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Bicycle Escape Map Deck Review

Official Review

January 26th, 2015 12:28pm
Rating:
Reviewed by Stuart Philip
The Escape Map deck is one of the most fascinating decks of Bicycle cards I have seen. Any deck of cards that entices me to research history is usually a winner in my books. This deck of cards is a commemorative World War II deck referencing the specially printed cards that contained escape routes within the layers of regular playing cards. Once soaked in water the cards peeled apart and the secret map could be found, helping soldiers escape from German POW camps to safety.

The red rider backed deck is constructed of the standard Bicycle quality and contains a map of World War II era Germany on the face of the cards, which contains the standard designed pips and numbers under the map.

The deck also comes with a “Map Assembly” card which shows you how to lay the cards out in rows to get the full map.

The tuck artwork is compelling and the back of the box says it all: “Inspired by the original map decks that allowed escaping prisoner to find their way to safety.”

The Bicycle website contains the following text: “During World War II, the United States Playing Card Company joined forces with American and British intelligence agencies to create a deck to help Allied prisoners of war escape from German POW camps. Individual cards in these decks peeled apart when moistened to reveal maps of escape routes. This new Escape Deck honors the secret circumstances surrounding the original map decks, as well any and all prisoners of war. While the cards do not peel apart when moistened, the map is visible on the front of the cards”and creates a complete map when placed in order. The Escape Deck features original artwork on the front and backs of the cards, including the face cards and jokers.” The ad copy says that there are only two known surviving original decks in existence today.

We all knew that cards can entertain, astonish and even result in winning or losing money, but did any of us know that they saved lives too? Awesome!

If you are only going to buy one deck of cards, this is it!

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Bicycle Escape Map Deck

Author: US Playing Card Co.
Publisher: US Playing Card Co.
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $7.50
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Manufacturer's Description:

During World War II, the United States Playing Card Company joined forces with American and British intelligence agencies to create a very special deck of cards. This deck was specifically created to help Allied prisoners of war escape from German POW camps.

This deck of cards became known as the "map deck." It was made by hiding maps of top-secret escape routes between the two paper layers that make up all modern playing cards.
These decks, when soaked in water, could be peeled apart to reveal hidden maps that allowed escaping prisoners to find their way to safety.
Due to the nature of the war and the prosecution of war crimes thereafter, the map decks remained a closely guarded secret for many years after the war ended. The secrecy surrounding them was so high, that no one really knows how many were produced or how many have survived.

There is one on display at the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. and another one said to be in private hands. It's possible that these are the ONLY two surviving examples. The card shown in the picture here is a limited edition reproduction made in April of 1990.


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