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!

Post first Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 10.33.47 PM copyaaa

Post last Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 10.36.59 PM copy aa

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 10.36.28 PM copy

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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Strangeness in “Patience Games,” Series 2, and “Selected Patience Games” . . .

I am sure that all of us have made the mistake of having a verb agree with a non-subject noun, and not agree with the subject. This may happen where you have the subject noun, and then the non-subject noun, and then the verb. Professor Hoffmann (or a typesetter or someone else connected with the booklet) did this in a patience game called “Stop!”  Hoffmann describes the game in Patience Games, Series 2, 1901, pages 50-54. The last sentence of the account reads as follows:

Cards played to an opponent’s waste heap or line becomes his cards.

The verb “becomes” agrees with “line.” I should have been “become,” to agree with the plural-noun subject, “Cards.”

Okay, but what happened later?

Well, if you look at (say) a 1923 version, you will find:

Cards played to an opponent’s waste heap or line become his card.

This corrects the verb but for some reason makes the last word (which I suppose would be a predicate nominative) singular, when it seems to me it should be plural.

It is the same in a copy dated 1911, and the same in a copy dated 1909.

And that 1909 copy is getting pretty close to the time of the first edition, which probably appeared in 1907 (which is the earliest date given by the online Bodleian Library catalog).

So I guess that settles it, right? I mean, they must have made the correction (or semi-correction) starting with the 1907 edition, right? We don’t really have to doubt that, right?

Uh, wrong.

I have another copy dated 1909 (same date as one of the booklets mentioned above), where that sentence reads as follows. This is the best version of the sentence:

Cards played to an opponent’s waste heap or line become his cards.

For a couple of reasons, I am quite certain that this 1909 version appeared before the other one.

So . . . three different versions of the sentence.

—Tom Sawyer

June 6, 2017

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Looking at Professor Hoffmann’s “Selected Patience Games” from early during the Goodall-De La Rue period . . .

This is a follow-up to the preceding post, which I just posted a little while ago. I prepared a lot of this post back in March, so please don’t get the idea that I could throw a post like this together in just a few minutes.

In my forthcoming bibliography of Professor Hoffmann’s Goodall booklets, I do not expect to talk much about booklets that appeared after 1922, so I really doubt that the information in this post will appear in the bibliography (at least as to the first printing of the bibliography).

I have, I suppose, many copies of Professor Hoffmann’s Selected Patience Games, perhaps ten or so, and several are from very early in the period after the combination of Chas. Goodall & Son and Thos. De La Rue, which can be thought of as having taken place in 1921 or 1922, I guess depending on what you measure from. I thought it would be interesting to quickly examine those booklets in a post, hence this entry.

There are several scans below. The top two in each scan are dated 1923, and the bottom two are dated 1925 and 1924, in that sequence.  I plunked them onto the scanner bed chronologically when viewed from above the scanner, but of course that becomes flipped when you look at them from underneath, which is what the scanner did.

Obviously, they all appeared under Hoffmann’s real name (with pen name in parentheses).

I don’t notice any differences between the two 1923 printings. The 1924 and 1925 printings appear the same as each other, except for the dates, and the fact that in the Table of Contents, the 1925 version lacks the “5” (that is, the designation of page 5 for the Introduction). They differ from the 1923 booklets principally with respect to the inside front-covers and inside back-covers, and the addition of Golf Patience.

—Tom Sawyer

June 4, 2017

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A superficial treatment of the evolution of “Selected Patience Games,” by Professor Hoffmann in the post-1922 era . . .

This will be a quick and superficial discussion of the topic mentioned in the title.

Selected Patience Games, by Professor Hoffmann, which included games from two of Hoffmann’s earlier Goodall booklets on patience games, underwent various changes at various times. This post just hits a few points, without pretending to be anything like a comprehensive treatment. This will focus on three printings, a Goodall printing dated 1909 (obviously not post-1922, but included for context), a 1923 printing from the period after Goodall and De La Rue joined together, and a Wills publication (printed by De La Rue) dated 1933. I am not at all certain, but the last mentioned work may conceivably be the most recent version of Selected Patience Games.

I don’t think Hoffmann had anything to do with the games that differed from those in the 1909 version.

The Table of Contents is shown for each, below, in chronological order (left to right).

Early Goodall 3 3 17 3 copya

1909 printing: 20 games

1923 printing: 21 games (adds Golf Patience)

1933 printing: 22 games (adds 6 more games [I should have marked Poker Patience in red.]; deletes The Travellers, New York Patience, St. Helena Patience, Bismarck Patience,  and Triplets [I should have marked all five in blue in the 1923-booklet image.])

I have not checked to see whether the “new” games are truly different from the ones they replace, or whether they might simply be title changes. (Well, I did a little investigating relating to that, which did not involve this Wills version directly, but what I saw seemed to indicate different games.)

—Tom Sawyer

June 4, 2017

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UPDATED POST: A brief note on my forthcoming book on Professor Hoffmann’s card-game booklets . . .

My forthcoming book on Professor Hoffmann’s card-game booklets will probably be published in August or thereabouts. I will be self-publishing the book. This post is more or less an updated version of a previous post on the subject, which I took down.

Now, if you already contacted me in light of that other post (or in light of a related post on one of my other blogs), you can disregard this post. Also, if I have been in direct communication with you about that work during the past seven months (this includes David Levy and Mike Goodall), YOU DON’T NEED TO CONTACT ME.

But everybody else:  If there is the remotest chance that you might be interested in purchasing a copy, you should contact me as soon as possible. Otherwise, it is pretty likely that you will NOT have the opportunity of purchasing a copy of the first printing at any time soon, if at all.

I pretty much need to know IN ADVANCE if you might be interested, because I plan to have only a small number of copies printed (of the first printing).

How small? I’m not sure, but I am currently contemplating a first printing of about 52 copies.


If you check this blog frequently, you may find some kind of marketing taking place after I receive copies, and I suppose you probably will.  But I suspect that few people check this blog at frequent intervals.

Anyway, if you might be interested, please send me an email at the following address, and just say something simple, like, “I might be interested in the book.”


The book on Hoffmann’s card-game booklets will probably also be softcover.

—Tom Sawyer

March 17, 2017

Revised 5 26 17

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Something I have been thinking about lately . . . also, some “collecting” memories . . .

“Thinking about lately”?  Well, not just lately.

Occasionally I think about the issue of “what if I started collecting today?”  You know, what kind of a collection could I put together? Is all of the good stuff gone?

(P.S.: Just skip to the final three paragraphs of this post, if you want to, where I address the foregoing.)

I suppose that it is possible that this post was to some degree encouraged by the fact that my friend Jon Bright recently gave me a copy of David Meyer’s book Inclined Toward Magic, a title which sounds like it has some other meaning as well as the obvious one, but if so, I am clueless on that. On the dust jacket, the book is subtitled “Encounters with books, collectors and conjurors.” He tells many anecdotes in that book, and maybe it reminded me that I have some anecdotes as well. (Not as many as David dealing with magic collecting, I imagine. I am sure he has countless ones he has not told.)

Many years ago, I was acquainted with the late Leslie R. Cole, a collector who hailed from England. Leslie passed away many years ago, but I think about him often. I imagine that many other collectors also think of him, and I suppose not so charitably in some cases, for it is more or less common knowledge that Leslie’s collection, which included some prize rarities, is now in the possession of another person, who I won’t name in this post. Notice, though, that I do not use the word collector to refer to this person, although many people do.

The best source of information about Leslie, by the way, is my periodical Aphelion, in which I discussed Leslie, and in which Edwin A. Dawes did so as well, at some length. Well, it may not be, and probably is not, the best source, but it is the best of which I am aware.

So, anyway, I first met Leslie at a meeting of The Magic Circle, in London, back in 1973. Two years later, I was able to visit him at his home. I am not really the kind of guy who likes to visit other collectors, and as a matter of fact never have been that kind of guy. But in those days, a million years ago, I was more apt to step out and do those kinds of things. Thus I was able to visit in England other collectors as well. I visited Allan Jamieson on the Isle of Wight, and George A. Jenness, who as I recall lived in Inverness. These collectors all treated me wonderfully, by the way, so it is not as though I became soured on the concept because of the conduct of the collectors.

I do remember kind of inviting myself over to Fred Rickard’s place to see his collection, and he game me some line along the lines of “not just now,” and I think he might have made some excuse that probably was plausible, but regardless, I never brought it up again. (Fred lived in Pasadena, or some similar place, so he was practically next door, as these things go.)

And this was in spite of the fact that Fred used to drop in on me, without invitation and completely unannounced. Convenient for him, I guess. Can’t remember how many times he did this, but it was at least two times, and might well have been more. And if I recall correctly, it was on Thanksgiving Day, for crying out loud.

Anyway, as I was starting to say, when I visited Leslie Cole, the question came up as to whether the present (then late 1975) was a good time to begin collecting Professor Hoffmann material. At that time, I had been collecting Hoffmann books for, oh, almost ten years, I suppose, and I thought I knew everything, or, at least, I thought I knew more than I did. I expressed the view that the good old days had passed, as far as collecting Hoffmann stuff was concerned. Leslie took the opposite view.

Leslie was proven right on this, and to a greater degree than I imagine he expected. As a matter of fact, I kinda think that a person could start collecting Hoffmann material TODAY, and with the expenditure of maybe $10,000 and the passage of a year, I think that collector might end up with one of the best Hoffmann collections around.

As a lot of you know (that is, “a lot of you,” if every person I have ever met or corresponded with is reading this), I sold a great deal of my Hoffmann collection many years ago.  I forget exactly when this was, but it was probably in the 1998-2000 era. Except for quite a few Hoffmann letters and a few manuscripts, and some great books that were either inscribed by Hoffmann or were formerly in Hoffmann’s possession, I suppose that almost all of what I sold was in the category of “replaceable.”

But during the past decade I have built my Hoffmann collection back up so that in some respects it is quite a bit better than it was earlier. (Not as to association items and similar items, however.)

But anyway, what about the title to this post? What is one of the things I have been thinking about lately?

Well, I have been thinking I might start a new, additional collection of Goodall card-game booklets, while keeping the old. This would be sort of an experiment, and I would be able to point to the booklets and say, “Look, this is a collection I started to put together on May 6, 2017. In theory, any new collector could have done this!”

Anyway, that is what I am officially doing, effective today. I am pretty sure it will require new “selection criteria.” And needless to say, I am already aware of quite a few booklets that are available for sale. So that could give me a bit of a jump-start, to the degree that I obtain any such. But those items are, at this writing (5-6-17 at 2:48 a.m.), available for anyone to buy.

So, here I go!

–Tom Sawyer

May 6, 2017

2:48 a.m.


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Comments on an early Chas. Goodall & Son “Patience” set . . .

I suspect that Chas. Goodall & Son did not issue any patience sets until at least 1900, when the first edition of Professor Hoffmann’s Patience Games was published. (See illustration below.) However, I am not aware of any Goodall patience-set issued that early.  But I suppose it is likely that a set was issued quite soon after the appearance of the 1900 booklet.

By the way, note the superiority of the foregoing scan to the following earlier scan of the same booklet, which I included in an earlier post.

Anyhow, another edition of that work (the only other one I know of) was dated 1902.

But, as though to confuse matters, a second-series booklet appeared in 1901. I discussed the confusing nomenclature regarding these booklets in another post.

Now, my impression is that Goodall patience sets appear on eBay with a fair degree of frequency.  Right now I see four or five sets that appear to me to be from the pre-1922 era, but it appears that none of those I see at the moment have a booklet included. There appear to be several from the 1930s or so that have Selected Patience Games booklets that may or may not mention Goodall, but those are obviously from the De La Rue/Goodall era, and probably were issued by Wills.  I did not study any of the listings, nor did I undertake a serious search, so don’t rely on the foregoing, since I am just trying to convey a general picture.

Anyway, the earliest Goodall patience set I have seen is pictured below.  The first scan shows the open box, which was designed to hold two packs of cards, which could be slid in and out of the opening toward the bottom of the scan when the little flap (at the very bottom) was opened. The green fabric on the interior would demonstrate that the booklet shown later indeed accompanied the box originally. The booklet was Patience Games (Second Series), 1901, by Professor Hoffmann.

Note:  In the following scan, the box and the front of the booklet are included in the same scan, so this scan correctly indicates the relative sizes of the booklet and the box.  The lid of the box is not much bigger than the booklet. The box, in other words, is quite small, and the playing cards were of the dinky size often seen in patience sets.

I am not showing the cards that were part of the set when I obtained it, because they were manufactured by an American firm, and are highly unlikely to have accompanied the set when it was issued. (But I would not stake my life on that.)

Of interest in the foregoing image of the front cover is the lower-right corner, which seems to show that the cover was not applied over the normal printed front-cover, but was affixed to an unprinted surface. (The fabric is turned back a little there.)

Below is shown the inside front-cover and the title page:

—Tom Sawyer

March 17, 2017

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