Review: DeLand’s Centennial Edition (Daisy Classic)

Review: DeLand’s Centennial Edition (Daisy Classic)

A special 100th anniversary marked deck that’s been recreated and improved for the 21st century , and designed by Phil Smith? Say no more!


The DeLand Centennial project brings two amazing decks of marked playing cards back to life. Originally printed in 1919, the Daisy Deck and Nifty Deck were created by Theodore DeLand. In honor of their 100th anniversary, Penguin Magic recreated these ingenious decks from the ground up.

Penguin Magic teamed up with renowned magician, graphic designer, and marked deck expert, Phill Smith (creator of the DMC ELITES) to create these stunning Centennial Editions. These are not simply reprints – each deck has been painstakingly redrawn and enhanced with new art and new features.

Theodore DeLand was a genius creator and innovator in the magic world. DeLand lived from 1873 to 1931. Before departing this world, he left behind an enormous collection of mind-boggling creations. His best-known work is the “Dollar Deck”, a groundbreaking marked deck of cards.

Few are aware that DeLand actually created many marked deck designs in addition to countless magic tricks. Originally offered in 1919, the Daisy Deck and Nifty Deck appear to be simple, innocent cards at first glance – but each deck holds many secrets waiting to be decoded.

Each deck has a full-bleed borderless back design that looks right at home on the poker table. Penguin Magic meticulously recreated each design to be faithful to the original, while making small changes to make the decks more useful for the modern performer.

To offer them as a complimentary pair, the Daisy Deck has been designed in a deep Burgundy and the Nifty Deck is dark Blue.

Not only is each deck marked to tell you the Suit & Value of every card, but there are other secret marks as well. Penguin Magic expanded upon the core design originally created by DeLand and taken it a step further. In the Centennial Edition, each deck has OVER 500 MARKS in total. A quick glance at any card back will tell you the identity of not just one, but THREE different cards, as well as how many cards are left in a pile.

Every deck comes with an instruction card that will teach you how to decode the markings, as well as access to an instructional video by Kevin Reylek. The systems are hard to detect but are simple to learn and can be mastered with moderate practice.

Tuck Boxes:
The tuck boxes feature all-new, 100% custom designs that deliver a vintage vibe that has been elevated with a touch of modern elegance. Each deck also has a custom sticker seal.

We absolutely LOVE vintage card faces. Both the Daisy Deck and Nifty Deck have gorgeous custom faces based on designs from the early 20th century.

The faces have been completely redrawn for modern printing, but fully capture the essence of vintage designs, including subtle asymmetry and small imperfections.

The Ace of Spades and Jokers are faithful recreations of DeLand’s classics.

The deck comes in Si Stebbins stack direct from the factory, allowing you to perform a number of diabolical effects.

Have you ever tried to fan or shuffle a 100-year-old deck of cards? It’s not easy! Manufacturing techniques have improved immeasurably since the original 1919 decks, so one of the biggest upgrades that the DeLand Centennial offers over the originals is the handling quality.

These were printed with the US Playing Card Company on a Classic stock with top-of-the-line coating for the ultimate performance for magic, games, cardistry, and more. The decks are traditionally cut. This means that the cards are cut from face to back, which creates a minuscule yet important edge bevel that aids in executing card moves flawlessly.

-Based on the Classic 100-year-old Daisy & Nifty Decks by DeLand
-Revised & Updated artwork by Phill Smith
-Completely New Custom Tuck Designs
-Over 500 Marks per Deck
-Vintage-Style Faces
-Si Stebbins Stack
-Printed by USPCC on Classic Stock with High-Grade Finish
-Traditionally Cut

Nominee Deck of the Year Penguin Magic Awards 2020

Unboxing DeLand’s Centennial Edition (Daisy Classic)

Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of British mentalist/ design guru, Phil Smith. So much so that I engaged the busy man to design my website. You’d also find some of his awesome products reviewed here on 🙂 So when Penguin Magic made the official announcement that they were producing these special decks on KickStarter, with Phil on board as their designer in charge of reimagining these cards, I was beyond thrilled.

Nominated as Deck of the Year 2020, these brilliant poker sized cards are produced by Penguin Magic and printed on USPPC Classic Stock with High-Grade Finish. So after sliding the vintage style deck out of its box (I love that cheeky bit on the front which states ‘Marked for Greatness’ LOL), these air-cushion cards spread like butter and riffle like a dream. I’m pretty sure they couldn’t get this same star quality from card manufacturers a hundred years ago!

The lovely old school design on the box looks so innocent, regular layman wouldn’t imagine it to be a diabolic marked deck with a special stack system to it that’s designed by the very same expert who came up with the DMC Elites. The traditionally cut deck comes with two jokers of different colours, one blank face card, and a two sided one with succinct instructions. The DeLand’s Centennial Edition cards comes sealed in Si Stebbins order so if you want, you could unwrap the deck and chuck out the extra cards before doing a false cut or shuffle and dive right into your routine.

Looking at the DeLand’s Centennial Edition (Daisy Classic) deck up close, the cards are really very well made. It’s not difficult to read the backs, even if you’re a little shortsighted like me. The system is easy to sight and also, to remember. As I purchased this directly from the producers, an hour long tutorial was already waiting for me in my Penguin Magic account as the package winged its way over to Europe.

Here are a couple of shots but I still feel my pictures don’t do it justice…

Let’s talk USP (unique selling points)

Just to be crystal, Phil and the team at Penguin Magic did a phenomenal job with this project. The design for these cards are AMAZING, giving justice to the original. The artwork was illustrated by hand, in a wabi-sabi kind of way to give that right feel of authenticity from the year 1919, when the original first came out.

The marking system for the DeLand’s Centennial Edition Daisy Classic has also been vastly improved upon; there are a whooping 500+ marks per deck! The numbers do make sense since all four corners are marked on every card. And thanks to the clever design, the marks on the backs would be obvious to you but not at all to someone who doesn’t know how to identify the card and position markings.

While it is true that there are like a gazillion marked decks available in the market today, this one is special because of its rich American heritage, its ability to tell you the suit and value of every card, the next card that come after it, the previous one from before… and how many cards are left in the pile! Also, as mentioned earlier, it comes ready stacked for you in Si Stebbins and there are so many lovely effects you can do with that.

The special 52 minute video tutorial is rich with ideas too, so for 15 bucks, this really is a steal. If you’re into cardistry or a card collector who dabbles in a bit of close up magic, or a professional magician looking for a classy vintage style deck, or if you’ve got a certain theme going like time traveling duo Morgan and West, the DeLand’s Centennial Edition would suit you perfectly.

TLDR: DeLand’s Centennial Edition (Daisy Classic)

What’s not to like about a vintage style 100-year-old marked deck recreated and improved for the 21st century that’s printed by USPCC and designed by the same mastermind behind the DMC marked deck… which is not only classy AF but also gives you the uncanny superhuman ability to know the suit and value of every card, the identity of the next card that come after it, the previous one from before, and how many cards are left in the pile… and it also comes ready stacked in Si Stebbins! You will fall in love with the DeLand’s Centennial Edition. These faithful recreations are available from Penguin Magic while stocks last.

Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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