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Tarot Cards

Rare and exceptional tarot decks

Albano-Waite-Smith Tarot Cards

Albano-Waite-Smith Tarot Cards


[Albano, Frankie][Waite, A.E.][Smith, Pamela Colman] Los Angeles: Tarot Productions, 1968. 78 brightly coloured cards. 32pp goldenrod instruction booklet, included from separate deck. Albano released a series of decks in different sizes, of which this is the standard 78 card "New Color Deluxe Edition." Some scuffs and scrapes to box, obscuring copyright information. Top flap detached. Cards are in near fine condition, however.

This edition of the classic Waite-Smith deck was colour-corrected by Frankie Albano in the late 60s, with the intention of giving the deck a brighter, more psychedelic feel, appropriate to the age. Albano thought that the 1959 University Books, Inc. decks were untrue to the Rider-Waite-Smith decks available only in London at the time, and sought to create a deck with "accurate colour tones." Whether or not he succeeded is debatable. He did, however, manage to create a singularly beautiful deck by his interpretation of Pamela Colman Smith's art.

While Albano is often derided as a plagiarist - and rightly so, as he blatantly copied the University Books "Little White Booklet" (later, goldenrod, as in this copy) - his decks were partly responsible for the resurgence in interested in the tarot in the United States. Furthermore, his Tarot Productions company had a definite effect on the way RWS decks were presented, and the way tarot cards have been manufactured and marketed ever since. Tarot Productions are responsible for the yellow box, commonly associated with the RWS deck, as well as giant, miniature, and 22-card "Trumps Only" decks. Albano managed to find a way into tarot history, even if it was on the backs of others. A facsimile Albano-Waite deck was later released by US Games in 1991.

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