How to Store Playing Cards
Most card players have a favorite deck or two. Often because they won money (or a tournament) playing with a particular deck; or perhaps because a friend or relative gave them a couple of decks as a thoughtful gift; or sometimes, it is because the deck just looks and feels right.
Whether you spent $3-4 for a deck of paper playing cards, or $8-15 for a deck of 100% plastic playing cards, you can preserve their condition, and extend their useful lifespan by taking a few simple precautionary steps.
The first thing you need to know for proper storage of your cards is that heat and humidity can wreak havoc on them. Avoiding heat can usually be done by simply not storing your cards in a kitchen drawer; in fact, keep your good decks out of the kitchen altogether. The heat from the oven can devastate any deck (whether paper or plastic). Another place to avoid keeping your cards is near a sunny window, you would be amazed how quickly the heat from a window can deteriorate them.
Humidity can be a bit more difficult to protect against (especially if you live between Florida and Louisiana). If you are able to keep your cards in a climate controlled environment below 60% humidity, do it. If you are not able to control the humidity level, try to find the driest part of your home or office to store your cards (away from kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms, etc).
Sunlight can fade the artwork on your cards over time, so it is advisable to store your cards in a dark place if possible. This is where a good playing card storage box can be helpful. By enclosing your cards in a box designed for card storage, you can keep your cards looking as good as the day you bought them!
Wood playing card boxes come in two basic styles. One type will store your decks vertically on their side, the other will store your cards lying flat in a horizontal orientation. Both methods of storage are appropriate for your Poker, Bridge, Canasta, or Pinochle decks. If you are not going to be using a wooden storage box to store your decks, then it is a good idea to place a book on top of the deck to keep the top cards from warping over time. Rubber bands should be avoided because they will apply pressure to the center of the cards causing them to warp near the outer ends.
Keep in mind the above recommendations are meant to apply to your everyday deck of cards which are likely to see occasional play on a regular basis. If you need to store a high value deck (the kind a collector is likely to own), you will need to take special precautions which are beyond the scope of this article. Please seek expert advice on storing unique or rare decks.
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