I must say when I first heard about this deck I was unsure as to whether or not to buy it. I'd already been through disappointments with decks based on early tarot. My usual complaint is that the numbered cards are generally not illustrated. When I opened it, however, I found that even the numbered cards were illustrated in gorgeous detail. This deck is based on the "Charles the VI" deck (actually an Italian deck, believed to have been created for the Visconti-Sforza families of the Renaissance). The original deck is one of the few tangible keys we have to tarot's obscure early history, and among the oldest surviving examples of tarot cards, dating from the 1400's. Sadly, only 17 cards remain in the original deck. The artist has filled in the gaps using inspiration from Italian frescos of the same time period. The gold stamping on each card mimics the gold leaf background on the original 17. That said, however, this glistening, ornate little deck is not easy to read with, and I wouldn't recommend it to beginning students. It should be kept in mind that during this time period in Italy, tarot was "played" as a parlor game, or a game of "trumps," so in general the cards are lacking the esoteric symbolism that is found in more modern decks. However, it is an absolutely beautiful deck that is excellent for collectors and those who are fascinated by tarot's early roots.