HP A05

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Hoi Polloi Tarot

The Hoi Polloi Tarot is an early example of the unending wave of Smith-Rider-Waite clones that have appeared from the 1960s through to the present day.

Published by Reiss Games Inc., of New York, and presented in a range of different packaging, this copy sports the original copyright date of 1972 on the backs of the cards, and 1973 on the very large 342mm x 150mm box.

At first glance it is just a simplified, psychedelic pop-art version of Pamela Colman Smith’s designs, but there are some rather interesting subtle changes, particularly among the Trumps.

The Fool looses the feather in his hat, but has gained a pink ball by his right foot; the Magician now raises his wand in his left hand and points at the Pentacle on his table with his right, instead of the ground; the acolytes in front of the Hierophant both blame each other for the disappearance of the two keys normally seen at the Pontiff’s feet; the Charioteer now has Alpha & Omega on his shield; Justice is 8 and Strength is 11, reverting to their original order; The Star looses the bird in the tree, but gains a butterfly; the Moon has a curious scroll on the ground between the two dogs, which I have only ever noticed before on one ancient Tarot de Marseille deck and the Insight Institute deck from the late 1940s!

The pip cards are colour coded by way of their title panels being: orangey tan for Wands; russet red for Cups; lime green for Pentacles; and tealy sky blue for Swords.

When I bought this deck, second hand some years ago, the 8 of Wands was missing, but very recently I managed to aquire a replacement card through the excellent Aeclectic Tarot Forum "Lost and Found Cards Singles Bar" Thank you Nixxxy!

Cards measure 114.5mm x 70.5mm on semi gloss average stock, the deck measuring 27mm thick. It came with two title cards, the background colour feild being rendered slightly differently, and four blank cards.

The 12 page LWB, in this case a LARGE white book, provides three different spreads and divinatory meanings for the cards, as well as rules for three different tarot games and two original versions of solitaire.

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