I ordered my GTR Thursday morning (along with a copy of the Oracle of Visions) and it arrived today!
The outer box that the deck comes in is gorgeous. It's hinged at the top and therefore opens upward. Had a little trouble getting it opened though. I had gripped the top with my left hand and was trying to use my right thumb (in the little tab provided) to hold the bottom of the box as I tried to pull the the lid up. That wasn't working, so instead I had to use my right forefinger and push the bottom in slightly as I lifted the top off.
I'd been following the deck creation thread all along so I shouldn't be all that surprised, but the GTR is noticeably improved over the Gilded Tarot. The cards are much larger and wider (I love a large card!) - 84 mm x 140 mm (3-5/16" x 5-1/2") for the GTR vs 70 mm x 117 mm (2-3/4" x 4-5/8") for the Gilded. The stack of GTR cards is 33 mm tall where the Gilded stack is 25 mm. The lamination is far from glossy, although I don't know that I'd say it's matte.
Not gonna go card by card, but the first thing I notice is the Fool - he's much purpler (my favorite color!) and the dog and mountain that are missing from the Gilded are there. While the Gilded's Magician is what I expect Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings to look like, I think the GTR's Magician probably bears a much closer resemblance to the artist himself. AND he's wearing purple!
Ciro has given an interesting twist to the Lovers card - the warrior is now a ghost. Slight quibble with the Wheel - the angel and bird appear to be riding the wheel, while the bull and lion are definitely at the base of it. I love all the richness in the colors of the fabric that floats around Temperance. I'd LOVE to knit a sweater out of those colors. The nude man in the Tower is definitely falling from the tower instead of doing a handstand in front of it like he was in the Gilded.
Some of the cards were slightly stuck together as I was going through them, but they separated easily. Not USG brick stuck together and not lamination stuck together, but possibly gilding stuck together. Again, they easily separated without causing any problems.
The folks in the GTR generally seem to be a little older and wiser than the folks in the Gilded and they seem to live in the same Universe as the folks from the Legacy of the Divine.
More animals have been added to the deck. I noticed a lot of cats and dogs that weren't originally there. And other animals that were there in the Gilded are made more prominent in the GTR.
On the one hand, I think Llewellyn was crazy to not publish the GTR, but on the other I'm glad they didn't because I'm sure it wouldn't have ended up as lovely as the deck I have in front of me is.
Not gonna have time to look at the CD now (about to head off to dinner), so I'll be back later with impressions of that. I got a 5-1/2" x 9-1/8" signed print of the High Priestess card that I'll have to frame and add to my tarot wall.
You've outdone yourself Ciro, and while I know you didn't do it for me, thanks for empurpling the GTR!