A brief overview of Professor Hoffmann’s writings on card games (apart from his card-game rule-booklets)

[This post speaks as of July 23, 2011. On March 28, 2020, I added two sentences (in boldface).]

Professor Hoffmann’s non-Goodall writings on card games present a rather convoluted situation. Below I will draw a sketchy picture.

Professor Hoffmann’s The Modern Hoyle (published by Warne, first edition dated 1887) is, as I understand it, a revision of an earlier work of the same title, also published by Warne, but dated 1870 (see Jessel).  It is a fairly small book, which was issued in two different bindings:  cloth, and paper-covered boards.  From the introduction, it appears that Hoffmann kept five sections, re-wrote two sections, and contributed three new sections.  (The work underwent at least one further revision–perhaps more.)

At least two other works were advertised as being uniform with The Modern Hoyle, namely Modern Etiquette in Public and Private, and Professor Hoffmann’s Tips for Tricyclists.  I have never seen Hoffmann’s Tips for Tricyclists in cloth.  It must be quite scarce in cloth, if it even exists in that binding–and it is fairly hard to find, regardless of edition. Note [3 28 20]: Probably back in 2016, I learned that there is definitely at least one cloth-covered version of Tips for Tricyclists. See this link: Image of Tips for Tricyclists.

Professor Hoffmann’s The Cyclopaedia of Card and Table Games (first edition dated 1891), published by Routledge, appeared in three separate editions, each with a different title.

His Hoyle’s Games Modernized (first edition dated 1898), also published by Routledge, was stated to be based on articles in The Book of Card and Table Games (which was the second edition of the Cyclopaedia).  The Book of Card and Table Games was available in two separate, totally different, bindings, one of which was parallel to one of the bindings on the first edition of Professor Hoffmann’s Every Boy’s Book of Sport and Pastime (first edition dated 1897).

Of course, Professor Hoffmann also translated The Illustrated Book of Patience Games (first edition dated 1892), as well as The Game of Skat (first edition dated 1893), both from the German.  Those were published by Routledge.  (I think there was probably only one edition of The Game of Skat, but there were many editions of The Illustrated Book of Patience Games.)

Hoffmann also wrote the rather scarce Baccarat Fair and Foul (first edition dated 1891), which I believe was partially based on material in The Cyclopaedia of Card and Table Games.

Hoffmann’s book Drawing-Room Amusements and Evening Party Entertainments (first edition published in 1878, but dated 1879) included some material on card games.

It is my impression that Baccarat Fair and Foul, as well as The Modern Hoyle and The Game of Skat, are relatively scarce.  First editions of Hoyle’s Games Modernized are rather scarce.  The Illustrated Book of Patience Games is rather common — even the first edition, one of which is on eBay at this moment.

For some reason or reasons, Baccarat Fair and Foul has kind of captured the imagination of various collectors, and recently it has been selling for high prices, most recently for well over $1,000.  I know that at least three copies have changed hands within the past fifteen months, two of them via high-profile auctions.  I know a collector who has two copies.  I don’t think this type of thing normally happens with truly rare books.

In my collection, I have first editions of all of the Hoffmann books mentioned above, except The Game of Skat and Baccarat Fair and Foul.  The Game of Skat is more or less uniform with The Illustrated Book of Patience Games — it is an impressive, attractive book. Baccarat Fair and Foul, on the other hand, is an unprepossessing and rather small work.  (I formerly owned copies of The Game of Skat and Baccarat Fair and Foul.)

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