How “Bicycle” playing cards came to be

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Ever wondered about “Bicycle” playing cards? They’ve been made by the U.S. Playing Card Company in Ohio since 1885, and they’re the world’s bestselling decks by a long shot.

You can read all about the history — including some very interesting WWII and Vietnam War cloak and dagger stuff — at USPC’s website here.

For whatever reason, bikes have always played a central role with these cards.

The Joker – an American invention dating from about 1865 – has made different appearances in the “Bicycle” line. The first type represented a man on a high-wheeled bike. The bicycle later acquired two wheels of normal size. Then followed a series of playing card kings on bikes. These cyclists wheel past a milestone marked “808.” Contrary to some opinions, this number has no mystical meaning. It is merely a reference number distinguishing this brand from others (such as “606”) by the same company.

After the commercial break, we’ll give you the inside scoop on how the “bicycle kick” in soccer got its name!

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