It is difficult to use logic to prove subtle points regarding Goodall’s card-game booklets, and that is one of the fascinations of collecting them . . .

I suppose that I could list quite a few things which “aren’t the way they should be” in connection with Goodall’s booklets. Of course, such problems add greatly to the pleasure and fascination of collecting the little gems from Goodall.

To take a very simple example, if one happens to have a 1912 printing of Professor Hoffmann’s Auction Bridge, one might think, “Oh, great, I have the first edition.” But there were at least two printings that year, with significantly different title pages and other differences. Nonetheless, it is hard to avoid that type of thinking, because often that is the only analysis that is available under known facts.

But in this post, I want to bring up one of the most messed-up and confusing situations I have run across.  It involves three fairly early copies of Selected Patience Games. I DO believe that in this case the chronological order of the three booklets is pretty clear.  However, there are certain aspects of the booklets that seem conflicting. And my main contention is:  Even when there is no real conflict, it can be hard to state categorically that such-and-such is a correct analysis.

I think I will present the relevant images as a puzzle, which you can think about a little if you so choose, and then later (probably within the next two or three days) I will discuss my own analysis (based in part on other data not obvious from the images shown). Then you will be able to see how your own analysis differs from my stated analysis.

This is just for “fun” — no prizes. What you want to do is decide what the chronology (sequence of publication) of the three booklets is, or probably is.

But in a way it will not be much of a puzzle, because I will point out (via markings on the images) what I consider to be the salient features of the images (which may or may not be relevant to a chronology, I suppose).

An indication on one image means that it varies from one or both of the other images in that same area. (But I will conceal the dates on the title pages.) I tried to make all of the markings on one image, but it was necessary to go to another image for one of the items.

I’ll post the images in a random sequence.

Good luck!

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By the way, it is not all that difficult to come up with a reasonable sequence for the three, even without looking at the wording and punctuation of the title pages!

—Tom Sawyer

June 8, 2017

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