When choosing a Tarot
, many people have two or three favorite cards that  make or break their choice of a deck. To see how style, coloration and size vary, lets compare the Marseilles Moons. Maybe it is one of your favorites.

Front-facing Moons of Type I block-printed Marseilles Tarots

#1. Jean Noblet 1650/59–Oldest extant Marseilles-style deck. REPRODUCTION by J. Peterson 2.5 x 4″ (Small cards) 

Note: It is, unlikely that the original paper would have been so white—the image must have been brightened in reproduction. Its original paper color would probably have been like the Flornoy recreation directly below (#2)

#2. Jean Noblet 1650/59–Accurate RECREATION by J.C. Flornoy 2.5 x 4″ (Small cards) Line recreation and color placement is accurate to the extant card shown above.  Jean-Claude Flornoy was the first person (to my knowledge) to create and publish accurate recreations of extant Tarots.

#3. Jean Noblet 1650/59–RECREATION of RECREATION of J.C. Flornoy cards (with permission) in a larger size. Color choice, position and graphic style was altered by Penny McCracken, to create a modern grunge-style presentation.  2.75 x 4.75″ (Medium size)

#4. Jean Dodal 1701–REPRODUCTION by L. Forstell (Line work is a reproduction of the extant card, but she has muted the colors, for an antique effect) 2.75 x 4.75″ (Medium size )

Note: It seems that the Dodal is the only Type I, front-facing moon card that included the color blue (lt. blue) in the rays of the corona. Perhaps the colorist did not realize that the spikey rays of the corona were not of the moon, whose light is thought of as cool, but the warm rays of the sun. (See the discussion below.)

#5. Jean Dodal 1701–RECREATION by Pablo Robledo 2.75 x 5″ (Most accurate color placement–note that several uncolored areas match the extant reproduction above.) (Slightly smaller than #6)

#6. Jean Dodal 1701–RECREATION by Jean-Claude Flornoy (uncolored areas have been filled in, likely because this card, in one of the two existing decks, was stenciled this way.)  2.875 x 5.125″ (Large cards)

#7. Jean-Pierre Payen 1713–REPRODUCTION by Yves Reynaud 2.5 x 4.75″  

#8. Tarot de Centuries –REPRODUCTION of the uncut cards of of a very old print page of images from a deck of unknown origin. The deck is then completed with cards from the Payen deck, 2.5 x 4.75″

#9. Francois Heri 1730– REPRODUCTION–Full-face  Swiss Besançon–Repro. by Y. Reynaud 2.25 x 3.625″ (small cards.

#10. Spanish Tarot 1736–RECREATION. Spicy Spanish colors give this deck a playful vibe. H. Fournier 2.375 x 4.375″

Some have realized that what is shown in these early Moon cards may not be just the Moon, but a solar eclipse. The ring of yellow and red rays is the corona or “ring-of-fire” that is seen around the edge when the moon is aligned in front of the sun, hiding the sun. Before it was understood, this phenomenon was frightening.  

Left-facing profile Moons of Type II

This style soon became more common.

#11. Pierre Madenie 1709–REPRODUCTION by Yves. Reynaud 2.5 x 4.75″  

#12. (Card to be added later) 

#13. Tarot de Marsella 1709–RECREATED with aged effect by Pablo, Robledo  2.375 x 4.375″

#14. Jean-Pierre Laurent 1735–REPRODUCTION by Y. Reynaud  2.5 x 4.5″ 

#15. Claude Rochias 1754 REPRODUCTION by Yves Raynaud. 2.625 x 5.125


#17. Jodorowsky & Camoin 1997–Reimagined creation of a Tarot de Marseille based on multiple decks  2.5 x 4.875

The past 5 cards all have red crescent moons.

Although light blue rays had been added to the corona in the 1701 Dodal, they seem to have completely replaced the yellow rays in the 1760 Conver probably because the idea of a solar eclipse had been forgotten, and most people think of the moon as emittin

#18. N. Conver 1760 Antichi Tarocchi Marsigliesi, REPRODUCTION by Lo Scarabeo 2.375 x 5.4 

#19. N. Conver 1760–Isis TdM, Halftoned RECREATION of this particular deck by Tadahiro Onumi  2.625 x 5″

Both have green crescents.

Still others are yellow.

#20. N. Conver 1760–Reproduction by Heron•Bochat 2.375 x 4.375  

#21. N. Conver 1760–Recreation by Carlo Bozzelli 2.375 x 4.375″

#22. N. Conver 1760–Modern CBD Tarot Recreation by Yoav Ben-Dov 2.875 x 4.75

The Conver Marseilles Tarot underwent a serious change as a result of the industrial revolution. Two colors (the light blue and green) were removed from the palette to facilitate 4-color mass production. (Sometimes there are small touches of green). Only the dark blue, not seen in this card, remained. This change made it necessary to rearrange colors throughout the deck. The limited palette continued to be copied into this, the 21st century, even though modern printing processes have long been able to handle the full palette. When searching for a full-palette Conver, look at The Fool (Le Mat). If his tunic is solid red lacking green stripes and his pointy collar, sleeves and pants are all blue, you have the limited palette. I hope you will want the full palette, at least for one of your decks. Read about the meaning of color in The Tarot: A Strange and Wondrous Thing. 

LIMITED PALETTEThe limited palette is:  Yellow, Carnation, Red, and Deep Blue. Sometimes there were touches of green probably made by putting yellow over blue. Conver Tarots (examples at right) are still sold today because people have become accustomed to them. Other countries seem not to have embraced the 4-color production system for their Tarots.

#23. N. Conver 1760 with the limited 4-color palette. 2.5″ x 4.75″

#24. N. Conver 1760 Conver 1760-Painterly (no line hatching) altered color version by Heraclio Fournier.  2.375″ x 4.875″

Swiss Style Type II left-facing Moons

It is not apparent in the Moon cards, but Swiss Tarots after the 1751 Claude Burdel Tarot have a more decorative folk style of art based on the Burdel deck. The Moon cards of Swiss decks follow.