This last week I was perusing Ebay and came across a hard to find item, don't you just love when that happens? It was a White Box, 1978, printed in Belgium version of the Thoth deck...the infamous Greenies" deck. What is a Greenies deck you ask...Well,
I'm going to tell you a little bit of history on this particular deck as well as some Thoth trivia and I hope you all enjoy this post as much as I did writing it!
I love to visit the auctions on Ebay and as I've mentioned, I noticed this deck was up for bidding for only $15.00...well, not only was it a great price but it was a GREENIE and of course, this was a deck I had to have! I have heard so much about the "Greenie" mystique for a while and quite honestly I was hoping that this was a greener than average greenie...I won them by the way, at the last few seconds I was the highest bidder! Strangely enough, at one time, they were known not so fondly as "Those Icky Green cards" Here's a little I have learned from The Tarot Garden...
"White Box C"
Published by U.S. Games Systems. Booklet for the Tarot Garden Library copy reads "copyright 1978, 1983." The Encyclopedia of Tarot, vol. III, also shows a few samples of the White Box edition.
Card suit ("Trumps" for the majors) printed in large, light letters, with card title (majors, courts) or keyword (minors) superimposed in small-size type. The contrast between the two overlapping typefaces is improved over the white box "A" and "B" editions, making the titles easier to read. Titles on the majors are flanked by a Hebrew letter on the left, and an alchemical or astrological symbol on the right.
This edition is often referred to as the "green Thoth," due to the significant green tint to the card borders, and general "greenish" cast to the images. Later editions moved to a gray-ish border, and exhibit less of a "green shift" in the image reproduction.
You can see an example of these cards here. I just love this deck, even as green colored as they are they still have a strong vibe to them, of course I had to open and shuffle them! I don't plan on using them very much as they are rather difficult to find and right away I saw that this deck does not have the white borders that other Thoth decks do but I like it... it seems to brighten the pattern and color without white borders.
Crowley originally intended the Thoth deck to be a six-month project but it ended up spanning five years, between 1938 and 1943. Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris were meticulous in their work, and Harris painted some of the cards as many as eight times. Early editions of the deck included two of Harris' early drafts of The Magus card, each making use of markedly different style and symbols. Sadly, neither Harris nor Crowley lived to see the deck published and the first full publication was by Ordo Templi Orientis in 1969.
Some of the various deck printings were:
Samuel Weiser Inc. in co-operation with US Games Systems Inc. 1977/1978:
For this edition the original artwork was re-photographed and Hebrew letters and astrological symbols were added to the left and right of the titles. The border of the cards had a pattern added and the typography of the card names and numbers was changed. For the first time, the printing quality appeared to be up to the artistic standards of the artwork.
The earlier heavy slipcase-boxes was substituted by a plain card board box. Weiser's name did not appear on the box, which only states "published and distributed by US Games". The box is white with printing in black and red, and the O.T.O. logo is still there. There is still no white border around the back pattern, as later will be the case. A booklet accompanies the deck stating copyright 1978 by Stuart R. Kaplan and Donald Weiser. The cards are printed in Belgium by Carta Mundi. This is the deck printing my Greenies come from.
In 1983 an ISBN-number was added to the side panel of the box and the accompanying booklet has a 1978 and a 1983 copyright on the inside cover for US Games System Inc., and Weiser.
From 1986 the deck was printed by AGMüller, Switzerland. The back pattern was now surrounded by a white border, on which the copyright notice is printed. Two extra "Magician" cards (Magus) were added to the deck, reproduced from Frieda Harris' drafts. The names and numbers are now printed in black, instead of the earlier grey.
The deck is now available in two different sizes, the regular large size and a smaller edition. There are at least three different boxes for the small size, one in a mauve box, one in a white box and one in a blue, all of them in English versions.
I'm still debating on whether I should use them or not, I'm still ooo-ing and ah-ing over them and doing my happy dance (albeit, rather badly but dancing none the less.) They are, as I've mentioned, difficult to find at a reasonable price and so for now they will be in their beautiful white box with it's red and black lettering...to protect them. The tarot collecting bug bit me soundly, right after my first deck and so my "wish list" goes on....Perhaps a nice manageable sized Thoth deck for readings...