The Queen’s Sword blog did a survey of the top Marseille decks in Facebook’s Tarot Professionals subgroup, Tarosophy de Marseille. If you read this blog or have taken my classes, you know how much I love the Marseille decks. For me, they are the ur-tarot—the style in which the cards and their sequence and symbolism truly gelled, and that served as the basis for nearly all decks that followed (including the Rider-Waite-Smith). I have a number of Marseille decks and continue to buy new ones as they appear in what has become a bit of an obsession (perhaps Le Diable, shown above, makes me do it).
My favorite—both for personal work and for client readings—is the Jean Noblet (c. 1650), which is believed to be the oldest in the Marseille style. This edition is a restoration by renowned tarot scholar and artist Jean-Claude Flornoy.
It is notable in its phallic obsession, with Le Bateleur’s hand exhibiting an odd penis-like finger (above), and Le Fou’s full “twig and berries” exposed to the animal about to pounce upon them with its sharp claws (below). Squirm-inducing, wouldn’t you say?
The hermaphroditic Le Diable, as you can see at the top of the page, is also quite comfortable letting it all hang out. But aside from its odd quirks, this is a beautifully crafted restoration, with heavy card stock and, at 2-12″ by 3-7/6″, is considerably smaller than most tarots.
You can find more information about this fascinating deck and purchase it here.
To see what other professional scholars and readers chose as their favorites, visit the Queen’s Sword.