Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winning Big with Tiffany Playing Cards

The original Tiffany Playing Cards, above, in Tiffany Blue and pink have a brown border. Below are the "argyle" playing card. Both styles come in a Tiffany Blue box. Photos from www.tiffany.com.

HEAD’S UP: December again already. It’s the gifting season, which means more things to do with less time to do them in. Don’t despair. At VEVLYN’S PEN, we are here to help. For the next week or so — 12 days before Christmas ending on 22 Dec. — each day we will introduce a product/item, brand or nifty shop that we believe is worthy of consideration for those very special gifts.

Gift Idea No. 2:

TIFFANY.
It evokes myriad images – most of them positive and aspirational. (Think of all of the little girls named after the store.) A few, no doubt, may see images of blood diamonds. However, the majority have a love jones a la Holly Golightly.

It is not so surprising when one considers that for most of the last 170-plus years, the emporium has carefully cultivated its image as an uber upscale purveyor of the highest quality jewelry, including (once upon a time)sterling silver telephone dialers. While Tiffany is popularly associated with jewelry exclusively, it also stocks an array of items, including crystal, china, writing paraphernalia, money clips, scarves, stationery and so forth. The latter has been among its stock and trade from the start.

Because Tiffany’s wares are luxurious – and therefore, expensive – in the minds of many the store is off limits. It is a forbidding place. Even those with some money to spend are, truth be told, a little intimidated by the prospect of darkening the doors of Tiffany & Co. These attitudes, of course, are informed by ignorance of the brand. Those same attitudes would be surprised to learn that they would get a much more cordial reception in this rarefied confine than at many places much farther downmarket. Here is a joint with a reputation for engraving a Cracker Jack box ring.

At a Tiffany (Wall Street) holiday party last year, Yours Truly may have been feeling a little mischievous. OK, I was feeling a lot mischievous. Here I am in this cavernous store with grand windows in the center of the center of the financial capital of the world. It looks off limits. But it is not. Tiffany has not been in business since 1837 by giving the cut direct to potential customers and actual customers.

Out of the blue I ask a very amiable clerk what is the cheapest item at Tiffany. Though mischief informs the query, it is sincere. An inquiring mind really wants to know.

The item in question costs $30. Is it an ink pen? Letter opener? Key chain? No.

Inside a trademark Tiffany Blue box are two decks of ... playing cards. (http://www.tiffany.com/Shopping/CategoryBrowse.aspx?search=1&search_params=s+1-p+1-c+-r+-x+-n+12-ri+-ni+1-t+playing+cards)

Yes, playing cards. Two of the three box styles, naturally, come in Tiffany Blue and pink. The third comes in b&w. It is not nearly as eye-catching as the original p&b solid and the p&b “argyle.”

Imagine gamblers – Black Jack and Poker players – holding these close to the vest. Honest Solitaire players won’t mind losing so often, while Bid Whisters would relish running a Boston with a little Tiffany b&p.

Here’s an opportunity for beer bottle pockets with Champagne tastes.

And think of the Jack Bergers (“Sex and the City”) finding an Ace or Joker on the streets of New York.

It wouldn’t be any old card discarded; it would have a pedigree.

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