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on 21 May 2016
Not to be confused with Kat Black’s Golden Tarot (a renaissance collage deck with gilt edges), this Golden Tarot is a redrawing of the Visconti-Sforza deck.

For this review, I will be using the Visconti Sforza Tarocchi Deck (Vs 78) tarot as the comparison deck and point of reference as I believe this is the deck the publisher has used as their base for this production.

The creative team for this project is Mary Packard (book) and Rachel Clowes (cards). Surprisingly neither has a tarot or occult background. Surprising because both their individual efforts sit well together and would not be out of place in anyone’s tarot library.

Let’s look at the cards first

They are large, not quite as large as the Pierpoint Morgan version, but close enough. At 16.5 cm x 8.4 cm, they sit surprisingly well in my smallish hands. The card stock quite thick and they shuffle really well. The existing Visconti-Sforza has four cards missing. Luigi Scapini (The Medieval Scapini Tarot (Premier Edition Tarot)) redrew the missing cards for the US Games Pierpoint Morgan issue. Clowes has also reproduced these four cards seemingly from using Scapini’s offerings. They have The Original Rider Waite Tarot Deck elements to them, most notably the white horse in the Knight of Coins. Having said that, I much prefer Clowes’ version as I feel they blend into the rest of the deck more naturally than Scapini’s.

The missing cards are:

• Knight of Coins
• Three of Swords
• The Devil
• The Tower

As the Pierpoint is a facsimile of the originals, it shows the cards as they exist – some of their details have been lost, the colours have faded and are much darker than this new edition. Clowes has breathed new life into this deck, thought it can be seen with some cards, detail has been lost (Ace of Batons/Wands) and with others it has been gained (Ace of Cups).

Reading with the Deck

No review would be complete without a short reading to get a feel for the deck. Prior to this reading, I did a number of readings with Douglas and they were spot on. I insisted we use the definitions in the book, for authenticity, and we were both impressed by the results. We were challenged in some places but we see that as a good thing because it brings a freshness to your reading and another perspective.

The question I asked for this review, a little facetiously, was:

How will my readers and the publisher receive this review?

I drew the King of Batons (Wands) and Temperance.

I’m happy with both of those cards – they were both jumpers and came out of the deck together. The definitions in the book (and not including the card description or history) read as follows:

King of Batons – Confident; mature; successful; combines paternal instincts with an optimistic, generous nature.

Temperance – Nurturing and health; self-control without denial; moderation and balance in all things.

Wow, another reading that was spot on. I have a number of irritations with this kit but decided not to focus on them because on reflection, what does that really bring to the table? For me, reviewing a deck is about how someone will it experience it. So purists and finer points aside, overall, the Golden Tarot is a nice addition to any collector’s library and I would go so far as to suggest this could easily become a regular reading deck.

So the final question remains, would I recommend this deck? Yes, most definitely.

Catherine Chapman
Tarot Elements

See full colour images at my website under Tarot Talk
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 November 2017
This cannot be faulted for its presentation. The whole ensemble comes shrink sealed. The ornate box measures approximately 9” [230mm] x 7½” [190mm] x 2¾” [45mm]. Made of very stout card it features a flip top lid and the main body has a double card thickness. Inside is a slightly undersized 'A5' Hardback booklet of 143 numbered pages. The first 47 pages give a basic history and background. The remainder follows the pattern of giving a full page picture of the card and a brief interpretation. There is a similar sized thin card slipcase holding a purple cloth, which unfortunately is too small to hold the booklet. Finally the cards themselves come in their own thin card box. Inside, the pack itself is shrink sealed. Cards are a large 6½” [165mm] x 3¼” [85mm] so might pose a problem for some. Descriptions of the cards are easily found on various search engines.
There are essentially at least 15 different ‘Viscontti or Sforza’ packs but this is basically a printing of the most complete set [4 missing and reinterpreted here]. This was commissioned to mark the 10th Wedding Anniversary [1451] of Fransesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti, who both feature heavily in them and is also variously known as the Colleoni-Baglioni and Francesco Sforza decks. The original cards were hand painted and the face cards had gilt backgrounds, which modern four colour printing cannot reproduce, while the "pip" cards are cream-coloured with a flower and vine motif. That said, the detail has been enhanced to reveal detail lost on other reproductions so it’s really a trade off of sorts. The Trump cards commonly called ‘major arcana’ are not numbered and instead of the usual King, Queen, Jack of ordinary playing cards, these have a fourth, the knight.
This makes a superb ‘gift’ at an affordable price for anyone with an interest in playing Trumps [Tarot] or divination and is IMHO the best value deck 'out there'.
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on 18 November 2017
Mary Packard has done a wonderful job on the recreation of these cards and they are an extraordinary, high quality pack. It conforms to the original tarot decks which has pips for the 1 - 10 of each suit in the minor arcana but with beautifully ancient, illustrated court cards and major arcana cards. Much to my surprise, I have found that not having the pictures to distract me can often give a clearer reading from this type of pack. It may well be better for someone who is not a beginner. The cards themselves are of strong card and large and would take much frequent use well. They come handsomely and luxuriously boxed with a magnetic closure for the hinged lid. The generously full book gives details of the illustrations as well as meanings.

The origins of the pack are not from the Dark Ages as Amazon has erroneously described it (these stretch from Roman Britain to the Norman Conquest 1066 AD when there were few records) but from the days of Renaissance Italy, late 1300's to early 1500's (14th - 15th Centuries). The Sforza family were a very rich, strong and influential family who challenged the Borgia pope, Alexander VI, from their castle in Northern Italy. The beautiful Catherina Sforza, who successfully defended her castle in a fabulously made suit of armour against both the French and the Papal Armies, is one of the models of "The Three Graces" in Botticelli's famous painting. These cards are thought to have been created for the family during that period of the Renaissance but they were not designed specifically for divination but for using as playing cards - or so they said in the days when such things may have raised a charge of witchcraft!
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on 17 March 2014
When this arrived I was so pleased with it that I immediately ordered a second one for a friend. The cards and book are of good quality and contain a comprehensive (if short) introduction to the genesis of Tarot cards and the ruling family who invented them.

Regarding "authenticity" people should be aware though that these are NOT the cards from the Pierpoint Morgan Visconti Tarot that were taken from actual photographs of the original items, the cards in this set are redesigned digital approximations of Morgan cards. The re-imaging and repainting of the Morgan images that come with this package is open for debate and personal taste, some will love them and some will hate them and while some of the fine details have been clarified others have either been changed or removed completely with all the faces having been changed to look more "Jolly" than the sometimes dour expressions on the Pierpoint Morgan cards.
Being lucky enough to own a set first edition of Pierpoint Morgan cards I would say that in some respects the embellishment on this version enhances them but also takes away a great deal in regards to the "Emotional Feel" of the cards while the four "Missing" cards in this set are completely different to the ones that were commissioned for the Morgan set so please be aware of this before purchase to avoid being disappointed. Personally I like this version of the Visconte cards and I am glad that this publisher hasn't coated them in an inch of shiny resin so no sunglasses are necessary when reading with these.

The book itself is also a High quality product giving a brief outline of the Visconte family and the circumstances that brought the cards into being. However that being said this book is not for people with delicate sensibilities because it also exposes a lot of the late Eighteenth Century fraud claiming that Tarot cards were from Egypt so be discerning whom this is given to (I'v seen people having to be scraped off the ceiling because of the uncomfortable truth about the Egyips origins fraud).
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on 10 July 2014
Not sure I need the book or the box (though both of excellent quality), and the cloth,though thoughtful, is really much too small to do anything with. But the cards themselves are beautiful, lovely matt finish and excellent reproductions. For the price, this is an absolute steal. Fill your boots.

This review was edited by the reviewer Apr 2015.
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on 9 June 2016
I took a long time to convince myself to buy this deck, having a number of others already and preferring the cards of the Minor Arcana suits to be individually illustrated to provide hints as to their meaning, rather than the simplified ranking using just the suit symbols . But these seemd to be of historical interest, based on one of the oldest and most complete decks in existence. I am certainly glad that I did buy this set, the cards are beautiful and the little book well presented in colour with a brief history of Tarot cards and of the Visconti Sforza, all contained in a well mad flip top box.

I hadn't appreciated the size of the cards and their proportions, although other purchases had mentioned this in feedback. The cards are large and slim compared to any others I have come across, measuring approximately 8.5 x 16.5 cm and would be difficult to use in terms of handling and shuffling, but for me it adds to the overall statement of the set. I have never sought out images of the original existing cards for comparison but I will do now for my own staisfaction. At the RRP of £20 this set is not overpriced, and at a little under £12 including delivery from Book Depository excellent value.

Just finished checking out the packaging and found inside what I thought was a simple cardboard spacer a nice purple satin cloth, about 42cm square. Even better value!
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on 1 June 2013
Since Leo Mayer first discovered the Mamluk cards in the Topkapı Palace in 1939, the history of playing cards has grown and developed. Piatnik have produced wonderful reproductions of early German packs with accompanying booklets, such as Karnöffel, Ambraser Hofänterspiel and the like, and this Race Point box with reproduced cards and hardcover booklet adds wonderfully to such productions. Obviously by calling it ‘The Golden Tarot’ the publishers are aiming at the New Age Spritualism market, and the majority of the booklet is about using the cards for ‘readings’. however, it is clearly pointed out in the introduction that the cards were produced in this form — that is four suits and the extra trionfi or trumps suit to play agame, rather than for divination. Indeed this did not become the use for such card packs until the end of the eighteenth century. More properly known as the Visconti-Sforza (or Sforza-Visconti) Pack or Deck, this wonderful production supersedes the previous publication by Lo Scarabeo of just the trionfi or trumps in ‘The Tarot of Visconti’. Whether you are interested in the Italian Renaissance historically or artistically, or in the history of the development of cards, or just looking for a beautiful tarot pack, I recommend highly this beautiful publication.
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on 15 June 2015
If you understand the Tarot, this set is for you. If you're a learner, you'll want a Minor Arcana with more of a picture-based format to get used to what the cards mean, like the Rider-Waite deck . However, this is definitely for someone, like me, who wants a selection of the more decent decks.

Additionally, the booklet that comes with Tarot cards is not normally worth the paper on which it's printed. In this case, the book is a nice read and isn't vague or cringe-worthy. As all Tarot card decks should be, this was a gift and one of the nicest I've received.

Regarding the packaging; a lot of thought went into maximising the use of space in a way that made me laugh. Once you have the cards out, you're not going to want them to be stored in a cardboard pack and there's a box for a cloth. As with most packaging, it's a little pointless, but who cares? I just find that amusing.
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on 21 July 2014
cardboard real not good the book is good but that it really buy a bible and have the power of god at your fingertips this stuff is a gate way to the devil
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on 7 November 2014
Amazingly good value - opnly £15.99 with free p&p when I bought the set. The cards are excellent quality and very well produced. The book is also nicely printed and presented - I've yet to read it so can't comment further. For me, the main purpose is to acquire one of the keystones of Tarot history. As someone who has been interested in Tarot for many years, I really appreciate the chance to buy reproductions of historical packs, and this is a beauty. An amusing bonus included with the pack and book set is a small square of purple satin cloth - presumably to lay out the reading on? Though it's a trifle small for that. To wear on one's head when divining?
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