin for may you last forever, synonymous with typical regal motto long live the king. See the seal on the box.

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Nonarchs Playing Cards is one of Theory11's most popular decks, a cornerstone of their mission to "create the most breathtaking, luxury, designer playing cards". Their success is reflected by the pack being stocked in highstreet retailers such as Walmart and Target, as well as having multiple reprints over the years. Created in 2012, Monarchs was one of the first luxury decks to be produced, and is now seen as essential for luxury deck collectors. Considered by cardist and blogger Tim Silva an "instant classic" and a must-have.

Artist Curtis Jinkins (Neighborhood Studio>) says the guidelines for designing the deck were for it to have a "regal" theme and that the deck be "fit for a king". An open design brief. Jinkins notes that "the graphics had to be restructured to accommodate the theme" which was suppliemented by luxury printing techniques. Because it is a "casino quality" deck it was decided to keep the courts standard, so "magicians and dealers get instant recognition". The box received a lot attention during the design process as Jinkins points out "there were probably ten different iterations of the box front before the final design."

Theory11 have trademarked the backs "two snakes entwined around a vertical sword" design (see detail ) including the wordmark which says "regis de duobus malis, minus est sempereligendum", which in Latin means of two evils, the lesser must always be chosen, and the word regis which in Latin means king or monarch. Theory11 clearly take their brand very seriously. See the registered trademark

Theory11 says that "these are - by far - the best playing cards ever produced."

They look like they belong in a palace. Gold foil surrounds the elegant, navy blue box design. The gold metallic foil is striking, with a vintage, timeless aesthetic. They're absolutely breathtaking - and they feel as good as they look.

The deck was also featured throughout the film Now You See Me, where a team of talented illusionists and street magicians heist a huge amount of money from corrupt businessmen and funnel the money to audience members.

Theory11 focuses on the production of luxury decks for pop-culture franchises such as Harry Potter and James Bond

There are 56 cards in the deck: 52 playing cards, 2 jokers, 2 gaff cards. The gaff cards serve as advertisements for Theory11, with their slogan "the ultimate high-end luxury playing cards".

Above: the front of the box.

Above: the back of the box.

Above: Daniel Radcliffe stars in Now You See Me alongside Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

Top Row: a selection of courts (each with gold metallic ink) and the back. Bottom Row: Two ad cards, custom ace of spades and joker.

References

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By Adam Wintle

Member since March 15, 1997

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Adam has been involved in developing the site as well as reviewing new decks and conducting research. He is particularly interested in innovation, Kickstarter and East Asian cards. He is a member of the IPCS and webmaster of the EPCS.


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