Just received my Giant Rider-Waite...


Many years ago I used to own one standard US Games RWS (1980-84 print) and recently decided to buy a RWS again.

Then I've learned about the new printing method and the change in the fonts...

I thought the change in the font type was disrespectfull, as the fonts are actually part of the original design, but as I wanted to have this deck again I decided to give it a try.

So I just received a Giant Rider-Waite and well folks... it seems the font change was nothing compared to what the people at U.S. Games did with the printing... it's just atrocious.

I was planning to buy their standard and original RWS also, but this new digitalized printing method put me off completely. Besides the plastic feel, the printing itself seems to be of very bad quality, also with missplaced colours and serious printing defects.

The seven of swords, for instance, has a huge whitish mark in the middle of the card, crossing it sideways. Unbelievable.

I hope the folks at U.S. Games come to their senses and at least remove the "original and only authorized Waite tarot deck" advertisement from the boxes, as these decks may be authorized, but aren't original anymore.

By the way, the deck I've got was printed in Italy and it has a ISBN nº 0-88079-474-7.

Rainbow Aurora

Hello :) atlantean! Welcome to Aeclectic Tarot!

Giant Rider Waite Smith - Aeclectic Tarot Forum

Fulgour said:
I say this in all good cheer and pleasant helpfulness,
but USGames recently "upgraded" the Giant edition
and it now has typeset titles and thinner card stock.

The new ones are printed (as of my last sighting) in
Italy ~ this although now USGames prints in China.

Printed in Belgium say the older decks (of 78 cards)
and they have the script lettering on a better stock.
The ISBN on the Belgian edition is 0880794747 also,
so nowadays one needs to check even more closely.


Thanks Rainbow Aurora :)

Are these belgium editions still available? I thought they'd be long gone by now...

Anyway, I can only order tarot decks online, so if you know where I could possibly find any edition of the earlier RWS prints, it'll be certainly much appreciated.

Rainbow Aurora

Hello :) atlantean ~ You have a Private Message
from me, sent to your Aeclectic Mailbox. ~Rainbow


Don't feel bad atlantean. Been there done that. :(

I have found, as a general rule, that US Games decks printed in Switzerland or Belgium have the best overall quality. I am sure there are exceptions (Albano Waite), but usually I find I like these best. There are plenty of them around, but right now there are a lot of the older editions along with a lot of the newer ones on the market, so as Rainbow says, you really have to ask to be sure. There are also a lot of good posts in the Rider-Waite-Smith forum about how to identify the different Waite-Smith versions.

As for The Original Rider Waite, it is still printed in Belgium as far as I know. I don't believe there has been an edition of this deck ptinted in Italy, but don't quote me on that. I just got a brand new one the other day and it was printed in Belgium. But the shift to these decks printed in China and Italy has occurred fairly quietly, so it probably wouldn't hurt to check just to be sure.

The ORW has received a lot of bad press. Some people have said they don't like the colors or the "pixelated" quality of the images, but this has nothing to do with the reproduction process. This was part of the original images, which were printed by lithography. Actually, the reproduction quality is very good in my opinion. If only the same could be said for the Albano Waite. :(


Hello Abrac,

Thanks for your post.

I've done a serch and found many interesting threads about these decks.

Actually I've been reading a lot about the history of the Rider-Wait deck and it's indeed a most interesting subject. It seems the ORW is a reproduction of a pre-WW2 Pamela-C deck, while the standard U.S. Games RWS used to be a quite fine reproduction of the Pamela-A.

The original Pamela-C deck is of an inferior quality, thus the complaints. But when it comes to the new reproduction this is by design, so it's a different story. I think this is an interesting deck, of historical value, so I'm glad to hear the printing process for the ORW is good.

Is the print of you new ORW like the earlier standard ones? I mean, with the cardboard with that silky finish instead of the current glossy one... etc?

I'm sorry to hear about the Albano-Waite, though. This is another very interesting version that I'd be interested on, but fine artwork on bad print makes no sense at all.

By the way, I just received a printed in Italy Universal Waite and liked it a lot. The glossy finish is the same, but the printing is actually quite good. It seems to be a deck from the new batches, with the blue box instead of the golden one (post-2004 printings). Very nice.

The Universal Waite colouring is very different, and the drawings have indeed changed to some extent, but I find this deck a worthy addition to the Rider-Waite tradition. It can certaily stand on its own merits.


I have both an Italian Printed GRWS and a Belgium Printed one. There is a definite difference in quality. The Italian cards had to be peeled from each other, are very shiny with plastic finish and had a strong chemical smell. The Belgium on the other hand is less shiny, the lines are not so thick and reminds me of the plaid backed cards I started with in the 70's with the handwritten numbers. I am sorry you have a disappointment with your Giant. I purchased both Giants at the same time, but from different outlets, at the beginning of this year. ~Rosanne


atlantean said:
Is the print of you new ORW like the earlier standard ones? I mean, with the cardboard with that silky finish instead of the current glossy one... etc?
Hi atlantean-

Silky smooth might be a good way to describe them. They are neither matte nor glossy. The cards feel like paper to me, not plastic. In my opinion they are a lot like some of the earlier Waite-Smith decks.

Little Baron

I have one.

Italy. ISBN 0-88079-474-7

Absolutely bloody dreadful!

In some cards, details are completely lost. The face on one of the women in the '3 of Cups' has been reduced to dots.

The whole thing looks like it has been coloured by someone on a computer with a mouse.

And the palette is way to bright.

Nasty and cheap looking typed fonts.

I wrote about this deck on here in recent months. Really, really disappointed by it as I had seen the older copy before, and it was quite lovely.

Wouldn't recommend this deck to anyone.


Little Baron

Oh, and one more thing!!!!!

The absolute killer!!!

On the outside of the box, the image is of The Magician.

The OLD magician.

With the OLD colouring

With the OLD fonts

Completely misleading!!! And completely disappointing when you open it up and find something different. I actually mentioned this to a woman in a shop who worked there. She said 'Oh no, the inside cards are the same as the cover'. So I said 'Open it!'. She did and realised the difference. She was quite surprised and said how cheap she thought they looked.

What is going on with publishers? Why can't they leave well enough alone?!!! Rather than changing, bordering, or sticking bloody keywords and titles in every bloody language on the decks.