hist-games: Miniature Historical Tarot Decks

Mark Waks justin at inmet.com
Thu Oct 2 14:07:32 PDT 1997


I know I've been meaning to write in about this for a while, but I can't
recall doing so. So...

Late last year, I got myself an exceptionally cool Christmas present: a
collection of miniature replicas of historical Tarot decks. The details
on these decks are a bit unclear; they claim to be "Made in Italy for
Cavallini & Co, San Francisco", whatever that indicates.

The set I got has five decks in it; each is reduced to about 1 1/2" by 2
1/2". The collection is in the form of a little bookcase, and each deck
is a "book", which holds the loose cards. They are printed on heavy
paper or light card, so the decks are pretty thick relative to their
size, about 1" to 1 1/2".

None come with any actual documentation, but they are labelled as
follows:

-- "Il Tarocco Di Besancon; Edizione ristampata da "IL MENEGHELLO" da
Osvaldo Menegazzi MILANO (Italia) -- 1986", if I am reading the tiny
print on the spine correctly.

-- "Tarocco di 78 Carte Bologna; Bologna Sec. XVIII", which I assume
probably means 18th century; from the style, that seems plausible.

-- "1835 Tarocco di 78 Carte; "Soprafino" il Meneghello -Milano-". Very
pretty deck, but more blatantly post-period, with very fine art.

-- "Tarocco Popolare; Ligure Piemontese". Very pretty, definitely
post-period, and *quite* bizarre, in that all of the picture cards are
double-headed (that is, they are divided in half much like modern court
cards). I don't think I've seen that on any other Tarot decks. Indeces
on all cards except courts.

-- By far the most interesting of the lot (and, indeed, the reason I
bought the thing): "Minchiate Florentine; Gioco di tarocchi di 97 carte
Sec. XIX". Definitely post-period, although not as screamingly as some,
but even so it's worth it: this is the only Minchiate deck I've ever
seen for sale, and it appears to still fit Dummett's descriptions pretty
closely. Worth the price of the whole set just to see what a Minchiate
deck really looks like. (Minchiate, for those unfamiliar with Tarot
arcana, is a 97-card variant, which has an expanded trump set.)

I happened to be at the store yesterday, and checked: they appear to
have a couple more sets of this. The exact composition seems to be
different, but they did appear to still have the Minchiate deck.

The store is:

	The Games People Play
	1100 Massachusetts Ave.
	Cambridge, MA 02138
	(617) 492-0711

				-- Justin

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