Mark Rotenberg is the obvious choice to do a book on pin-up playing cards, the intro says the contents are from his 450 decks (the world's biggest collection? Probably!). There isn't too much to say about a product that has very few clues about the models, photographers, printers yet over the years the numbers manufactured must run into the millions of packs. Of the 452 cards in the book the majority show anonymous females in predictably unimaginative stock glamour poses that card printers could buy for next to nothing.
I thought the illustrative cards much more interesting. There are a few showing the paintings of Heinz Villiger, Joyce Ballantyne, Al Moore and Gil Elvgren. Strangely no Petty or Vargas decks, were the reproduction rights too expensive? The best cards in the book are surely the two decks put out in 1955 by Parisian manufacturer Editions Philibert who commissioned artist Paul-Emile Becat to paint a series of miniatures showing erotic Florentine life during the Renaissance and another set about Casanova. When compared to these two decks the book's photo glamour material come across as the tacky cards they really are.
It is unfortunate that the book's production is very dull. The cards are presented full on, with none angled or overlapping each other. The addition of a drop shadow would have given them a lift. As most of the cards are visually unimaginative perhaps a few still-life photos throughout the book would provide some interest: a poker hand on a card table with some chips, a scattered deck of cards as a background with four or five prominent. I thought it was particular annoying that so many cards are shown larger than the originals (and some really are too big) which only emphasizes their cheap subject matter and poor printing.
If there had been more creative input in the way the contents had been presented I think this could have been a much more interesting book.