Hell again dear readers.
Some time ago I announced that I would publish Mr. William M. Voelkle's answer to the inquiry a friend whose name is withheld here by request made on my behalf about the measurements and weight of the remaining Visconti-Sforza Tarot „cards“ (PMB) in his care at The Morgan Library & Museum as Senior Research Curator of the Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Collection.
The original letter you'll find at the first page here in the first post:
I didn't do that so far because after his answer that you will find below I had several more detailed questions about the specifics of the measurements and other issues that I mailed to him – but he did not reply further to my amazed disappointment – so I (and you maybe... ) have to deal with what I (we) have got here.
It is still enough to confirm my assertion that the PMB (and all the other BIG HAND MADE depictions on cardboard from the Visconti-Sforza family with the Kilim-Pattern in the background of the „personas“ that were taken so far by all „experts“ (including Mr. Voelkle) to be PLAYING CARDS were NONE – AND were never meant to BE:Re: Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards
Dear [name withheld by request],
First, I should say that our deck originally contained 78 cards, of which 74 are preserved, divided among the Morgan Library (35 cards), the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo (26 cards) and the Colleoni family (13 cards).
I was intrigued by your request to learn the thickness and weight of the cards, but for another reasons, to see if there were differences between the original cards and the replacement cards - as proved to be the case. as I was eager to see if there was a difference The cards were all 173 x 87 mm, and the weight and thickness of the original cards, be they picture cards or number cards, was fairly consistent. The thickness of the Hanged Man and the Queen of Swords, on laminated stock, was about 1.5 mm and the weight, in grams of the former was 14.78, and the latter, 14.84.
The replacement cards were on solid stock, and Temperance and Fortitude, for example, were less than 1 mm thick, and weighed weighed 11.94 grams and 12.53 grams respectively.
William M. Voelkle
Senior Research Curator
Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016â€ž3403
TEL: 212 590-0364
FAX: 212 768-5665
Evaluation of Mr. Voelkle's reply:
It is very telling that he (and neither did ANYONE: not Mr. Kaplan – nor Ross Caldwell or Huck – to name just a few accepted experts on this matter of the PMB... ) did NOT care about these defining measurements of CARDS in the 1st place BEFORE taking the PMB (and the others in that category) for PLAYING cards.
Mr. Voelkle states that:... I should say that our deck originally contained 78 cards, of which 74 are preserved, ...
So there were originally 78 rectangular pieces of artfully gilded and painted cardboard that resembled a deck of cards by looks BUT with hole(s) in everyone of them to be hung (on a wall) and were IMPOSSIBLE to be PLAYED with (just like cards) just because of their measurements:The cards were all 173 x 87 mm, …
... The thickness … … was about 1.5 mm ...
… the weight, in grams … was [between] 14.78, and ... 14.84.
78 x 1.5 mm = 117 mm (11,7 cm or 4,6063 inches) thickness of the whole former complete pack.
78 x 14,82 grams = 1155,96 grams (40,7753 oz or 2,5485 lb or 1,156 kg for the complete pack
(Because of the pure GOLD that was part of the LAYERED construction [laminated stock [sic!]] of all 78 rectangles and which was about ½ mm thick)
173 x 87 mm > rectangular measurements of all 78 tableaus
From the „thickness“ of 4,6063 inches of the supposed whole pack alone it should be clear that only a giant like the „Fortitude“ guy could have managed to shuffle them – even IF they had been made of unpainted cardboard only (which they are of course not – and so: much to fragile!!).
To give you a comparison:
The DAL NEGRO replica of the PMB is very close to it's original measurements with 178 x 92 mm
BUT only 25 mm thick with all it's 78 cards.
So to reach the 117 mm of the original PMB you would have to stack more than 4 and ½ packs of the DAL NEGRO replica deck on top of each-other.
Those who own the Dal Negro will shake their heads now about the impossibility to manage such a pack.
Now: Why did Mr. Kaplan report that he estimated the whole pack of the PMB would be „about the height of 2 normal packs of cigarettes“ (from memory only) - what is about half of the correct thickness - when measuring 1 „card“ alone would have told him otherwise?
Because his whole fame and reputation is based on the FALSE (falsified) assumption that the VISCONTI-SFORZA TAROT „CARDS“ were PLAYING CARDS and so ROOT for a GAME that he now could feed to the masses in countless variations without any historical reason.
Once he told his assumption in his publication NO one ever would look again – what is really a shame for the Senior Research Curator of the Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Collection at The Morgan Library & Museum I believe.
Now back to Mr. Voelkles reply and my evaluation of it:
You all know that the PMB is not made by one hand.
6 rectangles are known as „replacement cards“ from a 30 – 40 years later and Mr. Voelkle refers to them by that name what irritated me at first because I didn't refer to them by that notion.
Those 6 have a completely different make-up!The replacement cards were on solid stock, and Temperance and Fortitude, for example, were less than 1 mm thick, and weighed weighed 11.94 grams and 12.53 grams respectively.
The difference in thickness and weight should be on part of the MISSING solid GOLD (and here you were RIGHT HUCK with your assumption!!) which was replaced with gold-LEAF.
Now: What does this tell (us?) me?
When the rectangles were under what shuffling methods ever an alchemist or a giant could have applied to them to make them fit for a game of cards at a table without breaking or spoiling or bending them...
… anyone at the table would have known WHERE those special 6 would be.
It is customary that ALL cards should be of the same make-up naturally in a fair game to offer no space for possible cheating – aristocracy gamble(s/d) often for money and riches like houses or horses and such other riches as a last retreat for excitement.
Money for the missing gold should have not been a problem and could have been made up for resemblance with other material like lead and thicker cardboard.
So it was all about LOOKS from a distance - from let's say 3 meters or yards perhaps where all those differences would become insignificant.
Have a good time
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