I was browsing Amazon and saw that Lo Scarabo had published a limited-edition print of the Sola Busca Tarot deck. So I bought a copy.
The reason for my haste was three-fold. Firstly, it is an extremely early Tarocchi deck (it has been dated to 1491) and it is printed rather than hand-painted. Secondly, it is complete, and has illustrated minor cards. Thirdly, there is a story that the British Museum obtained a photographic copy of the full deck in 1907 and this was seen either by A.E. Waite or Pamela Colman Smith (or perhaps both). It is recorded that Pamela created the designs for the famous Tarot deck in the summer of 1909, so the dates render this plausible.
I was keen to check out the Sola Busca designs in detail. The Lo Scarabo deck is beautifully printed off a late copy. The deck is not a regular Tarocchi deck – none of the Trumps are familiar, and are based on famous figures from antiquity, mostly men. As a Trump-playing card game for someone with a Renaissance humanist education I expect it would be fun. My suggestion would be to research this deck before you spend your money.
As for Waite & Colman Smith, I was going to post some comparisons of card designs, but I have been beaten to the post by this excellent article:
So yes, I agree. They saw the deck. What surprises me is not the designs that were used, but the many that were not.