c.1840-60 Nicolas Conver Ancien Tarot de Marseille

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c.1840-60 Nicolas Conver Ancien Tarot de Marseille

78/78 cards


Card Measurements: 6.3 cm X 12.1 cm



First published by Nicolas Conver between 1809 and 1833, this deck has become one of the world's most widely recognized Tarot de Marseille (TdM). The Conver TdM was printed throughout the 19th century by various cardmakers between 1809 and 1900, all using the original woodblocks. As a result, the Conver TdM has been the subject of several colourings, with colours differing both in the palette used and the distribution of the colours on the surface of the cards. The deck sold here is a mid-19th-century example, c.1840-60, in fine/excellent condition.

The British Museum and the BnF hold some of the oldest Conver tarots on record (see https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10537352g# and https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1896-0501-549-1-77). Beginning with these two decks, the age of subsequent editions can be estimated by the wear of the wood blocks, the versos/backs of the cards, and the colour palette used. An important date in the printing of Convers is Phillipe Camoin's famed colour change to four colours dated to approximately c.1880. Using the early decks at the BnF and BM and Camoin's c.1880 colour change as markers for the oldest and youngest of Convers, other examples can be closely approximated.

The Conver tarot for sale here, based on the style of versos/backs, the colour palette, and the wood block wear, particularly the wear seen on the Justice Card and her eyes, places the deck as a mid-century example. It was likely made sometime after Nicolas Conver died in 1833 and before Camoin's colour change in c.1880. Comparing it to other decks on record, the edition sold here appears to be at least 2-3 editions after the British Museum and BnF copies linked above, which were likely printed by Nicolas Conver himself.

Deck Identifiers:

  • Style: Tarot de Marseille, Type II (IPCS, Pattern Sheet 2)
  • Titles: French
  • Cards: "NasConver 1760" on Two of Coins; initials "V.T." on the shield of Arcanum VII (Le Chariot); the Two of Cups with the arms of France with the engraver's initials, "G.M." Only the Jack of Coins (Valet de Deniers) bears the words "Conver" and "France"
  • Colours: six colour palette, consisting of green, pale and dark blue, yellow, pink, and red
  • Borders: single black-line
  • Versos/Backs: amoeba/gravel blue patterned 
  • Paper: pasteboard card stock
  • Corners: Square



Fine, cards are in excellent condition, appearing unused, complete with 78 of 78 cards; some minor wear and soiling otherwise fine.