A few more comments on “Five Hundred,” by Professor Hoffmann, and on a rather weird event . . .

In an earlier post, I discussed Professor Hoffmann’s card-game booklet Five Hundred.  I am reasonably certain that it is fairly scarce.  I do not believe I have seen a copy for sale in years.  But I do have two (different) copies, and it may be that a few copies are listed in Ray Ricard’s checklist of small-format magic books.

The copy I discussed in the earlier post mentioned above is really a beautiful copy, in spite of its age (somewhere in the 1908-1912 vicinity).  In fact, it looks basically in new condition, and that is probably true, as well, of a few other booklets I have that are about the same age.  I suppose that I have maybe a dozen booklets of which that is the case.  It is more notable on scarcer booklets like Five Hundred, than it is on more common titles, such as Bridge.

I received that copy of Five Hundred in the mail, from England, a few years ago.  It was an odd experience, so I actually made a video of myself narrating my removal of the booklet from the envelope.

The strange thing was that, at the time I received it, the envelope was torn from corner to corner, along the bottom fold.  The booklet was inside a plastic sleeve, and there was a piece of cardboard to protect the booklet.  Below is a cropped “still” from the video, showing the rent.

envelope 1 13 13 ab

—Tom Sawyer

Saturday, January 13, 2013

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