the morgan greer tarot deck

Illustrated by William Greer

under the direction of Lloyd morgan

This is another direct redrawing of the rider-waite-smith deck with a few odd kinks. this deck for me has not aged as well as the aquarian deck as it just screams 70s. the artwork is still fakey medieval (just like the rws) but with the figures being a bit inflated in a comic book fashion. the coloring is bold, the artwork is very competent, and again we have overall, that 3/4 view i am not fond of in many of the cards (see comments on the aquarian deck for my gripes).

this deck only varied once to my knowledge in the artwork. the cardbacks varied a few times also. but the boxes - now the boxes come in several color variations so this may be a time when you can date a deck by its box.

 

Here we go with the morgan greer chronology:

           

 Morgan Greer 1st Edition, 1979

Box front

Morgan Greer 1st Edition, 1979

Box back

 Morgan Greer 1st Edition, 1979

Cardback

Morgan Greer 1st Edition, 1979

The Fool

Morgan Greer 1st Edition, 1979

The High Priestess
 

i put this version first because of the black border around the images. this is the only version it shows up in. from hereon out, the images goes to the edge of the cards. compare the images below - the border itself was an overlay and hid the edge detail.

   

 Morgan Greer 1st Edition

Morgan Greer 2nd and on Editions

The cards in the various editions maintained the image-to-the-edge style. but again, the box and the cardback varied.

           

 Morgan Greer 2nd Edition, 1st printing

Box front

Morgan Greer 2nd Edition, 1st printing

Box back

Morgan Greer 2nd Edition, 1st printing,

Cardback

Morgan Greer 2nd Edition, 2nd printing

Box front 

Morgan Greer 2nd Edition, 2nd printing

Box bac

Morgan Greer 2nd Edition, 2nd printing

Cardback

the same copyright date persists throughout the run of this deck, as in the aquarian tarot. I made the judgement that the dark back is the earlier printing because it tracks the earlier edition. i could be wrong here but it seems a reasonable notion. again, the card images are the same in both versions.

According to stuart kaplan in the enclyopedia of tarot, volume III, the first version of the deck was printed without borders and a later edition added the border and then later editions lost the border. sounds strange, but it just could be so (p 595). if so, shuffle the charts around to suit yourself.

now we have that quirky cardback - dark or light? what is going on here? as i don't have a large pool of these decks to play with, and i have two versions with the light back, i'm going to assume it is not a fluke of printing but is deliberate. the star pattern is also different (follow the top of the cards to see this). as a matter of fact (and since i just looked up and noticed), the star pattern varies in all three versions shown so far. make of that what you will.

at some unknown point in time, us games took over distribution of the deck. no joy in the booklet and by the time the german version comes out, us games has the copyright dated 1979. i didn't find anything about this in the encyclopedia so any information anyone has will be helpful. the box has changed from the two-piece box to a tuckbox.

         

USG Morgan Greer Box front 

USG Morgan Greer Box back 

USG Morgan Greer Cardback 

USG version of Fool 

 Morgan Greer Morgan Press version of Fool

again, as with the aquarian tarot, the usg version of the morgan greer tarot shows some color shift. the cardback is the same as the version with the border, what i call the 1st edition but just might not be so.

in 1993, us games put out a german version of the deck. notice that the cardback is yet again different with what look like several smaller added stars. and again, there is quite a color shift. The cardback is also lighter than previous versions though not so much as the 2nd edition, 2nd printing.

           

 Morgan Greer Tarot, German, USG, 1993

Box front

Morgan Greer Tarot, German, USG, 1993

Box back

Cardback

Morgan Greer Tarot, German, USG, 1993

Fool

Morgan Greer Tarot, USG

Fool

Morgan Greer Tarot, Morgan Press, 1979

Fool

i'm very open to discussion on the chronology of this deck. from looking at the us games decks i would tend to say the black-bordered version was the last before usg took it over - the cardbacks match. since this is a work-in-progress, i'm going to mull over this for a while. i just may wind up changing the order of the decks.

[kissing cousins]

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