University Books editions from 19XX to 19XX


Please start another thread or post to another if this is not about the University Books Rider Waite publications...if you do have questions about the RWS or Pictorial Key or have editions...could you please post here any details?

A question that has been asked about the University Books editions of the Rider Waite is when did they start publishing and what color versions, etc.

I only have two University Books publications:

1) Pictorial Key to the Tarot dated 1959 with 'accurate color tones' that is different than the later 1971 version of the deck. There's an advertisement for a five dollar tarot deck and some unique things about this edition of Pictorial Key to the Tarot. Subsequent reprints of the hardback book do not seem to be in color.

This is a review copy and a small paper insert to Mr Edwin Tribble (handscrawled crayon-To Mr. Tribble for your library): of the Washington Star dated March 1, 1960 notes the following address: University Books, Inc. 101 West 31st Street, New York 1, New York, with a stamp: New Address: 1601 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park, L.

Publication Date: (Stamped) March 1, 1960. Two copies of comment or review will be appreciated (Book was about thirty dollars because of book jacket, condition, extra bits...I've found listings as little as eight dollars and usually around twenty or twenty five for very good or near fine.) I'll enclose a cover picture link soon of one listed that looks similar...

For dating purposes, 1959 seems to be the earliest date of color printing of the Pictorial Key to the Tarot, from Gertrude Moakley's commentary on vii of the book. If you can find subsequent, earlier or later printings of a color or black and white University Books or have questions that collectors can see here...that would be much appreciated.

2) Later 1970's colored deck with a pinkish cast and pink tuck-style cardboard box. Backs are pinks and white with ankh.

I'll post more details of the book or deck or links as questions/answers come up.

It will keep the information accessible to others...I think more than a few of us want to know about our University Books editions, especially as more of these are coming out on ebay, and, etc...




hi Cerulean,

I'd love to get my hands on one of these RWS decks. I really like the pink backs.

Just to clear something up: Is the publisher University Books Inc or University Press (this is what's on Holly's Rider-waite page)?

Sulis xx

Rusty Neon

The deck that I recently acquired which would date from around the 1970s (I would presume) shows the publisher as "University Books Inc."


I think my RWS is this deck.

Backs pink with ankh,
Box with flaps and fool on front.
Dodgy sleeve on fool.
Very bright colours.

Mine has no LWB. Should it have had one? There does not look like much space in the box for it.

University Books inc. New Hyde Park, New York 1104

Is there another printing by University books?
does it differ from mine?
I'm a bit confused about all this.


No date, no little white book ever reported on pink box

of the University Books Rider Waite.

But the four digit-zip code on my box had me wonder if that was a printing error or it means my boxed copy was previous to 1963, when there were five digit zip codes introduced?

Someone told me to look at the U.S. Postal Service site to verify when five digit zip codes were used...

Twenty Years Before ZIP Codes:

1943: The United States Post Office Department divides cities into zones. This was a precursor to the Zoning Improvement Plan Codes, or ZIP Codes.
Zip Codes and the New United States Postal Service: 1963 - Today

1963: ZIP Codes are introduced. ZIP Codes are five-digit numbers that enable mail to be sorted faster. Use of the code was not mandatory on any mail at first.

1967: The Post Office requires second- and third-class bulk mail to be pre sorted by ZIP Code.

I wondered if the Hyde Park address with the four digit zone code means the deck that people have in the original box are printed previous to 1963?

It's an open question--I don't know anything about University Books. I cannot find very much information in Occult History of the Tarot (Decker and Dummett or Kaplan's Encyclopedia volumes I and II)...will have to search further....although I did find out Gertrude Moakley, who wrote the introduction to the 1959 University Books edition of the Pictorial Key was well-known in 1960 to appear on Eden Gray's-affiliated radio show in New York (Decker and Dummett).

Rusty Neon

Cerulean said:
But the four digit-zip code on my box had me wonder if that was a printing error or it means my boxed copy was previous to 1963, when there were five digit zip codes introduced?

What are four digits of the four-digit zipcode on your deck's box?


My two items only say University Books.

I don't know what other people have on their boxes and books, sorry.

Address on box:

University Books inc. New Hyde Park, New York 1104

Best regards,


Rusty Neon

Lillie and Cerulean,

It looks like your University Books decks are older than mine. Mine has the University Books Inc. address as:

120 Enterprise Ave.
Secaucus, N.J. 07094

That address is given on five times on the box, one on each of five sides of the box: top and bottom flaps, the two side panels, and the back of the box.


Link shows book cover and description

Please scroll to last image entry in this listing.

Waite, Arthur Edward, PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT, THE, 1, 1959, University Books, HB. Reprint of 1910 British title. A.E. Waite is the author of the most enduring Tarot books ever written, and the force behind the most popular Tarot deck of all time. Known as the "Rider/Waite" deck, or just "Waite" deck, it was drawn by illustrator Pamela Coleman Smith following Waite's direction. Both the book and the deck were published by the Rider publishing company in Britain. In 1959, University Books published a version, along with an accompanying deck. Their deck is distinguished by having an Ankh symbol on the reverse face of the card (the Ankh was University Books' Colophon). The colors of this deck are much more vivid than the later printings by US Games Systems. Waite was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, and the cards and his meanings for them are more or less based on the group's doctrines.

If you are buying the book through, include the link and description to your seller and they will be able to confirm the 1959 edition and whether there are 78 color may not be the best PKT or tarot edition out there, but sometimes it feels nice to have something vintage to use...and at least they were older things within my price range...




Just fyi...confirmed book on

I already have my copy, so if anyone wants this: information below. You can search for it on

Seller replied:
This is the exact same book pictured in the link you gave - the book itself is crisp and clean, but the jacket is soiled (waterstained) and lightly worn, though basically intact. Let me know if you're still interested! Thanks again and kindest regards, Marie Bottini wrote:

Abebooks has received the following inquiry for one of your books.

Subject: Question about Abebooks item #153781570

Author: Waite, Arthur Edward, Illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith
Publisher: New Hyde Park: University Books, 1959
Book ID: 003701
Price: US$15.00

Hard Cover. Fine/Very Good. First Edition Thus. The most popular tarot deck explained. Originally published in 1910, with new copyrighted material.