An Odd [Grimaud] Marseille


Perhaps jmd or someone else will have a bit of information for me.

I recently acquired a Grimaud Marseille deck. It was second-hand, but in mint condition, and came in a white box with the title "Ancien Tarot de Marfeille - fortune telling cards"(sic). Only "B.P.Grimaud" is there to identify the publisher. The booklet was missing.

The cards themselves are in two identical "wells" within the box. The card back is a tiny, tight design of crosses and boxes in blue lines on white that appears almost lavender. The colours on the cards are vibrant to say the least. On the "Two of Money" are the dates 1748 and 1930 with B.P. Grimaud between them on the scroll. Suits are Swords, Cups, Clubs, and Money. The major XI is "Force", and major XVI is "The Tower of Destruction". Death is labeled as such, but up on the right side. The one really unusual feature to me of this deck is that all of the card titles are in English (only).

Does anyone know anything about the origins and publication of such a deck? I bought it in western Canada, but I'm sure that means little.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


Hello Nightwing,

maybe I can help you a little as I am at this time quite interesting in collecting several printing of the Marteau/Grimaud TDM.
But I am not sure if your question is about the deck in general or about this very special edition?

If your question is about the deck in general I would propose you to make a search on ATF. There are a lot of threads on this deck as it is a very popular one and one of the first TDM restoration based on the Conver.
If you make a search with "Marteau Grimaud" you will find a lot about it.
This deck was created by Paul Marteau in 1930 and printed by Grimaud.
It is still in print.
But there are many versions or printing of this deck.

According to your description it has the usual cardback pattern one can find today.
It seems also as if your deck has only english titles.
There is also a bilingual (french and english) version of this deck.
But originally (and usually) this deck has french titles only.
On each Marteau/Grimaud deck there is a copyright mark on the cards, could you tell the exact text of the copyright mark?
(for example something like: "c B.P GRIMAUD 1963")
This can give an idea of the printing year.
Could you also tell something about the cardstock?
For example I received some days ago such a deck as you described with english titles only and the same cardback but with an astonishing thick cardstock and the whole deck is about 43 mm thick!

Best regards


I am sorry to say that I do not, off hand, know which deck this is. I was not aware that Grimaud had an English-only titled deck (not that I have looked for one, of course).

As mentioned by coredil, the Grimaud cards usually have a small copyright running vertically along the cards - do these have the same, and do they perhaps pre-date 1963???


Odd Marseille Revisited

Thank-you, coredil and jmd, for your responses.

Yes, it is this particular version of the Grimaud Marseille deck that I was curious about.

I took a closer look at the card stock, and it is quite stiff and rather heavy. Indeed, the deck is more than 1.5 times the thickness of an average Lo Scarabeo tarot deck!

Just to confirm, the card titles are in English only, which suggested to me a British or American printing of this deck, perhaps "under license" or whatever from Grimaud.

Finally, with my eyes not being what they once were, I took a magnifying glass to the card images. There is in fact, on the upper left of the card image(s), a very small " c B P Grimaud 1963 " printed. This may be the same deck that coredil mentioned getting. I assume that the 1963 date does not necessarily mean they were actually printed then, but that the "version" dates from that time. Or am I wrong? These cards are in very, very good condition if they are 42 years old.

Anyway, I did not know that Grimaud did any English editions of their Marseille, so the deck remains a surprise and a curiosity to me.


some little informations

Hello Nightwing,

coming with the copy of the deck I have, which indeed seems to be quite the same as yours, there are two advertising cards.

On one card it reads:

All these Tarots are
at your local dealer
with instructions Book
in english

On the other card it reads:

With the

of Tarot Cards
since 1790

and in blue ink there is a kind of stamp that says:

distribued by
468 Park Avenue South
New York - N.Y. 10016

Further my copy came in a red box with the Lovers.
Beside of the fact that the box is 49 mm thick and that it has a different deck description, this is quite the same kind of box as the box coming with the copy of a bilingual version I have.
(the one with the black cardback with a sun and 4 flowers)
The title is TAROT OF MARSEILLES (and not Ancien Tarot of Marseilles)
Sadly there is no LWB.

Is your white box an original box or something somebody could have self made?

To me, the most interesting thing is this incredibly thick cardstock.
And also, compared to the bilingual version, this english-titles-only version is nice because the pictures have not been cut or shrinked or shifted as it has been done for the bilingual version in order to make place for two titles!

Best regards


The English Marseille

Thanks for the additional info., coredil.

The box my M. deck came in is no doubt original, and not hand-made or home-made. The box is professionally printed and quite sturdy, for all of its plain-ness. Only the box title lettering itself is in any way elaborate, being mostly red on a white ground, but attempting to mimic medieval script by using a "Gothic" font, and a few additional colours to suggest an "illuminated" look.

I have no booklet with it, nor any additional cards, advertising or otherwise.

Your information strongly suggests to me that U.S. Games at one time was distributing, and perhaps even printing, Grimaud designs, presumably for the North American market. This could have been well after the 1963 design originated in Europe.

I like the size and clarity of the card images, and am pleased to have the deck. The English-only card titles are a real bonus to me!


jmd said:
I am sorry to say that I do not, off hand, know which deck this is. I was not aware that Grimaud had an English-only titled deck (not that I have looked for one, of course).

As mentioned by coredil, the Grimaud cards usually have a small copyright running vertically along the cards - do these have the same, and do they perhaps pre-date 1963???

From my local distributor of Grimaud decks i learned that the " Ancien Tarot de Marseille" deck printed an published by Grimaud themselves is available in the following languages:
- Normal size : French (of course,) Dutch, German, Italian and Spanish
- Mini only French
- And also a French deluxe edition with gilded edges .



This is a pic of a Grimaud Marseilles that recently sold on Ebay (for not much).
The box style is quite common, I see a lot of these, though usually the card titles are in french and English.
I first saw this box style back in the early 80's.

Is this the box style that yours are in?


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On the English Marseille

Lillie: Thanks, and yes, that is the box style that my cards came in, with the deck itself divided into two portions, and each portion in a "well" within the lower half of a two-part box.

So perhaps this edition came out in the early 1980's, using the card images of the 1963 Grimaud version, and titled in English only for the American market.

The deck I have is "as new" and quite attractive, even if a bit large and heavy. The apparent "rarity" of it is apparently the English-only card titles. I certainly did not pay very much for it.

But I would still like to know something about the corporate connections between U.S.Games and B.P.Grimaud. Did USG at one time "front" for Grimaud in America? Or is there a common ownership that I'm not aware of?


I saw another pic of that box after I posted that pic.

In it you could see the backs of the cards. They were that black one, with the sort of star on it.

And now that I think about it, that is what I have always seen in this box. French and english titles (english in blue, french in black) and those rather nice backs.

Back when I was getting my first deck I considered them because of the backs (which I liked), but ended up not getting them for a few other reasons. So that is how they were being sold in England in the early 80's.

Other than that I can't help.
But there are quite a lot of decks that are published both by USG and another company.
Decks by Muller are (or were) often published by USG as well.
I only know this because I see the same names on advertising cards in decks from both publishers.
And of course the RWS in the 70's/80's was Rider in Britain and USG in the USA.
Same with the 1JJ which was Waddingtons here and USG in America.
I always thought it might be a America/europe split.

So, possibly USG had an agreement with Grimaud at that time to share pubication of this deck, and the editions were sightly different.

I also know that the 1JJ swiss always had French titles, until USG put them out in English.
Which is a shame really, the 'foreign' (for me) titles give them a sort of exotic feel that always seems lost when the titles are in my own language.

So, anyway, maybe USG did the same thing to that Marseilles.

Well, I don't know if my musings have helped at all, but good luck with finding out about your deck.