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Bill Palmer
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This is a question that may be difficult to answer. Doing a simple search on Google or Amazon may not provide a satisfactory answer, because most book dealers do not sell magic books. In fact, many do not have any idea what a magic book is worth, because they don't have any magic catalogs. So they use what my old biology teacher used to call "a posteriori knowledge" to price used magic books.

Combine this with what is, in many cases, inaccurate information concerning what is and is not in print and/or what is or is not available from magic dealers, and the whole thing can become quite confusing.

The main things that drive the price of magic books are desirability and availability. When Frank Garcia was alive, his Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic sold for about $15 or $20. Since sponge ball magic is very popular and this book is no longer available unless someone either dies or decides to sell it to raise some money, you can expect to pay around $400 for it, more if it is autographed.

Michael Ammar's The Complete Cups and Balls is another example of a book that has gone out of print that commands a higher price than it did when it was first printed. Originally, it sold for $50 or so. Expect to pay $150 to $200 for it. If the book has some interesting provenance, it may command a higher price.

Borodin's Sheherazade has been out of print for several years now. It sold for $45.00 new. Now it goes for about $200.

Some publishers do not let their books go completely out of print. Magic, Inc. still publishes their more popular classics, such as The Sponge Book and Ireland's Original Cups and Balls Routines. Although the prices on these books have gone up, new copies are available for about $10.00.

Some books have several editions, and some of these are worth more than others. For example, the first edition of one of the Derren Brown books is worth two or three times more than the second edition. That's partially because the two editions are vastly different. Some of the more controversial material in the first edition was removed from subsequent ones.

What about the age of the book? That's a good question. Do you know the actual age of the book or are you going by the copyright date? The copyright date only tells you the EARLIEST the book could have been published. There are some other clues.

Look for the address of the seller. If it has the postal zone, such as Walnut Hills 3, California, then it was printed after May 5, 1943. If it has a Zip code, then it was printed sometime after 1963. European postal codes can offer you some information as well.

Age is not the only factor that determines value. If the initial printing of a book was extremely large, an early edition might not be worth that much more than a later one. Also, a newer book in perfect condition may be worth more than an older book in horrible condition. Condition is a very important factor.

So, here's the idea with this thread. If you have a book that you want a value for, submit it to the thread, and someone will see if they can find a reasonable value for it. If I put a price on a book, the value will be based on what it has brought at auction recently or what it has sold for in the for sale section of the Magic Café.
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Merenkov
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Cool idea for a thread. Here are a couple of books in my collection that have confounded me, as I've heard wildly divergent opinions of their market value: Bizarre and Cantrip Codex, both by Tony 'Doc' Shiels. I purchased both in the mid-nineties. Bizarre is copyrighted 1988; Cantrip Codex is copyrighted 1989. I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on the value of each of these.
Bill Palmer
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Those are difficult to price for the reason you have given. Another reason is that some of the listings have errors in them. For example, one listing states that Cantrip Codex was published in London by Tony Andruzzi. It was more likely published in Chicago, because that's where Andruzzi lived. Where it is printed or manufactured and where it is published are not the same thing.

Anyway, I would say that, judging from prices I have seen here and there, the Codex would be worth somewhere between $150 and $250. Bizarre would probably go for about $65 to $100.
"The Swatter"

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Kevin Connolly
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Both are on Ebay with no takers. Codex at $200 and Bizarre at $65.00 and will take less for it.
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Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
Bill Palmer
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I'm using data from several different sources. I did see those eBay listings.
"The Swatter"

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Kevin Connolly
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I'm using a few sources too. Asking prices and selling prices really can't be compared, so I went with the easiest to acquire on short notice.
Please visit my website.
www.houdinihimself.com

Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
Bill Palmer
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I know. For example, Martinka had not sold any copies of either of these books, but there were some copies that showed up on various incarnations of Amazon.

Right now, it's a buyer's market. It's that way for all the collectibles. I wish I'd held on to my Harbin book which I sold a few years before it went through the roof. But I didn't get hurt on it.
"The Swatter"

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Kevin Connolly
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I saw a Bizarre sell on Ebay for $45.00 3 weeks ago and only one bidder. This may be the price for it now.
Please visit my website.
www.houdinihimself.com

Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
magicfish
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Houdini, by Gresham. First edition. Excellent condition with dust jacket in fine condition.

Great thread, Bill. Thankyou in advance.

Rodney
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2010-04-16 07:23, Kevin Connolly wrote:
I saw a Bizarre sell on Ebay for $45.00 3 weeks ago and only one bidder. This may be the price for it now.


This is a common misconception. The last auction doesn't determine "the" price. There is no "the" price. It all depends on whether anyone other than that one bidder saw the listing. Sometimes the listing itself determines the pricing of a book -- or for that matter -- the range of pricing.

Here's an example. This is kind of esoteric, but it will give you an idea of the idiosyncracies of auctions. From 2004 through 2008, the average ebay auction price for a set of Paul Fox cups by Danny Dew in almost any condition unless they were just beat to pieces was about $600. I know. I bought most of them. Some went for as much as $1000, others for about $400. The $1000 cups were the exception, not the rule. The ones that Jeff Busby made usually went for less, but I think we both know why.

The best of those cups were some that were spun for Danny by the original Rings and Things (rather than Perigee). They had that Magipoxy finish. I had the sets that were owned by David Roth and a couple of other well-known magicians. The normal price for these was $750 - $1000 a set, depending on provenance. A set came up that was listed by a magic company out of Ca. They didn't know what they had. Their listing made it somewhat doubtful to anyone exactly what these cups were. I sent them a message explaining what they were, and the idiots didn't post the information to the listing. Since they didn't make the change, I bought the cups for $250, and consequently traded them to a fellow in Dresden for a set of cups that were unobtainable at any price over here. If they had changed the listing, someone else would have gotten them for considerably more money than I had paid.

This did not lessen the value of any of the Paul Fox cups that have sold since then, although the economic downturn that followed a few months later didn't give us any help on auction prices!

BTW, do you have a listing number for the copy of Bizarre that you saw on eBay? I did five different searches on the completed items, using Shiels on one, Bizarre on the second and Bizzare on the third, Bizzarre on the fourth and Sheils on the fifth, and it didn't show up. Several other bizarre magic books did, but not the Shiels book called Bizarre.

Quote:
On 2010-04-16 07:49, magicfish wrote:
Houdini, by Gresham. First edition. Excellent condition with dust jacket in fine condition.

Great thread, Bill. Thankyou in advance.

Rodney


I'm glad you asked about this one, because it gives me a chance to make a few points about editions and printings. First, I checked with Richard Hatch, because he has a copy that sounds pretty much like yours -- it's a first edition, second printing. He wants $25.00 for it.

He also suggested that I run a search on bookfinder.com , which is a really great site to show the range of prices. Bookfinder.com had a couple of listings that were really wacky. There were a couple of 1960 editions that were listed as first editions. One of these was obviously the first UK edition, although I seem to remember that Holt had an English publishing branch of record.

Another had the notation "A First edition is always a First printing." Nope. Look at Greater Magic. It went through several editions, each with more than one printing, except, perhaps, the Reader's Digest five volume set. BTW, there are people who collect editions of Greater Magic and editions of all the Hoffmann works. An edition is a changed version of a book.

So, to answer your question -- a copy of this type would sell at retail for roughly $15 - $45. The book does have acceptance outside the magic community, that is, there are people who collect Gresham.
"The Swatter"

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magicfish
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Thanks, Bill, that's helpful. I'm particularly fond of this copy because of where, how , and when I acquired it. I admire it as one of those little gems of my collection. Like I said, Bill, I'm excited about this thread and I hope you don't mind if I throw a few more at you.

Rodney
Bill Palmer
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It's a good book. Until some of the more recent books about Houdini were published, it was probably the best general biography of Houdini in print. At least there were fewer errors, intentional or otherwise, than in the Kelloch book and some of the others.
"The Swatter"

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Quote:
On 2010-04-15 23:38, Bill Palmer wrote:
I wish I'd held on to my Harbin book which I sold a few years before it went through the roof. But I didn't get hurt on it.

As I recall when The Magic of Robert Harbin first came out, you could buy it for $60.00. Now it is in the thousands. Nice appreciation huh?
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Bill Palmer
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Actually, I think the price was closer to $75.00. Now, even the fakes cost more than that!

A friend of mine is a well-known collector. He has a legit Harbin book, which belonged to a very famous illusionist. It has all of the packing materials, etc. He also has a couple of fakes which he uses primarily to educate other collectors.

The late Al Mann was reputedly responsible for the most popular of the fakes. A few years ago, about 20 of them surfaced at a bookstore in San Antonio. Naturally, they all got bought very quickly. Then one of the fellows in the local magic club inquired as to the source of the books, and they got traced back to someone in San Antonio who had them and several more in a warehouse.

And so did the story of how they got printed, etc. There were a number of people involved in it.
"The Swatter"

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magicfish
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Great Hoaxes & Famous Imposters-
Forgers,Swindlers,Robbers, and Con Artists Throughout History
By Carlson Wade. I love this book. Excellent condition. Hardbound with green boards and green dustjacket. Published by Jonathon David Publishing. Copyright 1976. Printed in the United States. I doubt its very valuable but it is to me. Is mine a first edition? Any info is appreciated.

Rodney
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Quote:
On 2010-04-17 02:35, Bill Palmer wrote:
A friend of mine is a well-known collector. He has a legit Harbin book, which belonged to a very famous illusionist. It has all of the packing materials, etc. He also has a couple of fakes which he uses primarily to educate other collectors.


I purchased my copy of the Harbin book from a well-known magic craftsman a few years ago. It, too, came with the original packing materials, certificate of authenticity, etc. It also came with a handwritten letter from Harbin to the original purchaser (the craftsman).

What's most interesting--and intriguing--to me about that letter is that in it Harbin states that his T&R newspaper is the best thing in the book.
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2010-04-22 17:50, magicfish wrote:
Great Hoaxes & Famous Imposters-
Forgers,Swindlers,Robbers, and Con Artists Throughout History
By Carlson Wade. I love this book. Excellent condition. Hardbound with green boards and green dustjacket. Published by Jonathon David Publishing. Copyright 1976. Printed in the United States. I doubt its very valuable but it is to me. Is mine a first edition? Any info is appreciated.

Rodney


To know whether it's a first edition, I would need to see the information around the copyright notice. Often, it will say "First printing" or "First Edition." It very well may be. It was reprinted in 1989.

It's not a particularly pricey book, though -- about $15 to $20.

One thing to remember about the value of any collectible. It is very unusual for the value of any collectible to be chiseled in stone. All sorts of things can affect the market value of a collectible item, be it a book, a magic trick, a coin or a piece of real estate.

If you live in a world where food is in extremely short supply, a Harbin book would be worth a lot less than a loaf of bread.
"The Swatter"

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MagiClyde
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I have a copy of Harry Lorayne's book "The Himber Wallet Book" and am totally confused by what I am finding out there, as I intend to sell this book, along with a full size himber wallet from Fun Inc.

The search that I have done shows prices as varied as $35 to $100, all with S&H extra. The $35 one is from a magic store selling copies of the book and does mention that you have to reserve it, as they are out of stock.

As for the $100 one, it says it is a "deluxe" edition, with Lorayne's signature and numbered. He also says this is also in "New" condition and OOP! Huh? Is that possible? While I would never say mine is new, I know that the condition of the book would warrant saying, possibly, used, but in "like new" condition as there are no condition issues that I can spot.
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Bill Palmer
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If you have a book that has no dings, underlines, marginal notes, and it has a clean cover, and the spine isn't shaken, then it might be listed as in "new" condition, even if it has been out of print for some time. I have a copy of Michael Ammar's Complete Cups and Balls book, a deluxe edition, that has been unwrapped, but has not been opened more than slightly. The book is out of print. It is in perfect condition. I would consider a description of it as a used book in "new" condition to be accurate; however, most people who sell used books would list a book like that as "mint" condition or "like new" condition.

But here's the catch. Are all the corners crisp? Are the top and bottom of the spine crisp? People who purchase books are often quite picky. I have a copy of the Deluxe edition of the complete Vernon set that came wrapped. I opened it to find that the cover was defective. I couldn't return it because I got it from a third party.

As far as the value of this book is concerned, mention Harry Lorayne's name a few more times.

Here, I'll help.

Harry Lorayne.

Harry Lorayne.

Harry Lorayne regularly checks the Café and Genii Forum looking to see who has mentioned him. He will see this, and unless he is a complete sadist, he will tell us what he thinks the book is worth.

BTW, I have 24 copies of Final Curtain. Since no more of them are being printed, it is out of print. But they are absolutely new. So, what should I call them?
"The Swatter"

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MagiClyde
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Thanks for the information. Hope Harry shows up and gives his opinion. Should be interesting.

As for the book, I looked for all of those things and, so far, haven't found any. Didn't think about the spine though. Have been very careful not to open the book too far, as that does cause wear issues on the spine.

Another thing I have to ask is about different versions of a book. As an example, L&L is publishing a book called "The Complete Ganson Magic Teach-In Series". They have two "flavors" of this book, the "worker" for about $80 and a "deluxe" edition with extras for about $175. When looking for books with possible collecting value in mind for the future, what should one consider?

Also, I have heard some people be of the mindset to buy two copies of the same book. The first would be a worker, one you carry around, read, use, etc. The other would be stored away somewhere that it remains wrapped and, possibly, out of sunlight so as to minimize any harmful effects to it. Any thoughts on that subject?

Just to let you know, I did try bookfinder for the Harry Lorayne book and could not find it among the fairly long list of books put out there by him. Was really surprised by that.
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