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Published May 05, 2023 Updated May 05, 2023

English (or Rigel) Tarot Cards

‘Authentic English fortune telling’ Tarot cards said to be based on a 15th century original found in the British Museum.

1975 United Kingdom Malcolm G. Read Limited Rigel Press Limited Tarot Add to Collection

One should always be wary of packs which claim to be ‘authentic’ and ‘original’, especially in relation to allegedly ‘English Tarot’ packs. The cards on which these designs are based may well be in the British Museum but they are not English and not from as early as the 15th century. The originals almost certainly had French titles which are strangely absent here (perhaps to make them look more ‘English’?). What is true is that this pack – based on the Tarot de Marseille – has clean lines and fresh colours (red, blue, yellow, green and black). Certain ‘modern amendments’ have been made to the original card designs according to the ideas of the Insight Institute

‘Authentic English fortune telling’ Tarot cards printed by Malcolm G. Read Limited, London, UK. Published by Rigel Press Limited, London, UK, 1975 ‘Authentic English fortune telling’ Tarot cards printed by Malcolm G. Read Limited, London, UK. Published by Rigel Press Limited, London, UK, 1975 ‘Authentic English fortune telling’ Tarot cards printed by Malcolm G. Read Limited, London, UK. Published by Rigel Press Limited, London, UK, 1975 ‘Authentic English fortune telling’ Tarot cards printed by Malcolm G. Read Limited, London, UK. Published by Rigel Press Limited, London, UK, 1975

Above: ‘Authentic English fortune telling’ Tarot cards printed by Malcolm G. Read Limited, 175 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3EW. Published by Rigel Press Ltd, 21 Cloncurry Street, London SW6 6OR, UK, 1975. 78 cards + 2 extra cards + booklet in tuck box. Size: 60.5 x 109 mm. © Rigel Press Limited 1975.

• Rigel Press also published the R.G. Tarot Cards, the Royal Fez Moroccan Tarot, the Tarot of Eliphas Levi (Wirth designs) and the Tarot of Count Cagliostro.

• It is interesting to note that this pack was being sold outside the UK (see the sticker on the box in Swiss francs?) and that Richard Gardner's name was associated with it. See the box

The Booklet

‘Authentic English fortune telling’ Tarot cards printed by Malcolm G. Read Limited, London, UK. Published by Rigel Press Limited, London, UK, 1975 ‘Authentic English fortune telling’ Tarot cards printed by Malcolm G. Read Limited, London, UK. Published by Rigel Press Limited, London, UK, 1975 ‘Authentic English fortune telling’ Tarot cards printed by Malcolm G. Read Limited, London, UK. Published by Rigel Press Limited, London, UK, 1975

Above: excerpts from the booklet accompanying the pack.

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By Roddy Somerville

Member since May 31, 2022

Roddy started collecting stamps on his 8th birthday. In 1977 he joined the newly formed playing-card department at Stanley Gibbons in London before setting up his own business in Edinburgh four years later. His collecting interests include playing cards, postcards, stamps (especially playing cards on stamps) and sugar wrappers. He is a Past President of the Scottish Philatelic Society, a former Chairman of the IPCS, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and Curator of the WCMPC’s collection of playing cards. He lives near Toulouse in France.


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