I have carefully looked after and preserved this precious single card since being given it many years ago by a fellow collector. The story behind it is an interesting one. In 1971, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) decided that they wanted to offer crew members on long duration space missions playing cards which would be safe in the 100% oxygen atmosphere of a spacecraft cabin. Playing cards, by nature, may be harmless, but not in space because, in a pure oxygen environment, flammable materials such as paper cards could intensify a fire. NASA therefore commissioned a pack (or packs) to be printed on fireproof paper.
The design on the back features the NASA symbol in the centre against the background of the familiar ‘Bicycle’ design. The face of this card is blank.
Did this card actually make it into space? I don’t know. Was the experiment a success? I don’t know. Was more than one pack produced? I don’t know. Have card games been played on board the International Space Station? I don’t know.
Any additional information about this card/pack would be very welcome.
Some of the information contained in this article was sourced from a recent publication called “52 Years of Play” celebrating 52 years since the creation of Cartamundi (1970-2022).
Member since May 31, 2022
Roddy started collecting stamps on his 8th birthday. In 1977 he joined the newly formed playing-card department at Stanley Gibbons in London before setting up his own business in Edinburgh four years later. His collecting interests include playing cards, postcards, stamps (especially playing cards on stamps) and sugar wrappers. He is a Past President of the Scottish Philatelic Society, a former Chairman of the IPCS, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and Curator of the WCMPC’s collection of playing cards. He lives near Toulouse in France.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.
Romeo and Juliet playing cards illustrated by Belgian artist Virginie Carquin 2016.
Based on the knowledge, wisdom and interpretation of Paul Foster Case and Arthur Edward Waite.
“The New Palladini Tarot” by David Palladini published by U.S. Games Inc., in 1996.
The Aquarian Tarot Deck illustrated by David Palladini, published by Morgan Press, Inc., 1970.
The Linweave Tarot is actually an elaborate set of paper samples from the Pulp, Paper and Board Divi...
Photographs of political and media figures associated with the Presidency of Donald Trump (2017-2021...
Reproductions of cigarette cards from 1910 on the subject of the early days of aviation.
Dinosaurs from different ages and locations, with artwork by Virginijus Poshkus.
A different dinosaur for each of the four suits, two printed in red and two in blue.
Eclipse Comic playing cards is a reproduction of the first transformation pack printed in the USA in...
Old West Guns playing cards containing information about firearms from the Old West, USA.
Centennial Olympic Games playing cards celebrating the centenary of the modern Olympic Games, 1896-1...
Kings of India playing cards depicting the four greatest dynasties of India.
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American President Lines shipping souvenir playing cards, early to mid-1950s.
Royal Hawaiian playing cards published by the Royal Hawaiian Playing Card Company, Honolulu.
Official souvenir pack showing 52 coloured exhibits from the New York World’s Fair, 1964-6.
“Buffalo soldiers” playing cards commemorating African American military men who helped change the f...
‘Century of Progress’ Exposition playing cards produced by Western Playing Card Company, USA, 1933. ...
Bicycle Negro League Baseball Museum souvenir playing cards, USA, 2012.
New York City souvenir playing cards with 53 different views of interest, USA, 1915.
The Disney Villains tarot deck by Insight Editions emphasises iconic villains, merging traditional t...
Nation’s capital souvenir playing cards published by the United States Playing Card Company, USA, 19...
Caricatures by Garth Stackhouse of American politicians involved in the 1996 presidential campaign.
Nile Fortune cards no.68x published by the United States Playing Card Company, USA, 1904.