Brief comments about evaluating the scarcity of card-game booklets . . .

If an avid collector of card-game booklets does not have a certain booklet in his or her collection, that says something about the scarcity of the booklet — at least, that is so if the collector has been collecting for a while — say, a few years.

But it does not say everything.

If the collector has no copies, and has never seen any copies offered for sale, well, that adds a whole new dimension.  In that instance, the case for the “scarcity” of the book is much stronger.

And if the collector knows of other avid collectors who do not have copies of the booklet, then the case is starting to become really powerful.

But if one has seen a number of copies for sale, that can impair the case quite a bit.

Back in March 2011, I finally was able to purchase a copy of Patience, With the Joker — in a very pleasant transaction, from Games et al.

Now, I am sure that Patience, With the Joker is a relatively scarce booklet.  It is also exceptionally interesting, because the games in it were invented by Professor Hoffmann.

However, I would not place it in the rare, or even super-scarce, category.  The basic reason for this is that I know of quite a few copies.  For example, I think at least two (definitely at least one) are listed in Ray Ricard’s checklist of small magic books.  And I have seen three copies for sale on eBay (one rather recently).

Just a few thoughts.

—Tom Sawyer

November 30, 2012

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