Covid-19 v1 by WCMPC
Please note these bridge size cards are sealed on the inside of the box, not on the outside and may have light shelf wear. This blue version is now sold out and we were the only overseas supplier to obtain a small amount of this highly collectible deck.
by C John Eaton and Paul Bostock
The Covid-19 virus pandemic of 2020 has caused a global health crisis, a global economic crisis and now represents the greatest threat to our future that we have ever collectively encountered. The Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards (WCMPC) wanted to mark this extraordinary series of events and, further, to salute those in the medical front-line of the NHS, the hospital staff and general practitioners who have had to step in and risk their own lives to help others.
The pack has also been planned not for profit, which would be unthinkable, but to raise funds for the Lord Mayor’s appeal - a charity that the Livery Companies of London and many other City of London institutions support collectively. Collectors will note that this is the first ‘special’ pack from the Worshipful Company since the turning of the Millenium – and that was now 20 years ago. The plan began straightforwardly, with the intention of producing a more-or-less standard bridge format set with a special Ace of Spades, a new and specially designed back and matching box.
Serendipity then led to the development of the highly characterful card faces. In the course of preparing my article ‘Happy Birthday Cartamundi’ (in CTD 2020 Q2), I was looking on the Cartamundi website for current information and I found the ‘face shields’ image shown opposite. Image from Cartamundi website We enquired whether we could choose this set of card faces, but the image was created as part of an explanation of the work Cartamundi was now doing to make face shields for the community. No set of court cards existed.
Cartamundi generously said that if we wanted to create a set with this theme, then we could run with it. The designer, Stacey Kelly, then prepared twelve new court designs with this theme and they have been a tremendous success. The Joker is another new design, a marker for the future to recall the social distancing measures (I am sure we will not need reminding ourselves).
The insert card has an unusually vital role here. This is a pack that otherwise would be very easy to misunderstand, very easy to write off as exploiting such a terrible situation. This extra card, we hope, sets the tone for the cards and explains why they were made. The back for the first run(s) has been blue, with a matching box and a red version has been prepared for later runs. At the time of writing these have been far more successful than we could have imagined. The first run was 1200 decks, but at the time of writing (June) we have sold 2,300 in two weeks and they are still selling at 200 packs per day.