November 23, 2010

The Only Card I Need Is...

I've been on a mission for a few months now for an original WWII Bicycle spotter deck. These were decks of playing cards issued by The U.S. Playing Card Company (amongst others including Coca-Cola) with silhouettes of enemy aircraft printed with the numbers and suits on one side. The idea was to spread awareness and educate the general public, enabling them to spot and identify enemy aircraft. Decks were also issued with ships for vessel recognition during war time. There are plenty of "re-issue" decks out there, but an original is a bit harder to find in great condition.

Well, through my search, I've discovered a new grail -- Secret Weapon Bicycle Ace Of Spade decks. During the Vietnam War, Bicycle decided to encourage the taboo surrounding the Ace Of Spades "Death Cards" in an attempt to boost morale. It's argued that the symbol actually meant nothing to the Vietcong and that the sight of the cards did little as far as Psyops. Despite this argument, crates of Ace Of Spades decks were shipped over and distributed amongst the troops. Intact decks are nearly non-existent these days and when they do come up for sale, they go for far more than I'm willing to pay. Is it too much to hope to stumble on a complete deck in some antique store or estate sale? I think not. "The only thing you see, you know it's gonna be..."