Cardini's Famous Playing Cards

Cardini Playing Cards

Cardini was the stage name for Richard Valentine Pitchford (1895-1973), one of the most influential magicians of his time. His flawless sleight of hand, effortless charm and infectious humor garnered him the adulation of fellow magicians and international audiences. His act, The Suave Deceiver, which you can watch below, continues to inspire magicians today and popularized a style of magic known as parlour magic.

The magic he performed was elegant and timeless. And his simplicity allowed him to walk on stage and perform magic from the fingertips. It was intimate, sophisticated, and amazing. There were no dancing girls or painted boxes to wheel around. His apparatus of choice was a deck of playing cards, and his dexterous ability to vanish and reappear them out of thin air is what he is most known for by magicians.

The cards he used were produced by Walgreen's in Chicago under their line of Peau Doux products. The name, pronounced "po do", means soft skin in French, and although Cardini had a graceful touch, it's purely coincidental. The name comes from the store's founder, Charles Walgreen's Boston terrier.

Cardini loved these cards so much that he not only bought out Walgreen's supply, he purchased the rights to them. Their minimal design, vibrant color, and bold stripes complemented the card artistry he performed on stage. They became a trademark of his act, and a deck revered by magicians and collectors. Art of Play is proud to have an original used by Cardini in our collection.

In celebration of the life and career of Richard Valentine Pitchford, and in collaboration with Potter & Potter and Pitchford Entertainment, Media and Magic, we present a limited edition reproduction of Cardini's legendary playing cards. We hope they introduce a new generation of magicians to Cardini and the beautiful magic he created.

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