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Authentic English Fortune Telling Tarot Cards

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Authentic English Fortune Telling Tarot Cards


This deck is a real oddity by Rigel Press, published in 1975, a Marseille style deck, redrawn, if it is based on a historical deck at all. The Majors have elements of both the Type I and Type II pattern. Going by the guide to distinguish both (here: https://www.apprendre-tarotdemarseil...pes-de-tarots/ ), then Lovers, Chariot and World are like Type II, while Devil, Moon and Sun are like Type I. Cards are untitled, so the fool's name doesn’t even provide a majority. The deck has Spanish looking symbols for wands (these irregular clubs). Swords and Wands are small and don't intersect.

On the box it says

Quote:
These Tarot Cards are authentic and based on an original design from the 15th Century to be found in the British Museum.
That sounds rather dubious. A deck with Marseille Type II elements should be at least past 1700. And a deck found in the British Museum makes it as English as the Rosetta stone. Furthermore, is there any historic Marseille style deck that has these simplified half-Spanish pip cards? I have never seen one.

I suspect that this deck is by no means a historical reproduction, but a modern take that is in general terms based on the Marseille pattern.

The concept of this deck is quite similar to the Richard Gardner Tarot aka Insight Institute Tarot which has plain pip symbols for minors, High Priestess, Empress and Emperor in RWS-Style together with otherwise Marseille style Majors and Courts and those odd pinky pastel colors. It was republished in the 1970s as "R. G. Tarot Cards" calling it "Original English Pack Design", according to different forum as well as WOPC ( http://www.wopc.co.uk/tarot/insight-institute ).

However the "Authentic English Fortune Telling Tarot Cards" have a different design than the cards from the Gardner tarot. I attached a comparison.

Does anyone know whether the "Authentic" is a follow-up for the "Gardner", also by Richard Gardner? And is there any support for the claim that it is based on a particular historic deck?
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Quote:
These Tarot Cards are authentic and based on an original design from the 15th Century to be found in the British Museum.
I would say this is just marketing blurb, rather than an accurate statement. Presumably it is referring to the photographs of the Sola Busca in the British Museum. I think it's important to consider the context of this deck, and that it was a new TdM w/pips deck being marketed in a difficult new and emerging tarot market of the 1970s. I don't think there was a 'TdM purist' market in the UK at this time. The 'Authentic English' name would have helped to have roused interest in the deck, and suggesting it was based on a 15th C deck would have made it sound impressive. There is no TdM style deck from the 15th C. The only deck that is close is the Visconti tarot decks, none of which are in possession of the British Museum if I am not mistaken; and to suggest that a modern TdM deck is 'based' on the Visconti would be stretching the truth, and you could equally say the same thing about any TdM deck if liberal interpretation was the order of the day. Calling it "Authentic English Fortune Telling Tarot Cards" to me would be a red flag that set the general tone of any further claims from the manufacturer or artist. It seems to me it is highly likely to be a mish mash of Type I and Type II source decks, rather than one individual deck, as you have intimated (and there's nothing wrong with that), presented as being based directly on a 15th century deck, which is untrue.


Quote:
Originally Posted by trzes View Post
Does anyone know whether the "Authentic" is a follow-up for the "Gardner", also by Richard Gardner?
Depends what you mean by a follow-up deck. It seems the 'Gardner' is more of a Tdm cum Waite Smith repro whereas the 'Authentic' is a TdM deck. I wouldn't say that was a follow up personally as the themes are different. Yes in the sense that he produced a second historically-themed and inspired tarot deck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trzes View Post
And is there any support for the claim that it is based on a particular historic deck?
Until they provide some kind of evidence that the claim has some substance to it, and that there really was a newly discovered TdM deck in the British Museum that no tarot historian in the last 40 years has actually heard of before, then I would say the answer is a firm no, and nothing more than flowery marketing speak and ignore it, and just enjoy the deck for what it is.
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Thanks very much, DeToX, for all your information, and for confirming my suspicion. The deck will now go into the "modern takes on historic concepts" section rather than into the "historic reproductions" section of my collection.

As a modern deck it is actually quite a nice one. The lines and colors are crisp an clear, and even these odd minors blend in reasonably well with the rest. The cardstock is good, as well as the feel of the unlaminated surface. I like it a lot more than the Gardner/Insight Institute one.
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I find this a charming little nonsense deck, how did one even think of mingling all Type I, Type II, and RWS elements in a single deck? Yet it's artistically done and adorable.
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The concept resembles the Japanese Angel Tarot, which combines Marseilles style majors and courts with Spanish style pips and RWS-influenced English titles.
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