-a story of uncareful preparation & halfdone repairs -


For a playing card manufacturer making a regular standard deck is easy: you just go through the motions. A regular nonstandard deck is already a little more difficult. And making a complete nonstandard deck can sometimes be a real tricky thing......even for an experienced and world-leading company like Carta Mundi.

There are 3 different versions of this deck. The first version is known with a regular Carta Mundi Millennium backdesign and with an advertising backdesign for Offley Port wine. This CM version is very hard to find nowadays, so it has probably been a relatively small printrun. The Offley advertising deck can still be found at collector's fairs etc. Both decks were probably printed and published early 1999.

Standard CM Millennium backdesign and the one for Offley.

The second print is known to me only with a regular CM Millennium backdesign, although there is an indication (see JOKERS) that advertising decks have been made too. In this second version there are three cards only, that have been modified: 


On the 5 of Clubs the year of Claude Monet's death was changed to the correct 1926.


On the 3 of Diamonds the year of Louis Pasteur's death has also been changed to the correct 1895.


The 10 of Spades (Henry IV) has been changed to make the correct years (1553-1610) correspond with the picture. The first lifespan refers to another Henry IV, a more obscure one in history, who ruled the Holy Roman Empire and was King of the Germans. The depicted king however is Henry IV or Henry the Great, king of France from 1589 to 1610.

I've asked CM when this version was printed, but Gert Luyten, the PR manager in Turnhout, answered that he could not (maybe wouldn't) find any info about that printrun. In the few shops in Amsterdam, that have sold Millennium decks,  only this version was found from December 1999 on. So it was probably printed in September 1999. Until now I have never seen one of these decks with an advertising back.

The third version I've only seen with advertising backs, but I haven't seen this 3rd version with a regular CM Millennium backdesign yet. Gert Luyten from CM could not (maybe wouldn't) tell me either, if this version has ever been printed with a regular CM Millennium backdesign. I personally believe that this has never been done. The year 2000 had already begun and CM already had printed and published two versions with their own Millennium backdesign too, so another printrun would probably have been a bad investment. I think that CM chose to leave their second version in the shops, available to the general public, and decided to change the deck in a complete way, covering all copyright problems and repairing all the small mistakes at the same time, ONLY for the advertisement orders. These decks were probably ready for printing since the spring of 2000. The Offley deck has obviously been commisioned (and printed) before that decision was made. I don't know if there are more of these advertising decks with the origial version. It seems that CM is very reluctant to give info about comissions and printruns. 

In the third version we found a total of 18 cards (ca. 33% !!) that had been "repaired", when compared to the first version (or 15, when compared to the second version). Besides that the jokers were also subject of a small change.
On 6 cards the person was changed, because of copyright problems. On 8 cards the name was changed and on 4 cards the dates were changed. 

A full table with pics and changes is on page 2 and 3.



The jokers that come with the Millennium decks show the standard company joker in a new design and colour. There are 3 jokers with each deck: one with a blank space between the bottom millennium signs, a second with "Carta Mundi Made in Belgium"at that spot and the third with red millennium signs in all corners.
The jokers that one finds in the first and second version hold 2 blank cards in front of their chest. In the third version these cards have changed into an Ace and an 8 of diamonds.

1st & 2nd version         3rd version

The advertising deck for Offley port wine has 3 nonstandard jokers, each showing different products. The second joker below is an interesting one. We found it as a single joker, so it wasn't possible to check the complete deck, but an educated guess would be that, although it is a variation of the standard ones, it could come from the second version. The joker holds 2 blank cards! So it is possible that there were advertising decks made of the 2nd version too.

advertising jokers:  FAIRE TOUT      OFFLEY


page 2       VARIATIONS