Introduced in 1887, and continuously produced since that time. On top of being the most frequently used deck for casual card games, the Rider back is also very popular with collectors, cardists and magicians.

Unlike some other long running designs, the Rider back has hardly changed since the beginning. I say "hardly" because Jan Summers, an avid Australian singles collector, observed in 2016 that the wingnut (for lack of a better description) on the wheel in the center of the card is actually asymmetrical on the earlier issues. One end of the nut has a longer border on one side, subtly rendering the back design "one-way," meaning that the card has a distinct top and bottom. This evident error was corrected after the US8b issue of the Rider back, on or about 1893. Both the blue card and the brown card pictured above are examples of the early issue. Below is a detail of the differences in the two versions.

The next image is of a Rider deck (ca. 1960s) that was exported to Cuba. This deck is still sealed with its white tax exempt USPCC stamp, and a Cuban tax stamp pasted on top. During that era I didn't know that the U.S. allowed any non-food exports to Cuba, so this discovery was a surprise to me. I also wonder how this deck survived in Cuba without ever being opened; I remember from a trip there in 2001 that the bare necessities were often in short supply. For an example of an earlier Bicycle deck that was exported to Cuba, see the New Fan Back page.

Also pictured below is a pair of the fireproof cards that were developed by NASA in the early 1970's for use in space. Because the atmosphere in space capsules, the space station, etc., is typically very rich in oxygen, a fire would prove disastrous. Therefore, every object sent up there was as fireproof as possible, including these playing cards. Blue NASA singles pop up occasionally, but red ones are very rare. I have one red deck, but no blue one. These may have originally come in a fireproof box, but I have never seen it. If the NASA cards weren't so rare, I would hold a match to one just to see...

Over the years there have been many proprietary issues of the Rider back, including one for Playboy, the 1984 Olympics, 1997 Olympics, a pair of Christmas decks, among others, and many parodies and unauthorized knock-offs. The Rider back was also used during World War II for aircraft spotter cards. These decks featured silhouettes of Allied and Axis airplanes to facilitate civilian identification. The Rider back was also exported to the UK in plain and gold-edged versions. Click on the "UK" link above for more information.

A worn brown single from the early Rider issue sold on eBay for $25 on September 24, 2016. A red Rider back sample card sold for $30 on eBay on February 22, 2017. A worn red US8a Rider ace of spades sold on eBay for $42 on May 13, 2017. An EX red US8 Rider deck sold on eBay for $148 on May 17, 2017. An EX red Rider US8a deck with gold edges, joker and original box (no flap) sold on eBay for $571 on February 11, 2019 (see the last image, below).

  62. Racer No. 2                                             64. Saddle  


The older version of the Rider back is on the right


This Rider back deck was exported to Cuba


These NASA cards are fireproof--and very rare


This US8a Rider deck sold for $571 in February of 2019