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gregory  gregory is offline
Cat on a cold stone roof
Join Date: 01 Jan 2004
Location: The world of the things that could have been.
Posts: 72,249

Jeannette comes up trumps as usual. For everyone's info (I wondered what the heck OTO I had - White Box A: I think !) - I appealed to her, as I KNEW mine came out before 1977.....:

Quote: Kaplan III, it says (under the heading "Crowley Book of Thoth Tarot, first edition"):

"...In the early 1960s, when this edition of the Book of Thoth Tarot... was printed, the Book of Thoth Tarot deck was available only as illustrations in Crowley's book, 'The Book of Thoth'... The illustrations were photographed from copy 105 of the limited edition and printed in blue ink on the fronts and red ink on the backs. The deck is also known as the Sangreal One-Color Tarot. It was published by the Simpson Printing Company (now Harp Printing Company) of Dallas, Texas."

The above information is likely 100% accurate, because I have a customer in Dallas who recently managed to nab a copy of the Sangreal at the local Half-Price Bookstore. But I've never seen a copy of the "Sangreal" edition myself.

Kaplan then goes on to say:

"In 1969, another edition of the Crowley deck was issued, but the quality did not achieve the potential of the cards."

Kaplan doesn't say who published the '69 edition, but I suspect it was either Weiser alone, or Llewellyn in conjunction with Weiser. More on that in a moment.

Back to Kaplan:

"In 1977, with the help of Gerald Yorke and Stephan Skinner, a new, full-color edition was issued jointly by U.S. Games Systems and Samuel Weiser..."

So, here's where my error probably comes in. Forget the current "USG green box," "USG purple box," and "AGM 'Swiss' blue box editions for the moment. Before all of those, there were at least 3 "white box" editions printed. I'll label them "A," "B," and "C," and describe how each can be distinguished:

"White Box Thoth" A: Says "distributed by Samuel Weiser" on the side. Box is constructed as a separating lid on a gold "body" box. The text on the front of the box is in black ink. The image borders are unornamented. The card titles are printed as the suit name ("Trumps" for the majors) in large letters, with the card title (for majors) or keyword (for minors) superimposed in a medium-sized type. The contrast between the back suit name text and the keyword in the forefront is poor, making the card titles difficult to read. The 8 of Cups card is correctly printed.

"White Box Thoth" B: Says "Published by Llewellyn Publications" on the side. Box is the same as the Weiser box -- separating full-cover lid over a gold "body" box. The text on the front is printed in gold ink. Like the "A" variant, the image borders are unornamented, and the card titles/keywords are printed in the same manner, making them difficult to read. The 8 of Cups is incorrectly printed (the number "8" is missing from the top of the card).

"White Box Thoth" C: Says "Published and Distributed by U.S. Games Systems, Inc." on the top of the box. The box is a standard single-piece cardboard box with top-open flap. The text on the box face is in red and blank ink. The image borders are ornamented with the line pattern that remains standard in the USG and AGM versions today. The card titles/keywords are still superimposed on the suit name, but the forefront type has been reduced, and the contrast between the two layers "enhanced," so that the text is easier to read. The 8 of Cups card is printed correctly.

So, here's where my error probably lies: the 1977 edition is probably referring to the USG edition (called edition "C" in my list above), but the deck shown and described is either the "A" or the "B" edition, one of which was probably printed in 1969. However, Whether the "A" predates the "B" or vice-versa can't be determined from the information I have; Kaplan doesn't say (his information implies only one edition was published between the Sangreal and the USG editions, not two), and the tarots were printed early enough that they come from a time when publishers didn't seem to worry about providing date information on their decks. I assume from the info you've sent that the "A" edition (Weiser) must be the 1969 one -- but that still leaves the question of when the Llewellyn edition was published.
Indeed my OTO cards are NOT up to the standard of the later printings.... I did kind of wonder why at times....
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