As soon as I saw Meneghello's reprint of the Mitelli Tarocchino last year, I thought it was interesting that this time they printed on a plain stock instead of the marbled card stock of their earlier edition. I thought the stock of the new edition would be suitable for painting and I was right.
I mentioned it to my sister-in-law, a watercolor painter in Pennsylvania and when I showed her the cards she said, "Give those to me."
And so here we have a handpainted version of Mitelli's stupendous engravings. This is how decks were colorized through the 17th and 18th centuries--the engravings printed in black and then the customer would hire a painter to add color to the images.
I've often thought of hand colouring mine, but somehow never quite committed to starting. Your sister-in-law has made a beautiful job of it - nicely loose, adding to the life and movement of the drawings. How easy did she find it to cope with whatever finish was on the cards? It looks as though the watercolour has been controllable, but is any colour likely to come off on a careless damp finger?
I will have to check with her, but I do not think this edition has a coating which is why I thought it would be paintable. That is a good question about whether it needs to be protected and I will ask her about that as well.
I cannot remember what the standard practice for watercolors is; do you spray it with a fixative like pastels? All my Art classes were too long ago for me to remember!
It seems unlikely that these cards will be bought for use, and the risk of spoiling the delicacy of the watercolour with any sort of coating is probably too great. Even a light spray would have an effect.
It may be best to warn potential buyers that this is the case, although I suppose the cards could be used very carefully. You could publish them though, and keep or sell the original watercoloured deck.