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Suit System:FT
Recommended Name:  the Bavarian Animal Tarot.

This pattern was originally classified as FT-1.
Although generally known as "Animal Tarot" or "Tiertarock" this term is also popularly applied to FT-1.1 and FT-1.2 and others, so it is recommended that this pattern is called "Bavarian Animal Tarot".


When, probably for economic reasons, many European cardmakers discontinued manufacture of Tarot packs with Italian suitmarks in the mid-18th century, this pattern was the first to emerge which seems to have been acceptable to a number of different cardmakers. A.B. Göbl of Munich may well have originated it; certainly he made many packs following it. /p>

The court cards are based on the Bavarian version of the Paris pattern and the trumps illustrate animals of varying kinds or animals with an attendant human. The order of the trumps varies considerably from maker to maker but usually are drawn from one pool of designs which appear to have been taken from an earlier German-suited pack (see Literature). This pool of animal designs is also drawn upon for FT-1.1 and FT-1.2, so the identification of this pattern lies in a study of the court figures which, apart from the customary features found on Paris-derived packs, incorporate much detailed decoration and several Bavarian lozenged shields.

First made in Bavaria early in the second half of the 18th century, it was copied in Alsace, Belgium, other German states, Luxembourg, Sweden, Russia and quite possibly elsewhere. Rather surprisingly it did not have a very long life and only in rare instances survived the first quarter of the 19th century.


78 cards. 4 suits of 4 single-figure or double-ended court cards and 10 pip cards, plus 21 single-figure or double-ended trumps, with roman numerals in a panel top and bottom, and the Fool. Distinguishing cards: king of Spades with harp, queen of Spades in profile, jacks of Hearts and Clubs holding shields. An acceptable variant emanated from the makers of Nürnberg who frequently demoted their queens, leaving them bare-headed or hatted. The double-ended versions have court cards and trumps divided almost diagonally, the subjects on the latter being identical at both ends. To date there has been minimal evidence that the pack was issued in 54-card form, the ace-6 of the black suits and 5-10 of the red suits being suppressed, but it seems quite possible that further examples may come to light.


Numerous, particularly in Bavaria. They include

A.B. Göbl, Munich (1765-92);

F.D. Mihler, Regensburg (c.1771-1780);

C. Wespin, Düsseldorf (c.1780);

the Backofen family, Nürnberg (18th and 19th centuries);

L. Jassoy, Hanau (mid-l9th century);

J.J. Dubois, Liège (c.1790);

Guillaume Mann, Colmar (c.1780);

V. Quarante & Peter Brück, Luxembourg (late 18th century).


Exhibition catalogue TAROCKE MIT FRANZÖSISCHEN FARBEN by Detlef Hoffmann and Erika Kroppenstedt, Bielefeld, 1967.

THE PLAYING CARD by Detlef Hoffmann, Leipzig, 1973.

Bavarian Animal Tarot

Illustration 1 of Bavarian Animal Tarot (jpg 686 x 802)
Illustration 2 of Bavarian Animal Tarot (jpg 686 x 802)
Cards from a pack by Dubois of Liège.

The International Playing-Card Society March, 1978

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