Cardicians and card historians, take notice: Recent research conducted at the Schaffel College for Industrial Pasteboard Paraphernalia in Ryffling, Denmark has revealed astonishing facts about some of the key images of our beloved standard poker playing cards: Most of the men and women on court cards are actually portrayed performing magic tricks! And the biggest trick of all: This open display of the magical skills of some Jacks, Queens and Kings has gone wildly unnoticed in our card-crazy community for at least 100 years!
“In the light of these exciting revelations, the history of some classics of magic may need some serious reshuffling,” says Gioberto Robbi, research director and current chef artist in residence at Schaffel College. The results of his team’s research are currently under benevolent peer review and will likely be published in an upcoming issue of the renowned magic history magazine, Fibecière.
Thanks to our tightly-knit global research network, we are happy and proud to offer you an exclusive sneak preview here over the next few days. Read along and marvel with us why we all haven’t spotted these obvious performances from the past before?!
The Jack of Spades: Paddle Trick
His magic prop is obviously a paddle, likely made of wood, big enough for good visibility in the spacious parlors and ballrooms at any Renaissance court. The artist displayed here is left-handed and just about to execute the paddle move.
Robbi and his research team believe that the diamond shape in the middle of the paddle could not only be made to appear and disappear, but also to jump freely to the top and the bottom of the paddle. This is possible due to some clever flipping mechanism probably furnished by Johann Gaugann the Elder in the early 18th century! (Further proof pending.)
The Queen of Spades: Torn and Restored Paper
Once set on the magic trail, it doesn’t take an expert to realize that the female artist on display here has just torn a royally imprinted sheet of fine handcrafted paper, and she is about to magically restore it instantly.
Notice the flowers which are held in each hand, apparently serving, just like a magic wand, for misdirection and for the concealment of the secret paper ball in one hand!
Robbi speculates that this trick may have been a simple forerunner of the later and more elaborate illusion of cutting, burning and restoring a royal silk handkerchief.
Check out Part 2 now with more exciting discoveries!