A Collection of Tarot Decks

Tarot Prior to the Golden Dawn: Classic Decks

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This list is extremely incomplete and does not include any of the Egyptian Tarots (or Etteilla types) that flourished during the Rosicrucian [Enlightenment] era that separated the Renaissance from the Victorian. For more on this, see:

For more on Classic Tarot generally, see these sites

Charles VI or Gringonneur Tarot. Reproductions by Lo Scarabeo as "Estensi Tarot: Golden Tarot of the Renaissance". This deck was mistakenly attributed to the painter Jacquemin Gringonneur hired by Charles VI in 1392 by Constant Leber in the nineteenth century. Only 17 cards of this deck are extant - the trumps (Fool, [Juggler], Emperor, Pope, Lovers, [Chariot], Justice, Hermit, Strength, Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, Tower, Moon, Sun, Angel, World, - The Star, Devil, Wheel, Empress, and Papess are missing.) and the Knave of Swords. The Lo Scarabeo version created new cards for the remainder of the deck. Giordano Berti researched and designed these with Majors inspired by other period decks such as Ercole I d'Este Tarot and Leber Tarot, and Minor arcana inspired by the frescoes in Palazzo Schifanoia and designed to comply with modern cartomantic interpretations, and the modern demand that pips be illustrated beyond a geometric arrangement of suit symbols. Jo Dworkin was the artist.

Estensi Page of Cups deck cover

Visconti Tarocchi Deck. attributed to Bonifacio Bembo (Milan) and artists of the Ferrara school. Possibly completed 1428 (may have been done as a wedding present for Filippo Visconti and Maria Savoy) reproductions by US Games Systems, Lo Scarabeo, Dal Negro

Visconti Sforza Page of Cups Cary-Yale Visconti Page of Cups deck cover deck cover

Tarocchi del Mantegna. attributed to Andrea Mantegna (1432-1506). 1470. Reproductions by Lo Scarabeo and Meneghello.

deck cover

Tarot de Marseilles. "These designs carry the name of Marseilles because that city was a principal card manufacturing center in the 17th and 18th centuries. The actual place of origin of the designs is unknown. When France conquered Milan in 1499, French and Swiss soldiers probably encountered Milanese tarot cards similar to those seen on the fragmentary sheet housed in the Cary collection of playing cards. This is probably how the game of tarot, and with it the Milanese card designs, spread to Switzerland and eastern France. At some point in the 16th century, the set of designs known as the Tarot de Marseille became the standard pattern for players in these French-speaking regions." (so saith Tom Tadfor Little)
There are a number of different Marseilles type designs, though compared with the variations in 20th century decks, the variations in these are far smaller.

Marseilles Page of Cups deck cover

Sola Busca (Illuminating Ancient Tarots). Reproduction 1995 Lo Scarabeo S.r.l.. - perhaps the earliest known deck to have illustrated Minors [as opposed to pip cards] was the Sola Busca Tarot dated somewhere around the late 15th Century; the reproduction is of a copy c. 1900.

Sola Busca Knave of Cups deck cover

Ancient Italian Tarot. Reproduction 2000 Lo Scarabeo S.r.l.. - Cartiera Italiana in Serravalle Sesia 1880. This is a late nineteenth century reproduction of an early nineteenth century Italian engraved deck by Carlo Dellarocca published by Gumppenberg and often known as the "Soprafino" (extra fine) deck. The Classic Tarot from Lo Scarabeo is based on the original 1835 Dellarocca deck.

Ancient Italian Knave of Cups deck cover

Oswald Wirth. Oswald Wirth. 1889. This deck is recommended by Papus in the Tarot of the Bohemians. Wirth illustrated the 22 Trumps with the help of Stanislas de Guaita. Wirth did not create any versions of the Minor Arcana. I show the page of cups thumbnail here, because I show the page of cups for all the decks on these pages. This particular page of cups illustration is done by the illustrator Stuart Kaplan hired when producing his 78-card version of the Wirth deck. The US Games version not the only version that has been produced. Search tarotgarden.com for additional versions.

Oswald Wirth Page of Cups deck cover

Mathers' 1888 Booklet using Eliphas Levi correspondences


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Copyright © 1994-2001 Joan Schraith Cole.
Updated August 26, 2001
Some graphics from Ann-S-Thesia CD, Number 76 variant A
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