For the first post in the return to Deck Review I have decided to go with a deck that is uniquely Canadian.
Back in the 1970’s the International Playing Card Co. based out of Windsor, Ontario (and now Brampton, Ontario), designed and released a deck of playing cards that was not only uniquely Canadian but confusingly so. They launched the Texan No.45 decks lovingly nicknamed “Palmettos” in blue and red.
It truly is interesting to see that a deck that was designed and produced in Canada would have a name that so obviously pulled from a United State’s state name (Texas if you haven’t figured that out). What is also interesting is that there is a Texas No.45 deck that was released in the United States as a collectible by Marlboro. This makes the Texan No.45 all that much harder to search for online as you get a lot of the Marlboro decks in the results as well.
According to my contact at the International Playing Card Company (IPC for short) there isn’t a lot of information on the deck out there any longer. The deck was created in the 1970’s and was in print off an on until about twenty years ago (though you can clearly see that this tuck box indicates 2010). The Palmettos haven’t been in print since. As such they are getting harder and harder to find.
Let’s take a look at the tuck box. One tell-tale sign that you have a deck printed by or for the IPC is the fact that there’s English and French on the tuck box and the Texan No.45 is no exception. On the front is a very basic label with the name of the deck and a large ace of spades pip which is the standard USPC spade from their Bicycle Standard decks. On the back you have a split view of the back design and the face along with a huge UPC code. The UPC code always is a big bummer to see on these decks but to accommodate English and French on the tuck it has to be done this way. On the sides it’s noted that the cards use the same Air-Cushion Finish that can be found on a majority of USPC decks.
Popping open the tuck and sliding out the cards you begin to really see the uniqueness of the cards. They top card is an ad card that also has Texan No.45 written on it’s back centred in the regular back design. The backs are borderless with a subtle one-way back design of what seems to be a bunch of fern leafs. Again, totally unique.
Flipping over to the faces we see what amounts to a standard Bike deck but with the exceptions of on the Ace of Spades is written Texan No.45 up top and one of the jokers is a cowboy riding a horse holding a lasso. The other joker is just a standard guarantee card.
Holding them in hand the stock feels very much like a standard Bike stock but not quite like Kentucky stock even though that’s where this particular deck was produced. They have nice flexibility and springiness and the Air-Cushion Finish works a dream for dealing and shuffling.
As part of the relaunch of the site I am no longer going to give scores on decks. I feel like putting a number to what I feel just doesn’t do the deck justice. So skipping that…
Should you pick up a deck or two? If you can find some go for it. Even a couple of years ago these were easier to find out there but they are few and far between now. This is, without a doubt, my second favourite deck of cards ever made (number one being Players by Theory11). I hope that some day the USPC will reprint these for the IPC but until then I will treasure the ones I have in my collection.