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Hobbies are Good For Your Brain. Start a New One Today.

Posted by Reid Carlberg on

I'm an adult and as part of my day job I learn new things all the time. About technology, about people, about myself.  Starting a collection of playing cards has been a great excuse to learn more about the world outside of work.  Almost any collection can be fun and interesting if you take the time to dig just a little deeper.

Hobbies Are Good For Your Brain

There's quite a bit of science behind the idea that hobbies are good for you.  The Australian Ministry of Health, for example, notes that people with hobbies suffer less stress, less depression and less moodiness.  In fact, clinical evidence from the English Longitudinal Study on Aging supports the act of prescribing hobbies to their patients as a way to improve their overall mental health.  Amazing!

Collecting Playing Cards Is a Great Hobby

Playing cards are a great thing to collect for a variety of reasons.  First and foremost, playing cards are ubiquitous and they've literally been around for a couple thousand years.  They're produced all over the world, in most cultures, and they are, by and large, pretty affordable.  There's always a new deck with new art and many of them celebrate unique cultural themes.

Some Things I've Learned About Since I Started Collecting Cards

The Ayyubid Dynasty. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  However, when I first ran into Deus Vult Crusades Themed Playing Cards, it was a great excuse to learn more about this 12th Century Sultanate.  I might have run across during the early days of my high school AP European History class, but I have zero memory.  So it's fun to look a bit at this particular part of history.

Nebulas. I haven't spent a lot of time studying the cosmos, so simply creating the listing for Bicycle Stargazer Nebula Playing Cards was a great excuse to read a little more about this phenomenon.  Did you know, for example, that a nebula about the size of earth would have a mass of only a couple of kilograms?  The mass of earth, on the other hand, is 5.972 x 10^24.  10^24 is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 -- which is a lot.

Cold Foil Printing.  Fascinating topic.  The important bit: a printer applies a certain amount of UV curable adhesive to whatever is being printed on, and then the foil just sticks to exactly that.  And then you print on top of the foil -- the cold foil process has to happen first.  This came up because I was curious about The Grand cold foil playing cards and all of the discussion around Cartamundi's new cold foil process.  

Playing Card Tax Stamps.  Part of the US IRS until 1965, and they continued in Alabama until 2015.  Check out this playing card tax stamp reference. CRAZY.  I had no idea.  But I have learned enough about them to be more than a little interested, and I have spent too much money on eBay buying them, but it's a great door into different types of history.

Getting Started Is Easy

You can start a playing card deck collection at really any price point.  Even just a few decks is a great start.  Get Sea KingSuper Bee and the Avengers.  Get Aviary, Hudson and Instant Noodles.  However you start, you'll have a lot to explore and a lot to talk about.