Comments on one of the scarcest of Professor Hoffmann’s booklets published by Goodall: Introductory remarks . . .

About fifteen or so years ago, I sold all, or almost all, of the Professor Hoffmann card-game booklets that had then been in my collection.  There were not very many — maybe ten or so, and not very many were all that scarce by today’s standards.

I just looked at page 60 of Professor Hoffmann:  A Study, which J.B. Findlay and I wrote.  That page listed essentially all of the Hoffmann booklets from Findlay’s collection and from my collection, probably as of the date of publication in 1977, four years after Findlay passed away.  (I had a total of like three in my collection.)

Page 60 shows three copies of Rubicon Bezique, one of Bridge Whist, two of Bridge, one of Selected Patience Games, and one of Schnapps and Other Original Round Games.  At that time, I believe that Findlay had about seven Goodall booklets, and I had about three.  (I am pretty certain that I had two copies of Selected Patience Games at the time, so I do not know why only one was listed.)

I later acquired all of Findlay’s card-game booklets.  I believe that, in addition to the Hoffmann items, they included a copy of a booklet on patience games, by Tarbart, and I think also a copy of The Royal Game of Bezique that I still have.

Again, by today’s standards, none of the booklets I mentioned would be considered what I would call a “true collector’s prize.”  Not sure where I picked up that expression, but I think Findlay used the term “collector’s prize” on at least one occasion, maybe referring to an interleaved copy of Modern Magic in two volumes, which had belonged to Hoffmann, and which is now at The Magic Circle.  That volume (or, rather, I suppose, “those volumes’) are definitely a true collector’s prize.  Stanley Collins had sold them to Roland Winder, who gave them to The Magic Circle.

Anyway, as I said, I sold almost all of the card-game booklets I had at the time.

It has been a long time since I sold any Hoffmann material, almost certainly well over a dozen years ago.  I rarely have felt any pangs about having sold anything, with two possible exceptions.

One was Professor Hoffmann’s own copy of Puzzles Old and New, with his bookplate and annotations.

The other was the copy of Schnapps and Other Original Round Games, by Professor Hoffmann, published by Goodall in 1912.

—Tom Sawyer

Saturday, December 29, 2012

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