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Cartes Lenormand

“Cartes Lenormand” published by H. P. Gibson & Sons Ltd, London, printed in Germany by B. Dondorf, 1920s.

Cartes Lenormand by H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd, 1920s

Detail from 'Cartes Lenormand' by H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd., 1920s

By a Famous Parisian Diviner...

French-suited “Cartes Lenormand” published by H. P. Gibson & Sons Ltd, London, printed chromolithographically in Germany by B. Dondorf. The set was probably published in the early 1920s because H. P. Gibson & Sons Ltd didn't exist until 1919 after Harry Gibson sold the International Playing Card Co (formed in 1903) to De la Rue. The retail price was 3/6d per pack.

Between c.1873 and 1933 Dondorf printed and published fortune telling decks in the style of Madame Lenormand. Dondorf also printed Lenormand fortune-telling cards for Carreras during the 1920s. To see a study of the different editions of Lenormand cards click here.

Cartes Lenormand by H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd., 1920s Cartes Lenormand by H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd., 1920s Cartes Lenormand by H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd., 1920s

Above & Left: ‘Cartes Lenormand’ published by H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd, 1920s. The cards were printed in Germany by B. Dondorf.

Below: Box from ‘Cartes Lenormand’ published by H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd, 1920s.

Box from Cartes Lenormand by H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd., 1920s
Back and rule leaflet from Cartes Lenormand by H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd., 1920s

Above: the back of the cards is the standard Dondorf back design, without any manufacturer's details overprinted. The booklet accompanying the pack states: The Art of Telling Fortunes "Lenormand" as professed by the celebrated Parisian Diviner Sylvia d'Arville - H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd., London E.C.3. and then goes on to explain that Mlle Sylvia d'Arville is a most celebrated fortune-teller whose grand-mother predicted Napoleon, his greatness and his victories, and his subsequent fall and ruin.

Note: Mary Greer has shown that the earliest forerunner of the Lenormand cards is a 1796 book in English. See her blog: Mary K. Greer's Tarot Blog

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator 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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