The Marchetti scale

I’ve made jokes before about tarot cards and how they rate on the ‘Marchetti’ scale. It’s an anecdotal story about when I meet the tarot creator Ciro Marchetti. Set the wayback machine to 2007 or so, when RoseRed and I attended the Readers Studio for tarot illuminates and visionaries. At the time my deck du jour was a special edition of Ciro’s Legacy of the Divine tarot, and the cards of this deck were massive at nearly 3.6″x5.5″ format; bigger than nearly every other deck I had seen or used. I had joked with RoseRed and Anastasia on our way to the event, and knowing that we were going to meet and interview Ciro Marchetti at the con, that I looked forward to asking him why the special edition LotD was so big. Then I met the man, who towered over us, and shook his large hands, and realized I didn’t need to ask.

But the Marchetti scale is a real thing. It’s a relative measurement of the size of a deck’s cards compared to the LotD cards. So you all know what I mean, here’s how it works:

Below is a picture of the Diablo: The Sanctuary tarot I just acquired (4″ wide x 6″ tall), next to a card from the Legacy of the Divine (at 3.6″ x 5.5″), a card from the Trueblack (which I consider the ‘standard’ tarot card size at 2.75″ x 4.75″), and a 3×5″ notecard for reference. (sorry for the glare, the light only worked in one place to also allow seeing the lovely details in the Trueblack and the Diablo cards)

from left to right: the Trueblack, the special Legacy of the Divine, and the Diablo: Sanctuary
top: a 3×5″ index card for scale

For the math nerds, the ratio numbers work out like this:

  • The ‘standard’ tarot card (the Trueblack) has a square area of 13.06″ Sq.In.
  • The Legacy of the Divine has a square area of 19.8 Sq.In. (we’ll round up to 20 square for official measurement purposes.)
  • and the Diablo: Sanctuary card has a square area of 24!

If we divide the square area of any deck against the LotD ‘standard’ then we get its’ Marchetti scale:

  • The Trueblack is 0.65 on the Marchetti scale.
  • … and the Diablo is 1.2 on the Marchetti scale.

Yeah, I am that kind of geek. ;D

P.S. The Diablo isn’t the biggest tarot I’ve seen or used. Back when we were doing tarot readings at Renaissance Faires, Rosered and I had the “Giant Rider-Waite Smith” tarot deck, which was great for giving single card readings to passers by and luring potential clients in to get a full reading. Those cards were 3.75″ by 6.5″, so they’d be 1.22 on the Marchetti scale, just beating the Diablo tarot!