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Avondo Brothers Addendum

Tarocchi Serravalle

I got very excited when I saw this deck (I Tarocchi Serravalle, published by Avondo) in the Belgian Tarot Museum’s video on Facebook. I thought Avondo might still be in business and printing contemporary Piemontese decks.

But I found the deck on Italian eBay and discovered it’s a trumps-only version of the deck sold by Lo Scarabeo as the Ancient Italian Tarot. It’s called a mini deck, but no dimensions were given. I’ve learned that in other languages “mini” often means 22 cards rather than small in size. I’ve seen it listed for sale on other Italian websites, but have never seen the publisher listed.

Avondo Brothers factory SerravalleI wondered if Avondo Brothers is still in business and printing decks. A quick search on told me Avondo had been a prominent family in Serravalle, and in the card printing business, from the 1700s to the 20th century. The family started acquiring property around Serravalle in the mid-1700s, and by 1800 they owned the local castle and were one of the most prominent families in the region. Throughout the 1800s they operated a huge, electric and steam-operated factory that dominated the town of Serravalle. The deck reproduced by Lo Scarabeo as the Ancient Italian Tarot was printed in 1880 at Avondo’s economic height, after they had incorporated and changed their name from Fratelli Avondo to Cartiera Italiana.

By mid-twentieth century, the company was falling behind the times. They closed in 1982. Was the deck in the Belgian museum re-printed before the factory closed, or is this a Lo Scarabeo production? Since this is one of my favorite reading decks, I’m going to track this edition down.

Here’s an article on Della Rocca’s soprafino tarot design that’s currently reproduced by Lo Scarabeo and Il Meneghello

Ace Coins Ancient Italian Tarot


5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Fabian Dee #

    Did you buy the deck in the end or not? And did you ever determine the year of publication i.e. whether it was actually a Cartiera Italiana produced deck or not? I’m also interested if it is exactly the same as the LoS majors or if there are any differences in the deck used for the facsimile or printing quality. Cheers!

    March 20, 2016
    • I’m afraid I dropped the ball on this and never pursued the deck further. I’m curious about all the questions you asked, so perhaps I should do another search. If I get this deck, I’ll report my findings here.

      March 21, 2016
  2. HM #

    Strange that Lo Scarabeo is selling a trump-version only of the deck. I got a complete Antico Tarocco Italiano deck last week at a local shop. They are sold on the internet for 20 bucks, you can find them here: not sure if they ship overseas.

    October 10, 2016
  3. The Antichi Tarocchi Italiani is the same as the Ancient Italian Tarot. In North America, Llewellyn is the distributor for Lo Scarabeo decks so it’s very easy to find. I guess my question is: the deck I saw on the Belgian Tarot Museum’s video – is it a 22-card Lo Scarabeo production or something more exotic? Maybe I should just contact the museum.

    October 10, 2016
    • anna #

      noi abbiamo un mazzo completo ( 78 carte ) di tarocco originale fratelli Avondo, 1880, Serravalle Sesia, con timbro sul’asso di denari ” Regno d’Italia, cent 50 ” in condizioni buone,ma con i segni del tempo e dell’uso. Vogliamo venderlo, se sei interessato, puoi contattarci e noi valuteremo l’offerta e siamo disponibili a inviare fotografie.

      September 30, 2018

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