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“Zolar’s New Astrological Tarot Fortune Telling Cards,” c.1960s
A fascinating set of fortune telling cards with the lengthy title, "Zolar's New Astrological Tarot Fortune Telling Cards," distributed by Zolar Publishing Co., Inc. and compiled by "Zolar," said on the box to be "America's Most Popular Astrologer." The set would later be reissued by U.S. Games in the 1980s, but this set is published by Zolar, probably in the 1960s.
The astrologer known as Zolar is actually two people: first, Bruce King, the original "Zolar," and then, Robert Donald Papon, King's understudy and successor. The cards here date to the time of the original Zolar, Mr. King. According to an internet website:
"In 1932, King began his studies of astrology after a successful career as a securities salesman. Building on an extensive background in business, sociology and psychology, he learned to cast astrological charts and embarked on a mission to bring astrology out of its shadows and revive this ancient science. Combining the words "zodiac" and "solar" to create the astrological pen name Zolar, King founded and operated a successful astrology publishing company during the depression era. He patterned "Zolar" after the legendary English astrologer and occultist, Raphael, who seemed to have lived for many generations. With Zolar's influence in the world of astrology, he was named `the Dean of Astrologers' by The New Yorker magazine."
The lengthy title is necessary because this set of cards serves as 4 sets in one. The cards are two-sided. That is, there is fortune-related information, and there are fortune-related designs, on both sides of the cards. The accompanying instructional booklet explains:
"First: The 56 Cards of the Minor Arcana (so marked). Second: The 22 Cards of the Major Arcana (so marked on the back of the Minor Arcana Cards). Third: The 32 Cards of Zolar's Astrological Fortune Telling Cards which appear on the backs of 32 of the Minor Arcana Cards. Fourth: A regular modern deck of Fortune Telling Cards, represented by all the Minor Arcana Cards with the exception of the four Knights. The 52 cards remaining each represent one of our modern cards."
The designs of the Major Arcana cards are similar to those on the Rider-Waite pack. This deck is complete at 56 cards, described in the quote above. They are large, measuring 127mm x 83mm, and are in the original box. As noted there is an instructional pamphlet that explains how to interpret the various sets of cards included within the deck.
The entire set – the cards, box and instructions -- are in excellent condition, "as new" or very nearly so, except that on one side of a box there is a small scribble from what seems to be a magic marker.
Reference, Kaplan, The Encyclopedia of Tarot, Vol.1, p.294.
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