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85 years playing cardboard from Koehler

The fascination with collectible card games


At Koehler, the year 2019 is all about cardboard for playing cards. We have been producing it for 85 years in Oberkirch. But it isn't just us who are enthused about our cardboard, more than half of the casinos in America use cards made from our paper. The cardboard is also very popular for collectible cards. But what is it about such games that fascinates both young and old?

The fascination with collectible card games

Even today, when we no longer need to go out hunting and gathering food to survive, as our ancestors did, as a primal instinct, seeking out and collecting things is embedded deep in our genes. And so everyone today collects something, even if this is often an unconscious habit. The passion for collecting isn't restricted to age. Stamps, stickers, bottle caps, beer mats, coins or simply collectible cards: these are among the most popular objects for people to collect. Still don't believe that you're a collector too? Think back to your last vacation on the beach. Surely some sand, shells, or stones have since found their way into your home to remind you of this vacation. But why do we collect?

There are a wide variety of factors that motivate people to collect things. For example, you can differentiate between the following types of collector: the idealist collector collects objects to protect them from being thrown out, whereas the sentimental collector looks back happily on certain specific memories with the help of the objects they've collected. Collectors of collectible cards belong to the category of systematic collectors, because they systematically collect certain cards. But what are collectible cards and what is the principle behind collectible card games?

Playing cards vs collectible cards

In comparison to popular card games such as poker or blackjack, collectible card games are comprised of several hundred different cards. These are sold as prepackaged playing sets (starters) and in packs, which consist of more or less randomly assorted individual cards (boosters).
Some cards are more rare than others. This is also the trigger, which leads to the principle of the collectible card game: collecting. To get the cards you desire or need, you need to trade and exchange. Naturally you can have great fun playing with collectible cards too. To this end, players choose a selection of cards to take with them into the game. This selection is subject to the rules of the respective game, but, as with conventional cards, is still referred to as a deck of cards.

How it all started

The first and indeed one of the most successful collectible card games is "Magic: The Gathering". The game was brought out in 1993 by the American publisher Wizards of the Coast and comprises over 20,000 different cards today. Fun fact: So that all existing cards have the same look and feel today and can be played with fairly, a pen stroke is printed on the reverse side of each individual card. These were accidentally left on the print template for the first edition of the cards.

In 1996 another, to date very successful, collectible card game was released: "Pokémon". This was followed by much hype, which also saw a huge high in sales and turnover at Koehler. Hartmut Felsch, Mill Director at Koehler in Oberkirch, remembers it well: "We received an order from the USA for over 40 tonnes of cardboard for playing cards, in a short while, it exceeded 300 tonnes", he explains. "After that 1,000 tonnes were ordered each month." Pokémon trading cards were also manufactured using cardboard from Koehler.

One group of collectible card games that enjoy worldwide popularity is based on Japanese comics (manga) and animated films (anime). Whereas, in the USA, collectible card games inspired by films, TV shows, sports or novels are developed. In Germany too, the players of the German national team are often collected as cards during the European soccer championships and the soccer world cup.

Collectible cards can be real treasures

For anyone who diligently collects cards themselves it may prove valuable to read further, as it could be that you are in possession of a very rare and therefore valuable card without knowing it. The card Time Walk from the first edition of the Magic: The Gathering series is worth around 4,000 euros. Pokémon cards are also rank highly among collectors. As such, the card Pikachu Illustrator sold for more than 46,000 euros. As if these weren't already impressive sales prices, the card Honus Wagner tops them all. The most famous baseball card in existence for some time now, this card broke all collectible card records after being sold for 3.2 million euros. Collectible cards could make a good investment then.

So, it isn't just traditional card games for which our high quality cardboard is used. It also passes through countless hands in the form of collectible cards. Whether playing or collectible cards, Koehler cardboard forms the basis for both.

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