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Memento Mori Playing Cards Review

Official Review

December 12th, 2016 12:10am
Reviewed by Dr. J. M. Ayala de Cedoz
This deck is rather pleasing to look at and is quite plain in its composition, but the design is far from simple, yet it is not. Does that sound philosophical enough for you?

The best way that I can think to describe the box is mostly white with part of the back design of the cards printed in color on one edge of the case and wrapping around the long side with embossing to highlight it. Upon opening the flap you see the words Memento Mori printed on it (on the portion that would normally touch the seal). The deck has no seal. The only other things printed on the box are on the bottom, which has a triangle with an eye in the middle and three pear-shaped teardrops under it, the Murphy's logo and the manufacturer information, which is the USPCC.

The cards are white with a very thin border on the back. The lines that make the border are dark in the index corners and along the short and long edges but fade away into the non-index corners. The best way to describe the design on the back is like looking at a multi earthtone-colored geode with varying sizes of cut facets. This design appears in the index corners and they take up a significant portion of those corners. They almost meet in the middle but not quite. An interesting feature makes this a two-way fanning deck of sorts. If you fan it one one direction you see a pretty pattern formed courtesy of the colors and patterns in the design; fan it in the opposite direction and you get a rather subdued, simple (read: plain) look with the exception of the fading border lines.

The faces of the cards are white and the design is entirely custom. The pips all have the same multicolored geode apparance as the design on the back and the suits are each very unique. The pips and the values of the Spades and Clubs are a dark purple/lighter purple mix in color while those of the Hearts and Diamonds are a slightly lighter dark purple/deep pink mix. Looking at them there is no mistaking what color the cards are normally associated with (red/black in normal decks).

The court cards all retain certain features that you see in normal playing cards (such as the Jack of Hearts looking to the right, the King of Hearts stabbing himself in the head, etc.) except they have no facial features or costume features but instead the same multicolored geode look has been applied the the whole part of each court card.

The cards spread, fan, riffle shuffle and Faro shuffle very smoothly and handle like a typical USPCC Bicycle deck

Along with the deck you get two identical Jokers with the aforementioned geode design applied to a large triangle in the middle of the card, point upward, and the three teardrops underneath it. If you look you can almost discern an "eye" in the middle, making it very much like the triangle/eye logo printed on the bottom of the card box, except its design is in line with the rest of the deck.

There is a card with a quote from Chris Ramsay explaining what a Memento Mori is (for those that do not know) and how this deck happens to be his own Memento Mori. Its back is the same as the rest of the deck.

One more additional card has the same exact back design as the rest of the deck except it is printed in greyscale and the face has a web address which leads to the Murphy's Magic page for the deck itself. It is nothing more than the ad page for this deck and it has a 47 second video with Chris Ramsay handling the cards and speaking very few words describing the Memento Mori philosophy.

The $9.95/USD price point for this deck is good. For all its simplicity it is has a beautiful design and that coupled with the colors makes it pleasing to the eye. You could easily use this deck in performance if you wish because even with the easy to discern pips of the the cards, the color differentiation of the suits would also help spectators to tell them apart.

Overall this is a great deck for both the collector and the performer who wants something a little different for their performances.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Memento Mori Playing Cards

Publisher: Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc.
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $9.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

Memento Mori - "Remember your mortality"

Stemming from the medieval Latin theory and practice of reflection on mortality, it has been a ubiquitous part of human culture for centuries. From the philosophical to the artistic, the fascination, fear and appreciation of death has consistently captivated and cultivated our imagination. Many practitioners of this theory kept with them, artifacts or keepsakes which served as a reminder that the only thing certain in life, was death. Many of these items were often objects (watches, necklaces) in the shape of skulls.

The low-poly design represents a simplistic one. The bare "bones" of 3D creation and graphic art, the first steps of animation can be interpreted as the beginning of 'virtual' life.

Many historians believe that playing cards represented a deeper, esoteric meaning, that each suit was one of the four seasons. Each card within a suit was one of the thirteen phases of the moon. The fifty-two cards in a deck would represent the fifty-two weeks of the year and together, this would represent just one year of your life.

A constant reminder of our fleeting time on earth.

"This deck is my Memento Mori." - Chris Ramsay

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