-A Collection of FABULOUS BEASTS-


The deck was published in 1971 in two separate editions. This is the hand colored version, published in a limited, numbered and signed edition of 100 copies only. It comes with an explicative booklet, made in the same way as that of his first deck, but with some more pages. Because there's not much known about Dick Martin and his interest in playing cards and history, we'll let Dick Martin explain how he came to create this deck. In the foreword of the booklet he writes:
"Since the dawn of history man has been fascinated by animals. In ancient times he endowed them with magical significance; they were objects of his fear, his love and even his worship. And when man had exhausted the possibilities of all known species, he invented new ones. Thus were born the Griffin and the Unicorn and all the other Fabulous Beasts of mythology.
Most of these fanciful animals were hybrids, or combinations of beast, bird and fish. Ancient manmade many of his gods in his own image too, of course; and eventual amalgamation of man-god and beast-god was inevitable - producing some magnificently fantastic creatures. All these semi-human deities can be classified as fabulous beasts and placed, along with the Mermaid and the Centaur, in our "Mythological Zoo".
Early in my researches i found that there were far more of these strange and wonderful creatures than could be crowded into a deck of fifty-two cards (In the various Eastern religious pantheons, for instance, there must be more than a hundred different man-animal gods). Selection was necessary, so the most representative and varied examples were chosen.
All the fabulous beasts I have depicted are "authentic". That is, all their anatomical details are carefully reproduced from old engravings, and photographs of ancient sculptures. In cases where two or more different representations were found, the most fantastic one was chosen - of course!
But however varied the imaginary creatures in this collection may appear, they all have one thing in common: men once believed they really existed. Indeed, a few of them are still believed in to this day."

The booklet also gives information about each of these fabulous beasts, so we've also quoted Dick's information about each card.

Today doing research has become much easier. A lot of information has been digitalized and museums or libraries have put their collections on line. Of course there's also Wikipedia and other encyclopedic sites. In 1971 one still had to go to the library and read the actual books. So Dick added a bibliography in his booklet: Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Animals that never were (1948)"; Peter Lum, "Fabulous beasts (1951)"; Larousse, "Encyclopedia of Mythology (1959) and World Mythology (1965)"; Robin Palmer, "Dragons, Unicorns and other Magical Beasts (1966)".


SPADES= ancient Greece and Rome
HEARTS= ancient Egypt and the Near East
CLUBS=India and the Far East
DIAMONDS=medieval Europe and the New World

PAN - The most well-known of the Satyrs who dwelt in the woodlands of Greece. This goat-boy was the god of farms and pastures as well, where his pipings might be heard in summer nights.

MEDUSA - The snaky-locked chief of the Gorgons, whose gaze could turn men to stone. She was slain by Perseus, who was careful to look only on her reflection in his shield.

THE MINOTAUR - This bull-headed monster was the terror of Crete. It was the task of Theseus to seek him out in his labyrinth, destroy him and rescue the fair Ariadne.


ANUBIS - A much respected god: the jackal-headed Conductor of Souls to the Egyptian Afterworld.

BAST- - The cat-headed goddess of the Temple of Bubastis, in whose name all the household cats of Egypt were venerated as sacred.

UTUKKU - This Assyrian genie with eagle's head and wings had a special duty: he was supposed to sprinkle the sacred Tree of Life with water.


Click the Ace to see the pip cards of that suit.

CERBERUS - A three-headed dog who, according to Roman mythology, guarded the entrance of the infernal regions.

EA - The goat-fish of Babylon. He was the exact counterpart of the Western Zodiac figure, Capricorn.

THE KAPPA - This tiny, monkey-like Japanese goblin is full of mischief, but is known to repay kindnesses. He sometimes wears a tortoise shell, and his hollowed-out head is full of water, the source of his great strength.

THE BEAST OF THE APOCALYPSE - The "blasphemous beast" with seven heads and ten horns, so literally depicted throughout the Middle Ages.

VISHNU - The Indian god known as "The Preserver". Of his many avatars, or earth-incarnations, his appearance as The Tortoise is the most astonishing.

NAGINI - Queen of the underground realm of the Nagas, or snake-gods. They are respected throughout India as guardians of the earth's treasures.

GANESHA - The benevolent elephant-headed god of India, and the symbol of good luck. His elephant head signifies great strength and wisdom, and his four arms offer a "helping hand" to everyone.


TRITON - this fish-god was supposed to be the son of Neptune. He was respected by Medieval sailors as the Spirit of the Mediterranean Sea.

MELUSINE - The most famous of the fairies of French romance, this mermaid was revered as the ancestor and founder of the house of Lusignan.

SAGITTARIUS - Chief of the Sagittary, or centaurs of Medieval romance. He is the ninth sign of the Zodiac.



Because every card was used to portray a beast, the ace of spades is not special and doesn't mention the CPCC or the time span of 1951 - 1971. The CPCC is only mentioned on the title card, again dated in Roman numerals.

MEPHISTOPHELES - His name comes from a Greek phrase meaning "not loving the light". But whether he is known as Satan, Lucifer, or Old Nick, his hoof, horns and tail proclaim him our Old Enemy.


This edition comes in a two piece, solid carton, box.





   The coloured edition came with the same booklet as the uncoloured version.


The second version was published in a limited and numbered edition of 200 decks. The cards in this edition are not coloured.
The deck comes in a paper wrapper, which also contains the booklet that comes with the first version.
The front of the wrapper shows the Mephistopheles Joker, but without his name or the word joker.
On the sides of the wrapper the name of the deck is printed.


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