So, right out of the packaging, this deck was a surprising over-achiever in terms of presentation...a hessian-style pouch, presented in a cardboard wrap and with a 'thank you' postcard tucked in there too, opens to reveal a sturdy flip-fold box with a wooden-box decorative styling, inside which are nestled the cards themselves. Having a pouch provided is always a pleasant bonus, and having one that's branded to the design that appears on the box is a real branding coup here - very professionally done, and beautifully presented.
The cards themselves are a healthy size, measuring in at 4 3/4 by 2 3/4 inches (that's 12 by 7 cms for the millennials amongst us!), and the card stock is...unusual. The finish is almost linen- or muslin-like (but when you squint closely, it's more like tiny dots and squares) which gives the cards a soft textured feeling, with a not-quite-matte finish. Card thickness is reasonably light, and I was rather startled to find that after casino shuffling them to give them their initial mix before regular shuffling and use, the cards buckled slightly leaving them curved in the middle - they responded well to being bent the other way, and are flat again, but I worry that they mightn't withstand rough handling, unruly clients or vigorous shuffling techniques...
The card backs are a geodesic style design which is in mostly muted 'vintage' tones, like greys, olives, and navy, with a couple of splashes of mustard yellow and blush pinks...very retro and funky. The artwork on each card is very RWS sympathetic, with almost card for card recognition to that inspirational basis...however, the cards are done in a modern decographic / computer aided design way, but then the images are distressed to look older, and done with a retro-style flourish, as a nod to that era that the artist appears to have wanted to capture, like the now-faded but once-bright funfairs of old...the colours used on the images themselves are, for the most part, quite bright, making it a light, airy and cheery deck, but again, that distressed aging technique gives the cards a more earthy aspect, suggesting that they're almost...but not quite...past their prime. It's clever use of various art techniques, and it gives the cards a quirkyness which I really rather like!
Suits are traditionally presented - Swords, Pentacles, Wands and Cups - and there is no renaming of Majors. There are two additional cards presented with the deck - The Hand of Mysteries and The Unknown, both with similar background art, but presented in a one light, one dark kind of way. No specific interpretation for those cards is offered, leaving it open to how they're read, should they be included in a shuffle, and appear in the spread.
Being wholly RWS-sympathetic, there's no little white book that accompanies the deck, presumably as there is a plethora of material about the imagery already in circulation and the creator of the deck felt it might be superfluous...it's an approach i'm not wholly against, where a deck producer feels they have nothing to add to the current conversations on the topic, but it would have been nice to see some of the reasons behind why certain colours and patterns were picked for the imagery - whether it was trying to be wholly RWS sympathetic, or whether the artist just fancied various elements and included them on a whim.
The Midcenturian Tarot is a quirky little number, with a faux-vintage feel to it, and some quirky art takes on the traditional images of the RWS. My primary concern is the card stock, and its ability to withstand handling over time - but it's provided for well on the storage front, to mitigate any risk while it remains in the box.
The Midcenturian Tarot is self-published by the mysterious 'Madam Clara' - an apparently wholly fictional character based on the fairground-attraction gypsy fortune tellers in glass boxes that dispensed advice and fortune-cookie style predictions. The deck is available via their website providing links to both Amazon and Etsy.