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Gaston D. 
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Question about White Box/OTO edition


Long time lurker, first time poster ... hello all!

After studying Tarot with varying degrees of intensity ever since I purchased my first Rider-Waite deck in the mid-1980s (yes, I still have it; yes, it's in excellent condition; no, I won't be selling it anytime soon I finally began looking at the Thoth deck in earnest over the last year or so, largely due to perusing this forum.

Eventually, the time came to purchase my own deck, and me being me I wanted an older copy to go along with my aforementioned ca. 1985 RWS deck and an Aquarian deck of similar vintage I purchased via eBay.

I read up on the edition history as best I could and perused the pertinent threads here as well as the table on tarotgardencom that always seems to come up when this sort of thing is discussed. Due diligence, etc.

So I was happy to find a white OTO box "smaller" sized edition (= the size between the large deck and the pocket size; I guess it's also referred to as the "standard" size) in good condition listed on eBay a few weeks ago. The seller claimed it was given to him "about 20 years ago" but that he barely used it. And the box listed the two extra Magus cards on it, which is what I was especially looking for since I understand US Games no longer publishes the deck with these extra cards.

The deck arrived earlier this week. The box, LWB, and cards themselves are all in excellent condition (and judging from some of the info in the LWB, like the bibliography and the fact that US Games uses an AOL address for its email, the seller's claim that the deck - or at least the box and the LWB - is a couple of decades old seems to check out.)

However ... there were no extra Magus cards! Instead, the deck included an OTO informational card and a unicursal hexagram card - both of which I suppose are nice to have. But for whatever reason, I really wanted those Magus cards.

The box clearly states that it includes the three versions of the Magus/Magician card on the front, so it's confusing that the deck I received doesn't. I contacted the seller, who assured me that the deck he sent me was exactly the one he received in the same box "almost twenty years ago" - even though it seems it might have been switched out at some point for a newer edition (or maybe the extra Magus cards were switched out?)

Ultimately it's a fine deck and I plan on keeping it, though I did pay a little more for it than I would have paid for a brand new copy (I proposed that the seller send me the difference between what I paid and what a new deck goes for on Amazon these days, which seems like a fair compromise.)

But I'm left with a few questions:

• Does anyone know exactly when US Games stopped including the extra Magus cards with the smaller/standard sized Thoth decks?

• When did US Games switch from the white OTO boxes to the present lilac and green ones?

• Did US Games continue to use the white OTO Box with the extra Magus cards statement on it after they had stopped including those cards in the deck?

• Do all newer versions of the deck include the OTO information + unicursal hexagram cards?

• Why do I have a crush on the Prince of Swords? (o.k., I realize that might be a tougher question to answer but still.)

Thanks for indulging my queries - though I have a feeling those of you who share my interest (obsession?) with vintage-ish decks will know where I'm coming from.

Last edited by Gaston D.; 10-03-2017 at 12:55.
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Barleywine 
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The last Thoth deck I bought was in 1983, right after US Games started putting the extra Magus cards in as a "bonus." (In reality I think they just found a more creative use for the two extra blank cards that were left over from a 40-card printer's sheet, rather than putting advertising on them.) Mine had the white OTO box, but it eventually disintegrated. It's the standard-size deck. I've never seen one with the Unicursal Hexagram, so they must be newer than that.



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RLG 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaston D. View Post
Long time lurker, first time poster ... hello all!

Does anyone know exactly when US Games stopped including the extra Magus cards with the smaller/standard sized Thoth decks?
ca. 2011 the lavender box with the Empress on the back switched from 80 to 78 cards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaston D. View Post
When did US Games switch from the white OTO boxes to the present lilac and green ones?
The 1996 edition. It will have a copyright date on the card back. Some of the first deluxe size green boxes still had the older 1978 "greenie" decks in them, until the supply was used up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaston D. View Post
Did US Games continue to use the white OTO Box with the extra Magus cards statement on it after they had stopped including those cards in the deck?
No. The standard size white box with the Universe on the back was the 1986 version, and it always and only had the extra Magi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaston D. View Post
Do all newer versions of the deck include the OTO information + unicursal hexagram cards?
Yes, the newer decks have stopped using the extra Magi. Also, the deluxe size only had two Magi in the 1986 "Swiss" edition, and the pocket size never had extra Magi.


As for your initial problem, it sounds like you had a later deck swapped into an old box. Check the back of the card for a copyright year.


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Gaston D. 
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RLG, thank you for the detailed and very helpful information.

The copyright on the back of all the cards in my deck - including the OTO and hexagram cards - is 1996 AG MULLER. So it does seem as though I have a newer deck in an older box - but could the deck really be as new as post-2011, if that's the date US Games stopped including the extra Magus cards? (And do decks printed that late still include the 1996 copyright date on the back?)
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RLG 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaston D. View Post
RLG, thank you for the detailed and very helpful information.

The copyright on the back of all the cards in my deck - including the OTO and hexagram cards - is 1996 AG MULLER. So it does seem as though I have a newer deck in an older box - but could the deck really be as new as post-2011, if that's the date US Games stopped including the extra Magus cards? (And do decks printed that late still include the 1996 copyright date on the back?)
DWTW

Yes, all decks printed from the new plates made in 1996 will have that year on the back as their copyright, no matter what year they were printed. The history of the Thoth deck is very complicated, but in a nutshell, there were editions in 1972, 1978, 1986, 1996, and 2008 for the most recent, completely overhauled version in the gold box. The first edition was not in 1969, despite that claim being made on almost every blue box from Switzerland.

So the copyright year is not necessarily when the deck was printed, but when the plates were made. In some cases you can tell when the deck was printed by what edition of the LWB comes with it; often there is a year inside or an edition number, but there is no simple answer to what year a particular deck was printed.

LITL

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Gaston D. 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLG View Post
The history of the Thoth deck is very complicated ...
This would seem to be an understatement

It's especially confusing since the seller assured me that the deck he sold me was exactly as it was given to him 20ish years ago, even though the publishing history would indicate that the deck I have couldn't have been produced prior to 2011. I suppose it will have to remain a mystery for now. Thanks again for the detailed information.
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gregory 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLG View Post
No. The standard size white box with the Universe on the back was the 1986 version, and it always and only had the extra Magi.
Actually the first one I acquired that had the extra Magi cards was the purple box Muller (which is one of many Thoths I have) - I have MANY USG and white box editions. Also the smaller lilac Box USG printing.

http://www.tarotgarden.com/library/decks/thothtable.php



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Gaston D. 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregory View Post
Actually the first one I acquired that had the extra Magi cards was the purple box Muller (which is one of many Thoths I have) - I have MANY USG and white box editions. Also the smaller lilac Box USG printing.
Gregory, maybe I can ask you then: Do you know whether there were any standard size decks produced prior to 2011 that included the OTO & hexagram cards in lieu of the extra Magus cards? And would have been possible (or plausible) for US Games to have included the OTO & hexagram cards in a white box that indicated the extra Magus cards as a means of using up old white box stock before the switch to the colored boxes?

(I realize that by this point these questions are largely speculative and academic, since I'm not planning on returning the deck I bought or going after the seller in any way. But it might help fill in more of the Thoth deck publishing story.)
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gregory 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaston D. View Post
Gregory, maybe I can ask you then: Do you know whether there were any standard size decks produced prior to 2011 that included the OTO & hexagram cards in lieu of the extra Magus cards? And would have been possible (or plausible) for US Games to have included the OTO & hexagram cards in a white box that indicated the extra Magus cards as a means of using up old white box stock before the switch to the colored boxes?

(I realize that by this point these questions are largely speculative and academic, since I'm not planning on returning the deck I bought or going after the seller in any way. But it might help fill in more of the Thoth deck publishing story.)
Yes I'm sure there were (if by standard sized decks you mean not the sort of 3 x 5 inch ones - there CERTAINLY were of those.) But I now find that my small white box one does indeed have 3 magus cards, and so does my smaller Muller. (This is all your fault; I was not planning to play THAT game today !)

I haven't time to get out every lost copy I own, but I did acquire a "standard" sized one in 2007 for the express purpose of trimming it, and it did not have the extra Maguses. It was a USG one, and I can't check the BOX just now as it's in my Other Home, but I am pretty sure I recall wondering whether to trim the UCH and deciding not to as the whole point was the projective geometry, which does not include the UCH. I THINK it was a purple box - which makes sense in terms of the table; I posted, as it was post 2005.

There's a thread here with "all" the editions posted; I'll see if I can find it.

ETA here you go:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=35594

Good luck....

OH: Here's one from that thread, so definitely yes !
Quote:
Date of deck: 1997
Publisher: AGM AGMuller
Printed in: Switzerland
Box design: Dark Blue
Card Size: 89 x 58 mm
Fronts: Gray border with design, astrological symbols and Hebrew letters on bottom of trumps
Backs: White borders
Extra cards: OTO card, Rainbow Unicursal Hexagram card
LWB, contents : 43 pages, A Descriptive Essay by Aleister Crowley, edited by Frieda Harris with a foreward by Hymenaeus Beta
ISBN: 3-905219-06-9 Box & LWB



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Last edited by gregory; 13-03-2017 at 04:52.
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Gaston D. 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregory View Post
(This is all your fault; I was not planning to play THAT game today !)
Ha! Sorry to have sent you down that particular rabbit hole ...

Thanks for the information and links. I can't find any indication of a mislabeled white box edition in that thread you provided (which I had come across while searching for more information), so I'm just going to assume that the seller had the best of intentions but somehow got confused about dates at some point and leave the whole matter be as one of the Mysteries of the Universe. (And as it happens, I'm starting to get quite fond of that unicursal hexagram card after all.)
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