The Dollar Tree Tarot Cards by Docc Hilford and Jon Stetson

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Dollar Tree Tarot Cards

Dollar Tree Tarot Deck

I was wandering around a local Dollar Tree store (if you are not familiar with these stores they sell everything for one dollar).   Something caught my eye…a deck of tarot cards for one dollar!  Wow!  Usually tarot decks are fairly pricey.  I was intrigued.  What type of tarot deck would I get for a single dollar?  Would it be a true tarot deck?  Would it have original work, or be a knockoff, crapola or something aimed strictly for children?  These cards were found in the toy isle.

I decided to check it out and bought a deck.  I was pleasantly surprised.  They had original, nicely done artwork.  The deck is based on actual tarot cards.  They appear inspired by the classic Rider-Waite tarot deck.  It contains both the Major and Minor Arcana.  The pip cards do not contain individual imagery as the Rider-Waite deck did, but all the face cards and aces do.

The Major Arcana contains a written meaning for the past, present or future on its face. This makes it easy for children to use them without having to look up the meanings in an instruction booklet, but is pointless for a mature card reader.  There is a layout chart included with the deck describing how to lay out the cards with areas for past/present/future.

Dollar Tree/Rider-Waite tarot magician comparison

The cards are smaller then a typical full sized deck.  The style essentially illustrates the head portion of the Rider-Waite cards.  If you look at the comparison of the Magician card, it appears to be a close-up of the head and shoulders.  Even the headband is there!  However there is an original interpretation involved.  Notice how the Magician appears to be in an action pose, as if about to cast a spell.

The cards that don’t focus on a single character’s head shot tend to mirror the look of the Rider-Waite cards but again with significant differences.  My favorite interpretation was this deck’s Hanged Man.  Someone put thought behind this image.  They filled out the empty space behind the Rider-Waite’s Hanged Man to good effect, an improvement I think.

Dollar Tree/Rider Waite Hanged Man Comparison

Who created these cards?  On the back of the package it stated: “Created by internationally know medium Docc Hilford & American Mentalist Jon Stetson.”  I find it hard to believe professional mentalists are also artists.  I’d like to know who REALLY designed these cards.

What to call these cards?  The Dollar Tree Tarot Cards?  Perhaps they should be called the Hilford-Stetson Deck?  How about the Dollar Tree Docc Hilford/Jon Stetson Tarot Cards, or the DTDHJS deck for short?  I’ll stick with the Dollar Tree Tarot Cards.

dollar store tarot

23 Responses to “The Dollar Tree Tarot Cards by Docc Hilford and Jon Stetson”

  1. David (TantraWave) Says:

    Very fun, thanks for sharing! The Dollar Tree here locally has surprised with some oddities now and then!

  2. David (TantraWave) Says:

    I would like to repost this article in my blog, would it be permissible (of course credits/references will all be yours)?

  3. David Says:

    Hi TantraWave,
    Sure, you can repost it. Lets try to sell out all the Dollar Tree decks! In fact, tomorrow I am going back and buying a few more as gifts. They really are worth more then a dollar if you look at all the effort put into them. When they sell out, they might not return.
    Dave

  4. David (TantraWave) Says:

    Thank you Dave!!! Yeah that’s awesome, you should buy ‘em out, I’ll keep a lookout @ our local Dollar Tree :)

  5. David (TantraWave) Says:

    Hi Dave I reprinted the article. Thank you again!!

  6. celine Says:

    Hi Dave
    My husband bought this deck of cards yesterday and I the instructions don’t explain anything about the cards with the number on them. I don’t know what to do with them! For example, if a 3 of stars shows up as my future, what does it mean? I would really appreciate if you could help me with this, as I am new at Tarot. Thanks a lot!!

  7. Michelle Colebourn Says:

    That’s great. Shame I live in Finland, or I would certainly buy one or two!

  8. David Says:

    Hi Celine,
    Yes, the instruction booklet sucks. I would not even use the pip cards. Just use the cards with the meanings on them. Fortune telling with playing cards is quite different then with the tarot.
    Dave

  9. David Says:

    Hi Michelle,
    I think a lot of these ‘Dollar Tree’ dollar stores don’t even carry this item. I imagine some parents would object to their children using tarot cards…or as some call them…the Devi’s Deck!
    Dave

  10. Lynn Araujo Says:

    I was asked to try and purchase a couple of these decks. If anyone can help me I’ll repay the favor.

  11. David Says:

    Hi Lynn,
    I’d imagine they would be available at most Dollar Tree stores. However, you might contact Dollar Tree directly, perhaps you can get they by mail order online.
    Dave

  12. KangaRoo (to David) Says:

    The Silver Spiral has not only posted a review of the cards, but they’ve also added ideas on how to use the pip cards (http://www.silverspiral.org/index.php/home/item/114-the-dollar-tree-tarot), which I think might be helpful.

    As far as the cards go, I didn’t think that I would be able to find them, given that I live in a rather Bible-enthusiastic part of the U.S. I did find them, right in the toy aisle and they had TONS left on the shelf (perhaps nobody bought any? I don’t know); so I ended up buying two of them.

    I was surprised by the quality of the cards, given that they were a dollar. I was impressed by the art on the majors and court cards, which remind me of underground comic books (Sin City, The Spirit, etc. etc.) and like the Silver Spiral the general feel of the cards is very “carnival-esque.” The card stock was a little thinner than what I would like, but they didn’t feel like they would fall apart in my hands, either.

    I can see how the definitions on the majors and the court cards could be useful for a beginner, but the pips would be absolutely useless, an area where they could have done a little more work. The Q&A Tarot, or the Talking Tarot would be FAR better alternatives if one were really wishing to learn how to read.

    In general, I think this deck would be a fun (and rather interesting) addition to anyone collection, so I would suggest picking up a deck before they’re gone for good…

  13. Danise Says:

    It is may now but I will keep an eye out for these Tarot cards.Thanks for sharing.I will let you know if I find them.

  14. vicky Says:

    cards are self explained , but what does the cards that say nothing mean ? star one single one then up to seven as well as the knive,cups, and what looks like a bat.how do i use them? thanks vicky

  15. Lisa Says:

    They are still around – I bought one today! Found this site while trying to figure out who the heck Docc Hilford is.

  16. David Says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I still don’t know who the heck Docc Hilford is.
    Dave

  17. Amanda Says:

    I got this as a gift from some friends. While I adore the art syle, the pip cards confuse me. There are both aces of suits while also ones. Pip cards from one to seven? It feels very incomplete. I agree with just using the face cards, and accepting that while inspired by standard decks, this one requires different reading strategies.

  18. Michael Says:

    Does anyone know whatever happened to these decks? I once saw them at our local Dollar Tree, and chuckled a bit at the time but did not buy (kicking myself, now). Since that time, a friend and I have started a project where a bunch of inexpensive Tarot decks would be very helpful in keeping costs down.

  19. David Says:

    Michael,
    I did not see them recently. I’d actually would like to buy a few extra. I kick myself for not doing that too. Dollars store items can vanish, never to be replaced.
    Dave

  20. Dakkel Kur-a Says:

    Back in 2010 Iwas living in nj and found them at the dollar tree. It is a nice deck to learn and portable for reading on the go. Very useful to be made talismans out I them and work some tarot magick. I have to sets still they are really durable. I enjoy them very much but not very useful for sckrying since they contain descriptions on the major arcana but over all I love the feel they have.

  21. David Says:

    Dakkel,
    I like’em. Where else can anyone get the Tarot for $1? I haven’t seen any for awhile at Dollar Tree. Maybe they became too expensive to produce to sell for $1. I should have bought a bunch of them and sold them for $5 to people!
    Dave

  22. Deanna Says:

    A friend in a Facebook group posted they had seen this at their Dollar Tree, so a bunch of us in town decided to go get them, well it turns out one of our friends has a son who works there so he bought all fifteen decks they had and distributed them to us. :-) While I don’t care for it as a reading deck I have one still in the pack (for collector’s purpose) and one I can use if I want to, and one that I use for Tarot spells so that I don’t have to worry about compromising a card from a more expensive deck. :-)

  23. David Says:

    Deanna,
    I wish I bought a bunch of these. Now that are not available anymore. I could have given them away as gifts. And they might be a collector’s item, since I believe most will be opened from the pack and used. Keep one mint in package!
    Dave

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