This is the question that visitors to ThrowingCard.com
have asked most frequently, and it's really a matter of opinion. As you'll see if you visit the site, I construe the term rather broadly, so as to include a number of items from various magicians. These include what may be more properly termed "souvenir cards" from custom-printed decks, and "palm cards" or "ad cards" which are really oversized business cards.
Generally, I like to think of throwing cards as two types of items: first, the classic "throwout" card -- most commonly surviving today in the form of the Howard/Jane Thurston
card or the Heany
card. These cards are slightly larger than ordinary playing cards and are printed on heavy cardstock which makes them ideal for throwing. Second, I include pieces with a playing card back, and/or that are printed on playing card stock. Of course, this is an arbitrary, though useful, distinction, since many magicians' playing cards never became airbourne, but were handed out individually or sold as part of souvenir decks, and hence are really not "throwing" cards. Some notable exceptions would include the playing cards featuring Downs
, Jeff McBride
and Ricky Jay
, which were and/or are thrown as part of their shows. And, in some cases, absent contemporary accounts of a magician's performance, we really have no way of knowing if the cards were intended to be thrown.
Generally, I exclude anything of traditional business card size, which is substantially smaller than a playing card. Some of these pieces, though, can be quite interesting.