Links for use by those who might wish to purchase copies of my most recent books . . .

If you are interested in conjuring books of the Victorian Age, go to eBay and buy a copy of the third edition of my book Victorian-Age Conjuring Books: A Guide for Collectors and Bibliographers. Here is a link:  Link.

While you are at it, please also consider the purchase of a copy the 2017 first printing of another awesome book by me, called A Bibliography of Card-Game Booklets Written by Professor Hoffmann. Here is a link:  Link.

One thing I have sort of noticed is that when people are interested in card-game booklets, they are not necessarily interested in older conjuring books, and vice-versa. That is probably one of the reasons why on this site I have not promoted the third edition of my Victorian-Age Conjuring Books: A Guide for Collectors and Bibliographers.

Another reason is probably the fact that this site tends to have very few people visiting it. By my calculation, during the past 10 days, the number of visitors has averaged 2.3 per day. To be clear, that is two-point-three — not 23!

If you are interested in older conjuring-books, or in the authorship issues relating to The Expert at the Card Table, hop on over to my blog on older magic-books:  Link.

—Tom Sawyer

October 22, 2017

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My new bibliography is now on eBay, for domestic purchases — I expect to add international shipping late this week . . .

Note: As of early Monday morning (10-9-17), eight people have purchased a copy!  Thank you! Most of these copies have already been shipped.  I expect to ship the others tomorrow (Tuesday). I have relisted the item (8 more copies) on eBay, but there is a new link. I changed the original link below, so the link should lead you to the correct eBay listing. I have not further revised this post, but the listing has been revised to allow shipping through eBay’s Global Shipping Program.

(I’ll be posing something similar to this post on another one of my blogs as well.)

Effective today I have listed the my new bibliography on eBay!

The title is: A Bibliography of Card-Game Booklets Written by Professor Hoffmann.

I have decided that, at least initially, all (or nearly all) sales of this book will be via eBay.

At the moment, the book is available for purchase by US customers. Later this week, probably sometime Friday, I plan to add shipping through eBay’s Global Shipping Program, for purchases that need to be shipped to destinations outside of the US. In short, if you are outside the US, you cannot yet order from the listing.

Here is a link to the listing. If that link does not work, you can try searching eBay for the following, without quotation marks: Sawyer Card-Game Booklets

(For current link, see the most recent post.)

If you go there during the next few days and find that it is not available (highly unlikely), please try again the next day.

The price is $38 per copy. Shipping and handling in the United States is $6 per copy. Shipping and handling to destinations outside the United States will be figured according to eBay’s Global Shipping Program, after I revise the listing.

If you sent me an email asking to be notified when the book became available, you will probably receive an email from me on Sunday or before.

For those who decide to order, thank you!

—Tom Sawyer

October 3, 2017

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I’m ALMOST ready to sell copies of my new “A Bibliography of Card-Game Booklets Written by Professor Hoffmann” . . .

(A post similar to this will be posted on another blog of mine as well.)

Yesterday I finally unboxed some of the copies of my new A Bibliography of Card-Game Booklets Written by Professor Hoffmann.

Recently, I had planned to wait on offering that book for sale till I was in possession of copies of the third edition of another book by me, but I changed my mind on that, and I am treating them more or less as separate projects (which, really, they are).

Anyway, I was quite delighted with the look of the book. It think it is safe to say that, if anything, it exceeded my realistic expectations.  The cover is quite beautiful, and though I have not examined the interior images in detail, on a quick look, overall they look great!

Later today (Sunday) I hope to finalize my initial plans for the selling of copies. I can tell you now that for a number of reasons, I expect to handle sale of the book solely, or ALMOST solely, via eBay. I expect to provide many further details on this blog later today, or perhaps on Monday. I expect to provide a few further details on Monday or Tuesday. I do expect copies to be for sale this week.

Below are a few photos of the first batch that I unboxed—basically the same books from three different angles.




—Tom Sawyer

October 1, 2017

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What does a collection of card-game booklets look like?

What does a collection of card-game booklets look like?

Earlier today, I placed most of my Goodall booklets into a box.  This is sort of what that looks like:

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 3.40.34 PM copy 2.jpg

This includes only “Goodall” booklets, but it does include some that appeared after Goodall was more or less absorbed by De La Rue.

(In addition to those pictured, I have just counted 25 more Goodall booklets not pictured, and 26 De La Rue booklets. I am pretty sure I have a few more as well. As to other publishers, I probably have only about a half-dozen card-game booklets in all.)

—Tom Sawyer

September 29, 2017

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The likely cover for “Victorian-Age Conjuring Books: A Guide for Collectors and Bibliographers” . . .

The following is what I will very likely use (or something very close to it):

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 11.53.15 PM.png

That is based on the cover found on a reprint of Drawing-Room Conjuring, which was a translation (from the French) by Professor Hoffmann. The book was first published (in book form) in 1887.  (Oh, this is the 130th anniversary year.  Cool!) Earlier, it had been serialized in Every Boy’s Magazine.

Here is what the planned back cover and spine (and front cover again) look like.  The vertical black lines show the edges of the spine.

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 11.52.42 PM.png

—Tom Sawyer

September 15, 2017

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A super-quick but highly interesting factoid . . .

I see on David Levy’s “Edmond Hoyle, Gent.,” blog that the George Clulow collection of books relating to playing cards has been acquired by Vanderbilt University. This includes (according to a Vanderbilt website) ancillary materials, including, if I understand correctly, original Owen Jones playing-card designs. I suppose that those were done for De La Rue, because off hand, I cannot remember ever reading that Jones designed any cards for Goodall. As is well-known, the collection had been amplified by the US Playing Card Company.

The Vanderbilt site tells us that Jones: “. . . ushered in the standards of modern playing-card design with his tessellated and geometric patterns devised to thwart cardsharps and cheaters.”

That’s a new one on me, though I don’t really know anything about Jones.

Mike Goodall, in his main book about the Goodalls (Charles Goodall & Son: The Family and the Firm 1820-1922), states many interesting details about Clulow. The following facts are all from Mike’s book, pages 85-86. Clulow was born in 1835 and passed away in 1919. He worked for Goodall from about 1869 until 1887. He designed the trademark that shows “Good” and “All” inside a heart. Mike says: “Many of Goodall’s most striking card backs were designed by Clulow. He became Goodall’s Managing Partner in 1884.”

—Tom Sawyer

September 5, 2017

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The three author-bibliographies of my “youth” . . . Trollope, Carroll, and Haggard . . .

These recollections reach way back to the 1968-1970 period, at earliest, and to probably the mid-1970s at latest, so they may be somewhat “accuracy challenged.”

I want to talk about what may be the first author-bibliographies I handled. For a while, I have believed that I saw them when I was a student at UCLA, 1968-1970. But it may have been a bit later than that, as I explain below.

I was interested in Professor Hoffmann back then (and even before, actually). In 1969 I entered my Hoffmann collection (which had about 23 or so items in it at the time) in the Campbell Book Collection Competition, which was operated by UCLA. It was an annual event, and I am sure they still conduct the competition now.

Oops, correction.  I just checked UCLA’s web presence, and I found this:

The UCLA Library has placed the Campbell Competition on hiatus for 2015-16. During that time Library administrators will reconsider the program’s goals, its place within the Library’s services, and how best to meet the intent of its funders, including the Campbells, founders of the original bookstore serving the UCLA community.

That I find highly weird.  Nicely written, but saying almost nothing. And I suppose it is still on hiatus, even though we are well into 2017. Most people, including me, would think that such a reconsideration of the program could be completed in a month, two tops.

I will say this:  MY IMPRESSION is that a lot of the entries in the competition have not been what I would call “collections.” Instead, they seemed like mini-libraries. Like if I said, “I am interested in reading stories by A. Conan Doyle,” and after I year I find myself with a dozen paperbacks, and oh, look, a 1954 Grosset & Dunlap reprint (gee, that’s old!) of The Hound of the Baskervilles in fair condition, plus a recent printing of The Complete Sherlock Holmes, rounded out by a recent printing of The Lost World — and then I find out about the contest. And I enter!

Now it has been probably eight years or so since I looked into the competition in any detail, and the foregoing may be exaggerated, but you probably get my drift.

I have written about my involvement in the competition on one of my other blogs, but I don’t think those posts are accessible at the moment. Anyway, in 1969, my collection was awarded second place in the undergraduate division.  First place went to a collection of books by Lafcadio Hearn.

I put together a little bibliography for that (typewritten, and in fact I think my sister Diana probably typed it). And as I recall, I set forth transcriptions of the title pages, with the line-breaks indicated with slashes, so it looked rather professional. I believe that library system at UCLA has maintained on file the bibliographies that the students submitted.

There was a write-up on the results of the 1969 competition in The Daily Bruin and also in The UCLA Librarian.

I was very “into books” even then. As I recall, all of the entrants were given a few miscellaneous items, just for participating, and I think those were a bibliography of the Monitor and the Merrimack, and a sort of checklist of bindings designed by Margaret Armstrong. Weirdly, as I recall, I had already purchased examples of both of those at the library. (They were rather slight publications, and I am sure they were quite inexpensive.)

The second-place prize was a credit of $50 at a bookstore in Westwood. (I hope to check that to confirm what the amount was.) That was a decent amount of kale in those days. I never used the entire amount. The only thing I remember getting was a figurine of a Beatrix Potter character, which I gave to my sister.

Here is a cute story that I told on one of my other blogs:

I thought I would tell a little anecdote in connection with the competition. (It has been a long time, so this might not be completely accurate.) After the judging, a little reception was held, and the public could look at the collections, which were on tables in a room there at UCLA. A sweet elderly lady was asking me about my collection, and I told her a little about it.

So the lady picked up one of the books, and as I recall it was a copy of Drawing-Room Conjuring, translated by Professor Hoffmann, in beautiful condition, but highly fragile. It was a first edition, and it dated from 1887. I was cringing as she kind of examined it, but I wasn’t about to say anything about it. Soon, one of the people who was involved in the competition asked her (probably in a gentle fashion) to refrain from handling it. My mistake was in not saying, “Oh, that’s okay, it’s fine if she looks at it.”

So, that’s the story.

But anyway, the two bibliographies I particularly remember from back in those days were (a) a bibliography (by Williams) of Lewis Carroll, and (b) a bibliography (by Scott) of H. Rider Haggard. I want to add (c) a bibliography (by Sadleir) of Anthony Trollope, though I am unclear on when I first saw that. I have never read much Lewis Carroll, nor Trollope, but I did read a lot of Haggard. But I think I started reading Haggard when I was in law school, which obviously was after I graduated from UCLA.

So in all probability I first saw the Haggard bibliography in the early 1970s.

My sister (also a UCLA grad) was employed at UCLA as an academic counselor, and I used to visit her pretty often, so I probably went to the library fairly frequently. As I sit here, though, I have not been there for ages. I did some research there when I was writing S.W. Erdnase: Another View, which was basically back in 1991. I’ve also used the UC Irvine library and my dear daughter did some Erdnase-related research for me at UC Berkeley in 2015 or so in connection with my Rethinking S.W. Erdnase.

By the way, I am simplifying by using the term “library.” The schools mentioned obviously have networks of libraries. I’m pretty sure that the Haggard bibliography at UCLA was in the Department of Special Collections.

Anyway, during the decades after I first saw those bibliographies, I have often thought wistfully about them. I obtained an example of Sadleir’s Trollope bibliography several years back. Recently I bought copies of the Carroll bibliography and the Haggard bibliography via, which listed several copies of each.  I thought that was kind of odd, because the 1934 Carrol bibliography was 700 or so copies, and the 1947 Haggard was 500 or so. (I’ll confirm these dates later — I am writing from memory.) I would have thought that those bibliographies would have been in the libraries of universities, researchers, and collectors. They may have been reprinted or largely superseded, but still.

I mentioned this to a friend, a longtime well-versed collector, and he forthrightly and succinctly, and I think a little bitterly, stated, “Bibliography is dead.” Well, it may not be dead, but I guess it is on life support as to many of the bibliographies that have been intended largely for collectors. This is proven somewhat by the dismal showing that my 2016 Professor Hoffmann and His Conjuring Serials of 1872-1888 has so far made. It is also shown by the scant interest that has been shown so far in my forthcoming A Bibliography of Card-Game Booklets Written by Professor Hoffmann.

You might say, “Yeah, Tom, but you have done almost nothing to market either of those.” True enough, but I actually think that if there was much interest “out there,” people would have learned about those works, and acted accordingly.

Emerson is quoted in many places as having said this, or something like it:

If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad, hard beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.

Get it?

—Tom Sawyer

August 30, 2017

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