Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set
by Stuart Kaplan and Pamela Colman Smith
Published by U.S. Games
One hundred years after the Rider-Waite Tarot
deck was published, US Games has released the Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set
. This release honors the artist, whose work has truly inspired many over the years, and who has long deserved a bit more recognition for her contribution to the world of tarot. The set includes a deck which the publisher has named "The Smith-Waite Tarot Centennial Edition Deck." The cards have been given a somewhat aged appearance - softer colors with more subtlety, and a kind of oatmeal colored background. Also included in the collector-quality box: a nice edition of Waite's "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot," a book most of us read when we were first starting out with the cards, a very nice book by Stuart Kaplan, that explores and celebrates "The Artwork & Times of Pamela Colman Smith," four high quality cards featuring Colman Smith's work and a photo of the artist, six high quality postcards of Colman Smith's work, and a layout sheet that offers some variations on a few popular spreads.
My response to this set has been simple enjoyment - the postcards are a real treat, and I expect I'll be framing and hanging a few of them and the larger artwork. The box itself is wonderful - sturdy, well-designed, and attractive. The cards sit securely in a well in their half of the box (and an organza pouch has also been included, though I suspect mine will stay tucked away), and the books and art prints sit in their half, easily lifted by an attached ribbon. There won't be any loose cards slipping under cardboard walls, or digging at the corners of booklets to get them out. A lot of thought went into the preparation of this box - indeed, into the entire set.
The deck is a real beauty. The Rider-Waite
has never been my favorite tarot deck, though I have affection for it because it was one of the first I ever bought, and of course, it has a lot of its own important history in the longer tarot timeline. But honestly, I rarely use it. The Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set
, on the other hand, is something I continue to feel drawn to - I find the muted colors pleasing, the "aged" look of the cards irresistible, and the overall quality of the set exquisite. In recent readings, I have connected more with these cards than I may ever have with the Rider-Waite
I think one of the qualities that comes across to me in these cards, that allows me to connect more fully, is a sense of warmth. I find the artwork more engaging than in the Rider-Waite Tarot
, perhaps because the spirit shines a bit more strongly to me, despite the fact the colors are not as bright. And if you know anything about me, you know that I like to "personally" connect with my tarot decks!
This set is not just an honor given to the artist, but a gift to all tarot enthusiasts... The set celebrates more than the work of the artist; it celebrates tarot history, and offers respect to the tarot tradition and everyone involved, from creator to practitioner.
Card artwork by Pamela Colman Smith; US Games
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Tarot review by Nellie Levine
Publishing tarot deck reviews, original tarot spreads, articles, and personal reflections for tarot enthusiasts, practitioners of the intuitive arts, and followers of alternative spirituality since 1999. Woman owned.
All writing, reviews, and photography © Nellie Levine, unless otherwise noted. 1999-2022