The broadening interest in the cards’ history among occultists and card readers means
that there is still a market for reproduction packs. These cards usually pre-date
occult interest in tarot and were made with us game players in mind. These packs
can be very beautiful and a pleasure to play with, though not all have been made
with durability in mind - especially those that strive to recreate an authentic feel
to the cards that includes square corners and an unvarnished finish.
Click Image for Gallery
Ancient Italian Tarot
Well, not all that ancient, these designs date to 1880 and were certainly intended
for game play. They were first published by Lo Scarabeo in 1996 in a pale green box
- these sets are still floating around so be warned, the first edition is not as
suitable for card play. The were then re-issued in 2000 in a much better edition,
using more flexible card stock and with a good varnish, making them much more durable
than the previous printing.
No question, these are a personal favourite of mine. An excellent purchase for any
tarot player and at under £12.50, its an affordable one.
This is one of two packs from Piatnik called the Grazer Tarock, so make sure you
get the right one. This pack is a reproduction of an 1825 pack and the oldest surviving
pack of its kind. This is a 54 card pack featuring a range of locations from Graz
on the trumps.
The cards are very small (52x102mm) but of good quality and attractive design, packaged
in a two part hard box. The price is also fair at £8, making it a viable game pack
rather than one just for the collection.
If you enjoy the 54 card games, then this is certainly worth getting.
Sadly, minchiate was last recorded to have been played in Milan during the early
1930s and it is now considered a dead game. The upshot of this is that if you want
to play it, you’ll need a reproduction pack which can be costly and sometimes hard
to come by.
The most common design for you to find is the Etruria from about 1725. This has been
published by both Lo Scarabeo and il Meneghello.
The il Meneghello edition (limited to 2000 copies) is still available from Alida
Stores for about £30. Although very attractive, with a nice hand made box, it is
not best suited to game play. The card stock is very sturdy and inflexible, with
no coating and with square corners. Perhaps a nice pack to bring out for a special
occasion and for friends you know not to be Card Curlers.
The Lo Scarabeo version is sadly out of print but does show up on eBay now and then
for as little as £20. The first edition was in 1996 and like the Ancient Italian,
the card stock was not well coated or very flexible (this was sold in a light blue
box). Better suited to game play was the edition printing in 2001 (sold in a red
box), this has a good coating, and is made from a flexible card stock, making it
much more durable for card play.