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Published December 02, 2023 Updated December 02, 2023

Albano-Waite® Tarot

Recoloured version of the Rider/Waite/Smith tarot produced by Frankie Albano, 1968.

1968 USA Tarot Productions Inc Frankie Albano Tarot Rider-Waite Tarot Add to Collection

Frankie (or Frank) Joseph Albano was born on June 14, 1938, in New Galilee, PA, to Joseph and Rose Zitto Albano. Most of what is known about his life comes from bits and pieces strung together.

He had a recording career in the mid-1960s, producing tracks such as "She'll Never Know" with Mike Curb and "Big Foot May" with his band The Deadbeats. At some point Albano travelled to London and became enamoured with tarot. In 1967, he released the Tarot Press Tarot Wheel, a circular talking board combining elements of astrology, Ouija, and the tarot's major arcana.

At age 30, Frankie Albano released his Albano-Waite® Tarot Cards, a "complete authentic" or revised edition of Pamela Colman Smith's artwork, featuring more intense colours in modern pigments "with accurate colour tone" along with an abridged version of Waite's Pictorial Key to the Tarot of 1909. This was published by Tarot Productions, Inc. Los Angeles in 1968 • See the box


The 1960s saw an increasing popularity of mystical and occult topics. The period was marked by the counterculture movement, which adopted alternative lifestyles, rejected established norms, and sought new forms of spirituality and self-expression. Many individuals turned to esoteric practices, including tarot, as a means of exploring unconventional spiritual paths.

Frankie Albano's involvement with the tarot and occult or esoteric ideas reflects a popular scene evolving at that time. His unique contribution was to revive Pamela Colman-Smith's 1909 pack with brighter colours.

The Minor Arcana

The backgrounds of the Minor Arcana are colour-coded. The cups feature light blue-green, the wands are orange, the pentacles lime green, and swords yellow.

Recoloured version of the Rider/Waite/Smith tarot produced by Frankie Albano, 1968. © The Trustees of the British Museum Recoloured version of the Rider/Waite/Smith tarot produced by Frankie Albano, 1968. © The Trustees of the British Museum Recoloured version of the Rider/Waite/Smith tarot produced by Frankie Albano, 1968. © The Trustees of the British Museum Recoloured version of the Rider/Waite/Smith tarot produced by Frankie Albano, 1968. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Above: recoloured version of the Rider/Waite/Smith tarot produced by Frankie Albano, published and copyright by Tarot Productions, Inc., 8006 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, California, 1968. 72x121 mm. He appears to have coloured the deck according to B.O.T.A instructions. The booklet included with the Albano-Waite tarot is essentially a shortened version of Waite's Pictorial Key to the Tarot. Images © The Trustees of the British Museum • Museum number 1982,U.4643.1-78

Albano also released a major arcana deck, a giant major arcana deck, and a miniature deck featuring his recoloured versions of Pamela Colman Smith’s cards.


Further References

• Tarot Thursday: Frankie Albano

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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