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Published January 04, 2023 Updated January 05, 2023

The Bird by Kings Wild Project

Originally titled Oriole Playing Cards, based on a deck produced by The New York Consolidated Card Company in 1912.

2022 USA Kings Wild Project New York Consolidated Card Co Tongheng Printing United States Playing Card Co. Vintage Reimagined Jackson Robinson Luxury Add to Collection

Above: the limited edition box seal.

The Bird playing cards was released as part of Kings Wild Project's Vintage Reimagined subscription, where members receive a custom designed deck every other month. Vintage Reimagined is a six deck series featuring artist Jackson Robinson's reimagining of antique decks produced between 1880 and 1900. The series aims to preserve the spirit and theme of these classic decks while incorporating Robinson's own design style. Robinson says “these reimagined decks have played a significant role in my inspiration and evolution as a playing card designer”.

The Bird was originally titled Oriole Playing Cards, based on the Oriole #912 deck first produced by The New York Consolidated Card Company in 1912. Through a series of acquisitions NYCCC eventually merged into the United States Playing Card Company.

Above: the box.

Above: The jokers compared. Left: the 1912 New York Consolidated Card Company version. Center: early concept art shared by Jackson Robinson, which more closely resembles the original Oriole design. Right: the final 2022 King's Wild version.

Robinson intended to manufacture the deck with USPCC, but after a copyright dispute in which Robinson claims the original deck is now in the public domain and that “USPCC gave me the ultimatum to take both "By Jackson Robinson and Kings Wild Project" off all elements, tuck box, Ace of Spades and joker, or I can't make the Oriole deck”.

Robinson says that “USPCC is starting to want me to take my business elsewhere”. Ultimately the deck was renamed to The Bird and was printed by Tongheng Printing based in China, a company that Robinson has worked with previously for foiled decks and puzzles.

It's also interesting to note that the joker says the deck is "Made in the U.S.A" and the bottom of the box says "Made in the PRC".

Above: The ace of spades compared, the 2022 King's Wild Version and the 1912 New York Consolidated Card Company version.

The deck reviewed here is the Gilded Edition tier with a limited print run of 400 (see the box and numbered seal ), which includes metallic orange foiling typical of a luxury collectable deck. The cards come in a standard tuck box, which is presented inside another rigid 'The Bird' branded sleeve-box which Robinson designed to replicate the old leather slip cases that decks used to come in.

Above: The backs compared. Left: the 2022 King's Wild version. Right: the 1912 New York Consolidated Card Company version.

Robinson collaborated with Jay McKinstry, author of Paper Empires as well expert on vintage American decks and their manufacturers. McKinstry says via email “I’ve been working with Jackson Robinson in the background, providing him with antique and vintage inspiration. I have provided him with the pictures and history for each deck of the Vintage Reimagined series so far. Together we've done Texan ‘45, El Dorado, Empire and Oriole.” and that “from the turn of the century until the 1920s, NYCCC was heavily involved in creating unique and colourful brands. Oriole is very much a culmination of these efforts.

Additional research and images kindly provided from the collection of Jay McKinstry. Visit Jay's blog ►

References

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By Adam Wintle

Member since March 15, 1997

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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