How To Spot A Fake Tarot Deck

How To Spot A Fake Tarot Deck

These days there seems to be no shortage of Tarot decks and Oracle Cards to choose from. Gone are the days where all you would find are the Rider Waite Smith decks in a fringe new age store, tucked in a back alley. These days they are everywhere from generic stores like kmart to online boutiques and online marketplaces. Between all of these markets, there is also a massive quality and price discrepancy, for what seems to be the exact same decks!

So what gives?? The fact is that the decks may look the same, however many of the cheaper decks on the market are actually "knock off" decks that are not the real deal. In the current market, it is not a question of where to find your next Tarot deck, but rather which deck to buy,  and is it genuine? In fact, in the world of divination it sometimes feels as though one needs to be psychic to be able to choose a genuine tarot or oracle deck these days. 

Before we look at the ways in which you can decide if a deck is genuine or not, we need to establish "why" and "if" it matters.

So why does it matter if a Tarot deck is the real deal?? Won't any deck work?

The answer to this question is both simple and complex (hear me out). Simply put, it doesn't really matter if a deck is real or not, and yes any deck will work provided it has the correct number of cards and you can read them- you can even print out your own tarot deck on paper which will also work. The issue has less to do with the practicality of the question and more to do with the morality behind purchasing "knock offs".

Simply put, purchasing genuine Tarot & Oracle decks has a multitude of benefits, for the user and the creator. Some of these benefits include, but are not limited to:

1. Better cardstock- genuine Tarot & Oracle decks are normally made with better materials. This means that not only are they easier to shuffle, but they stay in better condition for longer.

2.Better images- oftentimes the genuine article has more vibrant and sharp imagery. This is because they are using the actual images created by the artist,

artist at work

not copies of artwork. 

3. Supporting the creator- purchasing genuine Tarot & Oracle cards helps the creator of those cards. When knock off cards are purchased, it not only does not help the creator, but may actually harm their reputation if people are complaining about low quality card stock etc, when they are not even using the genuine thing (and oftentimes people have no idea that their deck is not the genuine article).

Generally speaking, most people would rather have the genuine article, but it can be difficult to tell if a deck is genuine or not.

So, How Do You Tell If A Tarot Deck Is Genuine?

There are some key things to consider when looking at whether or not a Tarot or Oracle deck is genuine or not. These are: 


1. Price- if it's too cheap it's probably not real- There are a lot of costs that go

rider waite tarot cards

into producing a Tarot deck and many "middle men". The cost of the final product covers paying the author, artist, publisher, distributor and vendor. When you consider how many people are making a living from the sale of your favourite Tarot or Oracle deck, you can see why a Rider Waite Tarot deck for $3 is probably not a genuine article. 



2. Booklet- Does the deck come with a booklet? Most tarot and Oracle card decks come with a book or booklet describing the cards and their meaning. Unless your deck is known to not have a booklet, chances are if it doesn't come with one, it's a knock off.

3. Box/ packaging- does it look off? Often times card decks that are not genuine will have packaging that looks off. The writing will be different, the colours might vary slightly and the quality will not be as good. This is a good indication that the deck is not the real thing.

4. Is the deck sealed? While some decks come unsealed from the publisher such as the "Tattoo Tarot", most come sealed in plastic. This doesn't mean that if the deck isn't sealed that it's fake, there are certain instances where it will be unsealed, however it is an indication that it might not be real. 

5. Card stock- do the cards seem flimsy? If the cards seem flimsy, or printed on poor quality card stock, chances are that they are not from the genuine publisher. 


One of the best ways to check if a card deck is the real deal is to ask the retailer selling it. If they can verify that their products come from genuine publishers then you can rest assured that your next Tarot or Oracle card purchase from them will be the real deal. Of course there will always be people that will try to deceive, so as with everything in life, use a bit of your own intuition and common sense (i.e. they say yeah it's real but we are selling this $32 deck for $5 constantly because we want you to have it- may be an indication that they are lying).

At the Curious Cauldron Australia we take great pride in only stocking genuine Tarot & Oracle decks from book and card distributors in Australia. When you purchase cards from us, you can rest assured that you are receiving the genuine article straight from the publisher, as it came to us.

Let us know if you have ever purchased a fake deck and what you did about it. Have we missed any key ways to spot a fake deck? If so, let us know.

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