Further comments on Professor Hoffmann’s “Auction Bridge,” Goodall, 1912 . . .

In this post, I take another look at Professor Hoffmann’s Auction Bridge, Goodall, 1912.  That booklet is one of two booklets by Professor Hoffmann dated 1912, the other being Schnapps and Other Original Round Games.  So, the year 2012 represents the hundredth anniversary of the publication of those two works.  Those two booklets also represent Professor Hoffmann’s final two card-game booklets, in terms of the year of first publication.  (Of course, it is possible that there were no non-1912 editions of the two works just mentioned.  Also, many post-1912 editions of card-game booklets by Hoffmann were issued.)

It is interesting that of Hoffmann’s seventeen card-game booklets, four of them have to do with the game of Bridge, namely:

Bridge Whist


Bridge Varieties

Auction Bridge

The foregoing list is in chronological order.  If I were to rank them according to scarcity, I would say that Bridge is the most common, followed by Bridge Whist.  Then follows Auction Bridge, and then Bridge Varieties.  I have never heard of a copy of Bridge Varieties coming up for sale.  I have two copies of Auction Bridge, maybe four of Bridge Whist, and many copies of Bridge.

The foregoing assessment of scarcity is made without regard to editions.  A first edition of Bridge Whist would be considered quite scarce.  A first edition of Bridge (known as the ninth edition, since the numbering included editions of Bridge Whist), on the other hand, is probably not super-scarce.

When one does not consider editions, and their scarcity in relationship to other editions, I think one would have to consider Hoffmann’s Bridge to be one of the most common of the booklets.  It is somewhat painful to have to admit that, but that seems to be what the evidence says.  For instance, in October 2012, three different editions of Bridge were in an eBay auction.  And a year or two ago, I had the opportunity to purchase five copies in one transaction.

Also, it appears that Games et al has a nice fairly early copy for sale at this moment.

As to Auction Bridge, I have mainly discussed that booklet in two earlier posts on this blog.  One of hose posts deals with a 1912 edition that mentions Birmingham in several places, and that post includes an image of the front cover and another image that shows both the inside front-cover and the title page.

The other post deals with a 1912 edition that does not mention Birmingham.  I did not post any scans relating to that printing.

Below are a few relevant images.  Among the points of interest in the scans are the following:

1.  Title page not showing Birmingham.

2.  An amusing Preface, with the name Louis Hoffmann at the end.

3.  A reference to Foster on page 28.

4.  A reference to Cavendish on page 30, and on the same page references to other authors.

5.  Also on page 30, a list of other books on the topic of Auction Bridge.

—Tom Sawyer

November 6, 2012

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