On this page, you will find links to several interesting pages. The pages are grouped as follows:
If any link is broken, please inform me, so I can repair or remove the link. If you have links that fit in this list, please do not hesitate to suggest me to add it.
Pages dealing with the history of Tarot
Website of my dear friend Sherryl Smith, Tarot reader and Tarot historian.
The website of Robert M. Place, creator of the Alchemical Tarot and other beautiful decks.
Website of the Tarologist Paul Huson, writer of among other books the Devil's picture book (the first book I have read some 40 years ago, that was dealing with Tarot) and the Magical Origins of the Tarot. He also created the Dame Fortune's Wheel Tarot.
One of the best sites dealing with the history of Tarot. Extensive research has been done by the author of this site and many references are available. Many of the historical facts I give and some of the interpretations I propose (like a original structure of the Tarot consisting of 5 suits with 14 cards each), originates from these pages.
Website maintained by Andrea Vitali, one of the greatest Tarot historians of our time.
Andy's pages, one of the first pages dealing with Tarot history that I explored several years ago. As far as I can see, it has not been updated since long time ago, but historical data will rarely expire (unless newer more convincing facts are found)
My first article about the Tarot, published by my friend Jean-Michel David on his website dealing with Tarot history. Jean-Michel is a specialist of the Marseille Tarot. Don't hesitate to explore his pages.
Another website maintained by Jean-Michel David. After a long absence, the site is back online.
A forum where people can discuss the history of Tarot. Not all contributions demonstrate great knowledge of Tarot history, but many of them are very informative or show original thinking.
A Facebook page about Tarot history with some very interesting discussions
Historical Tarot decks
The Beinecke Rare book and Manuscript Library of the Yale University has several historical decks in its collection. The most important are the following:
"Visconti di Modrone" Trionfi deck (1442): https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/2002878
"Este" Trionfi deck (1473): https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/2003006
"Cary Sheet" partial uncut sheet (~1500): https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/11032228
Partial Tarot de Besancon deck Pellerin Epinal (1860): https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/32296422
Jean-Pierre Payen Avignon - Tarot de Marseille type I deck (1713): https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/32296393
Partial Jean Payen Avignon - Tarot de Marseille type I deck (1743): https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/32296376
The National Gallery of Art in Washington was so kind to forward me this link to their collection of Mantegna cards, dated all the way back to 1465 and conserved in the Rosenwald collection. This is a trump only deck of 50 cards (although not complete on this site) with many correspondences to the Tarot and Minchiate decks.
The same website, this time with a link to the Rosenwald Sheet.
The National Library of France. Searching with the word "Tarot" gives you access to high-resolution images of many historical decks that include but are not limited to:
Various other interesting decks are exhibited. Sort the documents by date to find rapidly the older decks.
The British Museum has a huge collection of playing cards. Search for "Tarot", "Tarocchi, "Tarocchino", "Minchiate", "playing cards" or "Dodal". This last search gives you access to a beautiful and complete copy of the Tarot of Jean Dodal, dating from approximately 1701. Many other Tarot related decks have been put online. High-resolution images can be downloaded for free.
Another beautiful deck conserved by the British Museum, this time the deck of Jean-François Vandenborre (1762-1803) from Brussels. The deck is from approximately 1780 when Jean-François was at the age of 18 years.
Website of the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest (Hungary). Searching on tarot will give you access to 34 fragments of uncut sheets from five different decks. Parts of it are an almost complete set of trump cards, identical to a sheet conserved in the Dick-collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Zooming in gives access to very high-resolution images of these sheets. The order of the trumps (part of the trumps are numbered) is typical for Trionfi decks from the Duchy of Ferrara.
High-resolution images of many ancient playing cards, including Tarot decks.
Reproductions of historical Tarot decks for sale
Many modern card factories produce copies of old decks. However, they rarely respect the size of original cards, they number cards that never carried a number, and they made other modification that give rarely satisfying results. For this reason, I will mention only small card makers who make beautiful card decks, respecting in many ways the old specifications.
Behind "il Meneghello" is hiding Osvaldo Menegazzi, a very gifted artist producing wonderful copies of many old decks. Examples are the Visconti di Modrone deck, the Visconti Sforza deck, the Florentine Minchate deck and many others. But be aware, all series are limited and numbered. If you really want a deck, do not hesitate to buy it now, tomorrow can be too late. Out of print is out of print forever as I discovered when I requested a copy of the Tarot of Bologna.
A French editor specializing in the Tarot of Marseille. He has at the time of writing this page a reproduction of four decks, the oldest of which the original has been produced by Pierre Madenie (1709). The other decks reproduced have been designed by François Heri (1718), François Chosson (1736) and Claude Burdel (1751). At the end of 2021, he had produced sixteen different decks. Some of them are out of print, bur will be reprinted soon.
Another French editor who sells two decks predating the Marseille Tarot. He has reproductions of the Tarot of Paris and the Tarot of Jaques Vievil, both produced in Paris between 1600 and 1650.
The late Jean-Claude Flornoy designed copies of the Tarot decks of Jean Noblet and Jean Dodal. He was working on the deck of Jaques Vievil when he passed away (he rests in peace). On this site is a copy available of the 22 trump cards. Jean-Claude did not produce copies of the surviving decks, he created the decks how they should have looked like if the original designers disposed of modern printing equipment. Especially the deck of Jean Noblet is very well done.