While hard to obtain this deck is a necessary component of the modern Tarot collectors must-have list. The reason is simple, Alliette, or Etteilla, was the first professional Tarot reader in history - the first paid Occult Tarot reader to be precise. He released a deck which reflected his ideas about the connections between the ancient Tarot, Astrology, the medieval concept of the 'four humours' (A fascinating subject worthy of study) and the classical concept of the 'four elements'. This is 1791.
These cards are the product of this work and are like no other Tarot deck. Yes they have 78 cards, and yes those cards are divided into Major and Minor Arcana. So far, so Rider Waite. But the cards are numbered sequentially 1-78 and the order is subject to some significant changes. This alone makes the deck an object of considerable fascination. To this we can add that the Minor/Pip cards bear only the most modest illustration, as with many other decks of the traditional Continental style, but the Majors have charming, Classical-in-feel artwork. Upon each card are indications as to its meaning, depending on whether it remains upright or has become reversed. And, of course, that cards are laden with Arcane symbolism, employed and interwoven in such a manner as to be unmistakeably associated with the art of Alchemy.
So, much to sink your teeth into! Which only leaves locating one...There are several versions, ranging from a contemporary reprinting to this version all the way back. I will confess I do not know of the eldest surviving example, but I do know that this version(ISBN: 0913866180)is highly prized and has been known fetch three figures.