Remembering the titles of all of Professor Hoffmann’s major works other than card-game booklets — also one or two comments about Hoffmann book rarities — there are not all that many . . .

Statistical note:  The following post uses the word “I” at least twenty-one times.

Not that it is a claim to fame, but I just realized that (at least, in my self-centered view) I am probably the only person in the world who could sit down with a sheet of paper and list all of the books written, edited, or translated by Professor Hoffmann — or nearly list them.

I just now made a list of abbreviations of titles of twenty-eight such major works (not including card-game booklets).  Oops, I just remembered a twenty-ninth!  So, he created at least twenty-nine major books — if I counted right!  (Of course, this does not include revised editions, separate parts, and reprints.  Nor does it include serializations.)

I have not come up with a mnemonic device for remembering them — I just know them.  I probably also know the year of publication, or the date that appears on the title page, or both, as to possibly all of them — actually, I am hazy on one or two, as to which I might be a year or so off.  (I do not know by memory the dates of all of his card-game booklets.)

I hope that the above does not sound like bragging.  It is a pretty lame thing to brag about!

Now, twenty-nine major works, plus sixteen rule booklets, equals forty-five publications in all.


Not “wow” because I can name them, but because he created so many books and booklets.

By the way, I am being kind of arbitrary in not calling Hoffmann’s card-game booklets “major works.”  That is pretty subjective, and I have not really analyzed the question in detail.

Of the twenty-nine or so “major works,” I believe that I have first editions (or possible first editions) of twenty-two.

The ones I do not own first editions of are:

Card Tricks Without Sleight of Hand, [1877] (though I have a nice non-first)

Later Magic, [1904] (though I have I think four or so first American editions of that title, and probably several English editions)

The ones I have zero copies of are the following:

The Indian Penal Code

The Code of Civil Procedure

Baccarat Fair and Foul

The Game of Skat

Home Gymnastics

The only books by Hoffmann that are true, certifiable rarities are The Indian Penal Code and The Code of Civil Procedure, which, of course, were published under his real name.  The other three listed above have come up for sale occasionally.

—Tom Sawyer

December 6, 2012

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