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Smith-Waite Centennial deck is THE definitive RWS -- a must-have!

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McFaire  McFaire is offline
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A joke? Purely cash motivated?

I don't think so.

The centennial anniversary of the deck is not a fiction, and Pamela Coleman Smith finally received the recognition she has deserved for a century. I'm happy that this good quality deck, affordably priced, with a different look that people enjoy, has honored her memory. So I have to disagree that the motivation for creating the deck was purely mercenary or that the new edition is a joke.

US Games is a for-profit business, yes. If it weren't for the profit motive, we wouldn't have all the interesting decks that USG offers at low cost -- decks that many people enjoy and get a great deal out of in terms of personal growth. I disagree that USG has no values other than making money. They offer meaningful products at cheap prices. I think they are doing a pretty good job.
Top   #21
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Richard  Richard is offline
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The Opinion of Another Cynic


I really don't think the recent RWS deck from USG is solely for the purpose of making money. Stuart Kaplan has a passion for Tarot and a keen interest in and appreciation of Pamela Colman Smith's illustrations and contributions to Tarot. The PCS Commemorative Set is a remarkably high quality product for the price. A perusal of the included material leaves no doubt in my mind that it is a heartfelt tribute to her. The included Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot may not be to everyone's taste, but it is the most careful printing of the deck that I have seen. I'm sure that Kaplan hoped that it would make a nice profit, but I am equally sure that it was intended for much more than that.
Top   #22
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If anything about that box was shoddy or less than excellently done, I might agree - but it is not. The quality of reproductions in the added postcards and the book is high. The book is well written, informative and left even me, never a RWS fan, with a lot more appreciation for the artist. Well, the organza bag is probably the weakest point - they could have left it away. But the rest of the box, including the box itself, is really a labour of love.

And the cards? Yes, they look artifically aged, like white gloves dipped in tea. I happen to like that. I have never felt any wish to buy the ever-present RWS and own only this version. But I really like this deck, and I can read with it. I can't compare it with any other version. But the colouring is beautiful, the card stock very nice.

For me, this deck is special because it broke my resistance to the RWS which seemed (please don't hit me!!!) over-estimated and overly popular to me. I'm glad they produced it, and it has a place of honour in my little collection.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
Interesting discussion. I'll probably get it at some point, but I'm not a huge RWS fan and am perfectly happy with my Albano, and to a slightly lesser extent, my Radiant. A faithful reproduction of the original (if that ever comes to pass) would be of interest to me.
If you like the albano, you'll hate the centennial.
Top   #24
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Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desecrated View Post
If you like the albano, you'll hate the centennial.
Perhaps, but I try to take all art on its own merit. If it's well-done and pleasing to the eye, I will appreciate it. The Albano I see as kind of a delightful side-trip.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desecrated View Post
If you like the albano, you'll hate the centennial.
Not true. Have Albano - original and USG - and Centennial. Love them all. Please don't second guess others based on your view
Top   #26
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I love the Albano too, but it is really more of a hybrid than a true RWS.
Top   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemia View Post
And the cards? Yes, they look artifically aged, like white gloves dipped in tea. I happen to like that. I have never felt any wish to buy the ever-present RWS and own only this version. But I really like this deck, and I can read with it. I can't compare it with any other version. But the colouring is beautiful, the card stock very nice.
Oh I admit total bias when I could never really bring myself to like Pam's flat coloured drawings. I ditched the RWS for the Universal as soon as I found out about it because the multidimensional colouring appealed so much more. I also favour the Radiant.

That's also what turned me off Centennial. It's a Pam-A style RWS drawing, but with the same flat colours tinted to look "older." Nothing about Pam's colour choices changed, they were only adjusted. And of the originally preserved deck scans I've seen, the tinting is even different from their colour shades. It was a deliberate choice that renders the Centennial yet another completely original deck of its own, rather than a restoration. Virtually the only arguable "restoration" about the Centennial is the offer of true Pam-A drawings and the return of Pixie's own fonts for the titles (and thank goodness for the latter).




Frankly, I wish Kaplan had published the PCS book a lot sooner, maybe even in a standard size book rather than as a box set companion. I was lucky to find the book alone in a used bookstore; someone only found the cards interesting and ditched it. What a goldmine they gave up.

I'd never assume the entire project wasn't a labour of love to honour Pixie, but in terms of its cards being completely faithful to her artwork, and even her own monogram, they still aren't. Sure, Kaplan wasn't aiming for a faithful restoration when he published this, but that's what I want. I'd prefer that the only flat version I own be as close to the original preserved decks as possible. But US Games still has to make alterations somehow to keep the copyright, be it colour changes or a different back.

"The definitive RWS," in my opinion, is a museum-quality replica of the oldest surviving complete deck: Pam-A lines, Pixie's faithfully preserved colours, and the orange crackle back, I believe. You can't get any more accurate than that because it's designed a perfect imitation of the artifact. It still doesn't exist, and won't until the expiration. But believe me when it does I will leap on that sucker like a lion on a gazelle and hold it up like Brian's holy shoe.
Top   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
I really don't think the recent RWS deck from USG is solely for the purpose of making money. Stuart Kaplan has a passion for Tarot and a keen interest in and appreciation of Pamela Colman Smith's illustrations and contributions to Tarot. The PCS Commemorative Set is a remarkably high quality product for the price. A perusal of the included material leaves no doubt in my mind that it is a heartfelt tribute to her. The included Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot may not be to everyone's taste, but it is the most careful printing of the deck that I have seen. I'm sure that Kaplan hoped that it would make a nice profit, but I am equally sure that it was intended for much more than that.
I agree. PCS is a passion of his.
Top   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeric View Post
"The definitive RWS," in my opinion, is a museum-quality replica of the oldest surviving complete deck: Pam-A lines
The yellow-box deck - especially the early AGMueller printing - comes pretty darn close. I've sat with a group where we compared a Pam-A, Pam-B and modern yellow box, card-by-card, and it was surprising how close the yellow box came to the A.

The brown crackle-back (Pam-A) is actually the second printing on better card-stock than the Roses & Lilies printing. Both are complete, but the Roses & Lilies was the first.

An exact replica would have to include age blemishes, etc. But then, modern printing techniques would change the effect anyway - especially the coatings used to preserve the ink and allow the surface to survive shuffling. I suppose one could try an extremely expensive chromolithography version on almost the exact same paper (if such could be found). But few could pay for a copy printed that way.
Top   #30




 


 


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