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Topic: Starting over today, What would you collect?
Message: Posted by: edshern (Jan 24, 2013 10:10AM)
I have been collecting Tenyo and other pocket tricks for a for years.
If you were starting over today collecting magic, what would it be?
And, on a scale of 1-10 do you view your collection as an investment?
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Jan 24, 2013 10:46AM)
Catalogs. I can't afford apparatus. However, if you have deep pockets, Stevens Magic is selling about 200 pieces of Thayer magic.
Father Photius will inherit my catalog collection (going on a thousand) to sell as a donation to the Church or send to the Conjuring Arts org.
Message: Posted by: edshern (Jan 31, 2013 06:32PM)
Alan Warner, or Magic Wagon, or Collectors workshop???

I love small Pocket Tricks and now have acquired the Tenyo's I want.
I would like to start collecting a higher quality of effect.
I've narrowed it down to the three magic lines above.

So, Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Ed
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jan 31, 2013 07:06PM)
I make a point not to collect anything. I buy what I use and I use what I buy.
Saving money by not collecting allows me to use the best.
Message: Posted by: edshern (Feb 1, 2013 08:17AM)
I understand Frank, but I'm not a pro. In fact I'm not even an amateur :(
I simply collect magic like others collect art, except I get to play with my collection.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Feb 1, 2013 10:10AM)
Posters seem to be where the big money is, but I still prefer apparatus. If I'd known back then what I do now about Thayer, Owen, P&L, and Okito, I would have grabbed every piece I could lay my hands on. This doesn't even begin to mention the amazing pieces that were produced by the European craftsmen... Conradi, Willmann, etc.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Feb 1, 2013 10:19AM)
[quote]
On 2013-02-01 09:17, edshern wrote:
I understand Frank, but I'm not a pro. In fact I'm not even an amateur :(
I simply collect magic like others collect art, except I get to play with my collection.
[/quote]

Cool. you can start collecting my stuff anytime! j/k

I'm not saying what I do is right. That's just what I decided to do, for myself.
Message: Posted by: Magicman0323 (Feb 1, 2013 04:28PM)
I collect signed playing cards, currently I'm around 360(ish. I view mine as both a hobby and an investment. Although it wouldn't mean nearly as much to anybody else as it means to me, obsession? It's possible. lol
Message: Posted by: GeorgeG (Feb 1, 2013 05:38PM)
If I were to start all over again I would focus my collection on Lassen gaffs (oh, wait I did that, but the question is if one had to start all over with nothing, I guess). Now, if I could travel back in time for any magic I would focus on Taytelbaum.
Message: Posted by: edshern (Feb 1, 2013 08:13PM)
Did a bit of homework, & this really is like art. So many great artists;
Thayer
Owen
P&L
Okito
Conradi
Willmann
Alan Warner
Collectors Workshop
Lassen gaffs
Taytelbaum
Magic Wagon
Francois Danis
Kent Bergman
Magiro
Colin Rose
Anverdi
Viking
Masuda

Who did I miss?
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Feb 1, 2013 08:22PM)
Magic posters, before they became hot. I would also have never returned magic books to my library oh so many years ago. I would now have a fortune in original editions. Our local library was a county library and the magic section was at least a half dozen shelves. I think I spent most of my childhood there.

Reverse the question though, and I wonder what will be hot in the future, that we should be collecting now? (And I'm talking about the get-in-early investments, not Magic Wagon, or Warner etc. We know those are good investments, but they are also already pricey). Specialty decks of cards are still affordable, and may be a good investment (arguably already are, as limited issues command insane prices on the big auction site). But they could go the way of comic books, which are dead.

What about Mikame props? Still affordable, but will they increase in value since his passing?

To answer your second question edshern, I'm lucky to have a decent collection, but it's a love, not an investment. I'm convinced my wife will outlive me, so I'll try to leave her instructions on how to get the most from "all that old magic stuff in our spare room." But I doubt we'll see a profit. I'm just happy to walk into my magic room, and appreciate the time, care, and love that was put into all of these wonderful creations. But at the end of the day, they are only things. They don't hug back.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Feb 1, 2013 08:45PM)
When I worked in a magic shop Milson Worth and Tayade were commonly on our shelves. Both seems to have their fans these days. But then again, older U.F. Grant/MAK and Abbott's have theirs, too.

Sometimes the attraction is for the original quality (even if "then, as opposed to "now"), or the age and scarcity.

Having seen one particular collection of what might be considered "future" investments, Chance Wolf, Norm Nielsen, and Mel Babcock are on the list of desirable magic makers.

The wood turnings of Angelo Iafrate would be on my list, as would most anything made by Jim Riser. Both produce the works of true craftsmen.
Message: Posted by: Julie (Feb 1, 2013 08:49PM)
Often times your urge to "collect" is based upon fond memories from one's youth or at least the earliest stages of exposure to Magic.

Julie
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Feb 2, 2013 09:54AM)
Michael, how could I forget Mel? His work and current prices (too low I would argue) fit perfectly into what I would consider a future investment. Plus, they are incredible performance pieces and not just for shelf-sitting. I would also consider your work in that arena...fairly priced, beautiful to look at, and wonderful to use.

Julie, you hit the nail on the head. You are absolutely right. I have a fair amount of "slum" magic for that very reason...sweet memories.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Feb 2, 2013 11:33AM)
I can relate to that fondness of memories thing... When I first discovered Ebay, I went on a search to replace a lot of the magic that I had as a kid, and later didn't for one reason or another. I have managed to corner some very unique pieces that are not necessarily worth much, but extremely difficult to find. There are still some on my list, and some that I've seen for sale, but sometimes the asking prices even hold off that desire to own them.

I know many magicians that buy almost everything that impresses them. I see lecture sales skyrocket in the presence of people like this. I also suspect that most of these things are destined for the junk drawer/box/crate/room/garage/storage shed/mini-warehouse. In most cases, these are things that travel easily with the lecturer, and not necessarily items of beauty or exceptional craftsmanship.

A lot of close-up magic falls into this realm, as much consists of not much more than a gaffed deck, a gimmick, or gimmick item that appears to be like something found in any home. These things, while certainly sometimes good magic and important for magic history, are hardly display pieces, and usually not in a definable category unto themselves.

There are of course differences, as in George's post mentioning Lassen gaffs. Such a collection would be quite interesting to me on a number of levels. Small brass such as Brema or Viking would be another... quite nice and can make a very manageable collection.

I know one guy who has an enviable collection of magician tokens, all kept in a single album. The entire collection takes up less room on a bookshelf than some of the books I own.

Some guys collect Taytelbaum or Warner. These items are well-made, interesting in their mechanics, and nice to look at. They also fit well into smaller spaces. Collections of larger apparatus sometimes require several rooms.

I have managed to gather a lot of junk over the years (about 50 year of involvement in magic), some of which I do weed out occasionally. But, in the past several years I have tried to focus on a few areas that I seemed to have been drawn to.

I have a fairly nice collection of bottle/glass tricks, not huge or comprehensive mind you, but substantial. I don't desire to own every type ever made, but the collection does make a nice display when all together (some of them I use often, and so stay in the show cases).

I also have a pretty nice collection of LP records pertaining to magic. This is pretty manageable because there are not that many that were ever made.

I also discovered one day several years ago that I have a nice collection of beginner magic books. I have representative samples from every decade going back over a hundred years. Most interesting in this collection (which fits in one case), is the cover art. When displayed in a chronological order, it is quite fun to see how the art changes with time.

My library is ever-expanding, but mostly to feed my desire for learning more about magic history. I rarely anymore buy books of tricks.
Message: Posted by: Julie (Feb 2, 2013 06:55PM)
Hi Michael et al

Do you have in your library novels with a magic theme?

How about books on all the many wild optical illusions that are not only curiosities, but also (in some cases) works of art?

Julie
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Feb 2, 2013 08:00PM)
I have a couple, but to be honest, I am not a reader of novels. I have over the years had many different books on optical illusions. Not sure what is still here.
Message: Posted by: Sebastian Oudot (Mar 17, 2013 02:25AM)
I would have bought many original manuscripts and books from the great names such as Marlo, Vernon, Baker etc...

Some old playing cards as well such as the first edition of the Stud decks.

And, if I may extend this thread a bit, if I could travel back in time, I would take my courage in both hands and went to speak to Mr Alex Elmsley when I was invited on the Magic Circle in London. I was new to magic at that time and didn't realize my chance. But again, this is another story.
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Mar 17, 2013 04:10PM)
Here is a nice collection of Grants/MAK toys

http://www.ronsmagicpalace.com/Rons_Magic_Palace/MAK_Grants.html

And more collectibles here:

http://magictrickcollection.com/mak-magic.htm
Message: Posted by: ablanathanalba (May 1, 2013 11:31AM)
If I had a collector's budget I'd probably buy a lot of rare/first edition books and the nicest Houdin-era automaton I could find. And cards. Lots of cards.
Message: Posted by: Stevethomas (May 4, 2013 06:06PM)
I would never have sold my Anverdi collection. I also would've kept all the P&L I accumulated for next to nothing.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 4, 2013 06:54PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-04 19:06, Stevethomas wrote:
I also would've kept all the P&L I accumulated for next to nothing.

[/quote]

I've heard that P&L, while still highly collectible, is not commanding the stinging prices it was a few years ago. Maybe it's time for you to go snag back some of those pieces and wait for the next high tide. :)

The collecting market is down overall, which has made it more possible for the average guys to pick up some nice stuff lately. There are however, some areas where you have to be King Midas to play in the arena... Cardini auction is a great example.
Message: Posted by: george1953 (May 4, 2013 07:24PM)
I have a collection of different jokers, originally I had a small bar and the idea was to have two of every joker so that I could put one face up and one face down behind a long glass strip that was above the bar. don't have the bar anymore and never got round to putting them behind the glass, if the collection grows a Little more I was thinking of doing the same thing with glaass topped tables for my magic den .
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 11, 2013 12:43AM)
If you are collecting as an investment, you are not a collector. You are an investor. And, in my opinion, you are acquiring props for the wrong reason.

Collect because you love whatever it is that you collect. That way, you will never be disappointed when the market for whatever you happen to collect goes south.

To understand why I say this, read Charles Mackay's <i>(Memoires of) Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds</i>, in which the author explores this very subject. It was written in 1841, and it describes the folly of bad investing from several different viewpoints.

One noted example was the Great Tulip Bulb Bubble Mania of 1637. The Dutch tulip industry was cranking out special tulip bulbs like crazy. Someone finally bred a tulip that was black with an interesting petal pattern, called the Viceroy. This tulip sold for 3,000 t0 4,150 Florins, depending on the size of the bulb. That was about 10 times what a skilled craftsman earned in a year. That would be roughly a million bucks or so in today's money.

Someone pointed out that tulips were not edible, and therefore had no intrinsic value. So people began investing in other things that may have had more intrinsic value.

This reoccurs historically. Remember POGS? What about Beanie Babies? So what is the intrinsic value of a magic poster?

This is all food for thought.

BTW, I don't think of my cups and balls collection as an investment. It's more of an albatross. Have you ever tried to pack 2,000 + sets of cups for moving?
Message: Posted by: edshern (May 11, 2013 08:16AM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-11 01:43, Bill Palmer wrote:
If you are collecting as an investment, you are not a collector. You are an investor. And, in my opinion, you are acquiring props for the wrong reason.
Collect because you love whatever it is that you collect. That way, you will never be disappointed when the market for whatever you happen to collect goes south.
It's more of an albatross. Have you ever tried to pack 2,000 + sets of cups for moving?
[/quote]

Bill, 2000 sets of cups!?!? that's neither investing or collecting. Don't take this personally, but....
that's just nuts :crazydude:
That's the most crazy collection EVER.
That takes obsession to a whole new level.

Next time my wife complains about my collection I plan on saying;
But dear, it could be worse, I could be Only Jonathan :lol:

PS- Email me when you open the museum website again. Would love to see it.

(hope you have a sense of humor)
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (May 11, 2013 08:42AM)
More sage advice from Mr. Palmer...all true.

Case in point, I collected comic books as a teen and acquired quite a library. When the industry began to tank, all of my friends were telling me to sell while I could still make some money. I didn't, because I liked to go back and read them, and peruse the wonderful artwork.

I still have the collection today - granted, I've grown out of it, and they are worth close to nothing - but I still like the fact that I have them in case I want to relive some memories, or pass them on to my son or his children.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 11, 2013 12:05PM)
I would describe my collection as the results of being a magician and a hoarder. I don't buy for the investment, because I rarely if ever part with any of it. On the other hand, I look for the better deals. For me, it's never "acquisition at any price", like some items I've seen sell on auctions. In fact, those sales/purchases with ridiculous numbers, could hardly be described as sound investments, as it would take a thousand years to realize a profit from such folly.

I suppose you could say that these transactions are born from love of the art, but sometimes I tend to question that, too. In some cases, I feel these instances reflect power trips, and border on greed, especially when you see two bidders going head to head in a game that most people can't afford to play, even if they could, had the prices been within reasonable market value.

I will say though that fluctuations in the market affect my playing in this sandbox. When prices tank, I enjoy the luxury of feathering my nest with even more things that I could not have afforded at the higher prices.

One of the things that I did, once I had the means and opportunity, was to start buying copies of most of the items that I had when I was a kid, but had lost due to a number of causes. Some of them were rather difficult to find, and none of them of any real value, other than the sentimental value to me. Rosebud.
Message: Posted by: Gerry Walkowski (May 12, 2013 08:58AM)
Bill,

I agree with 100%.

Gerry
Message: Posted by: motown (May 19, 2013 08:55PM)
Magic Posters
Message: Posted by: Chance Wolf (May 21, 2013 12:40PM)
Owen Magic Supreme

I began collecting about 13 years ago.
I sometimes think it is an actual ILLNESS rather than a hobby.
At the beginning it was a mish mosh of anything "Vintage"...most of it was junk but it all felt good.
Then I began to educate myself and improve my taste.
I then obsessed over Milson Worth effects. Awesome quality and great designs.
I began an obsession with Snake Basket effects after purchasing a vintage Jack Hughes basket from John Mendoza. I ended up with over 30 SNAKE BASKET EFFECTS!! Ugh!
That is when the REAL ILLNESS began!
After years of driving my wife crazy with "secret purchases" I had to draw the line.
I had always been a huge fan of Owen Magic but could not afford their pieces in the early days ( truth is I can't really afford them now :) )
I had several Owen pieces in my collection from a large illusion to some smaller effects.
I just love the old school design and absolute unmatched CRAFTSMANSHIP and Engineering.
Simple for the most part but RELIABLE!
So I decided to start selling off my collection and turn that money into strictly Owen magic effects.
While I still have a LOT of misc manufactures pieces, I will eventually sell them all and attempt a lifetime goal of massing the largest own Collection in the WORL...OK...maybe my state :)

So far I have over 60 pieces and building it by the month.
I will post some pics someday to share the beauty of the true masters who's shoulders I barely stand upon.
Chance
Message: Posted by: edshern (May 21, 2013 01:29PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-21 13:40, Chance Wolf wrote:

1---After years of driving my wife crazy with "secret purchases"

2--- I will post some pics someday to share the beauty of the true masters who's shoulders I barely stand upon.
Chance
[/quote]

1--- LMAO :rotf: Although I'm pretty sure my wife sneaks shoes in.

2--- would love to see it.
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (May 21, 2013 08:42PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-21 13:40, Chance Wolf wrote:
After years of driving my wife crazy with "secret purchases" I had to draw the line.
[/quote]

Ironically, I'm betting there are a lot of secret purchases of Chance Wolf magic out there...including me.
Message: Posted by: paulcourville (May 20, 2016 03:54PM)
I collect Magician's Tokens, I buy, sell, trade and maintain a website where I share information concerning these items with anyone else who collects the same...
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (May 20, 2016 08:40PM)
That's very cool paulcourville.

I love magic history, but primarily regarding props and posters. I realize that's trite, as demonstrated by the ever-increasing prices (for the most part) of said objects at auction. But I also know and respect my background. My father enjoyed woodworking, and taught me enough that I was able to build my own magic props at a young age using nothing but library books as a guide. So now, I adore and admire well-crafted, collectible magic props...both big and small...contemporary and vintage. And, as I grew and followed design as my true interest...I became a commercial artist and fell in love with historic magic posters.

But these more obscure fascinations with rare magic ephemera make me very curious. What drew you to collecting magicians' tokens? What ignited your fire as a collector?
Message: Posted by: Signor Blitz (May 23, 2016 03:41AM)
Something that the late Bob Lund told me about his collection - "I do not own any of this, I am just the curator for the moment until it is passed along to the next generation."

I have always kept that in the back of my mind - I collect the items, I do not let the items collect me - if that makes sense :)

With this sluggish economy, there are many deals to be had - anyone interested in anything can find deals out there to start collecting anything they want :)

If I were to start over, that presumes that I am without what I have currently collected. with that in mind, I would collect items of such inspirational performers (from my perspective) --> Neil Foster, Billy Bishop, Don Alan, Channing Pollock and Norm Nielsen

Magician Business cards

8x10 photos

Poster (vintage, specifically 1960 and later)

and I am a sucker for anything that relates to manipulators and manipulation
Message: Posted by: ChasVH (May 26, 2016 02:48PM)
Ed I would add Gerlitz to your list for sure. Richards stuff is outstanding and very collectible. I wish he was building more these days than his watch effects. I'm a Tenyo, Magic Wagon, Gerlitz, Collectors Workshop, Thomas Pohl, and anything I find that is clever, well made, and mostly mechanical (some cases electronic and mechanical) apparatus. I have way too much because I just love everything I see. Plus I want to keep up with some of the more clever latest releases and I am nothing more than a hobbyist/collector meaning I do not perform this stuff. Again bottom line like many of you...my wife is not happy with me. Fortunately for me its not really about $$ for her but about space as I have it everywhere.

Charlie
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (Aug 22, 2016 11:36PM)
I really love prop magic. No one uses props that are larger than a matchbox any more. I particularly like very ornate props, especially wooden props.
KJ
Message: Posted by: paulcourville (Nov 6, 2019 02:20PM)
Many years ago I had my tokens stored in small envelopes. I wrote the token information directly on the envelope. I stored them standing on their edge in the metal boxes used to store film projector slides.

Then I moved on to storing those envelopes in plastic pocketed sheets in a three ring binder. I next replaced those small envelopes with 2X2 cardboard flips and still using the binder and plastic sheets. After a while I found a really good source for GOOD 2X2 2-pocket archival flips. After three generations of different label types I've finally what works. Labeling ended with Avery transparent labels.

Next I moved from the binders to jeweler trays which hold 15+ 2.5X2.5 inch items per tray. I stacked the trays in stacks of 5 trays with 3 stacks to a drawer in a Husky 52 inch roll away tool chest. Every time I added a new token or went looking for a token I had to pull stack after stack until I got to the right area. That process didn't "hurt" too much till my collection got larger and the 5 tray stacks turned to 6+.

I decided It was time for a change once more and this time I wanted to be able to get to EVERY tray without having to lift stacks of trays. I mapped out a cabinet that could hold each tray individually and can be "grown" as my collection grows. The cabinet is home to 854 tokens and is capable of increasing in size from its current capacity of 50 jeweler trays to 64 in a matter of minutes, I'd just have to add the shelves. Should I totally fill this cabinet to capacity then I will just build a twin cabinet next to the current one.

For the present time I am still housing items that are over 2.5 inches in a curio cabinet until I can figure out something different for that arena...
Message: Posted by: Gerald Blankenship (Jan 26, 2020 05:50PM)
Very interesting thread here. I collect vintage effects and some more recent effects. I am retired (83 yrs old) and many years ago performed as a pro. I can relate to the wife and
purchasing effects. I collect for the pure joy of the history of this beautiful art and when a piece is used I wonder where and when and who used this effect. The vintage pieces are true works of art and the craftsmanship is great. I still do a parlor show now and again and have found folks are fascinated when you give a little history to the effect. My collection is small compared to some of you folks, only 30 pieces at this time.But I also have more recent effects also. I purchase what I like pure and simple I don't collect hoping for profit, I would not part with any piece I have.
Message: Posted by: paulcourville (Jan 26, 2020 08:19PM)
Ahhhhh, History.... Sometimes history happens by accident. In my book Magic Tokens I've started to add links to additional information concerning specifics of a token and/or the magician, magic company, magic event etc... that is relative to the token listed. ONE such "accidental" historic event created a Magicians Token that the Magician himself NEVER created and that is the SIG BLITZ tokens... Funny how history sometimes works itself out. http://www.magictoken.org/magic/blitz.html

Enjoy ! ! !
Message: Posted by: Gerald Blankenship (Jan 27, 2020 09:31PM)
Very interesting read from your link. Yes history sometimes happens by accident, this is a classic example. Thanks for sharing paul
Message: Posted by: todsky (Mar 7, 2020 09:51AM)
I used to covet and collect magic books, but now I have a family so I can’t afford the cost and closet space anymore. But if I had the space and money, I would be neck high in books by now.
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Mar 8, 2020 08:16AM)
Besides space and money, my magic book collection ended due to lack of time. The busier I became with family and work, the less time I had for reading. So rather than continuing to accumulate books I would "someday" read, I stopped collecting. Sadly, many great titles have passed me by as I grit my teeth. Yet, discipline has prevailed, and hopefully I'll catch back up when time and money allow, (I'll always find space).
Message: Posted by: mxmln (Mar 30, 2020 02:52AM)
I am retired and have been very interested in magic and puzzles for roughly 50 years. I am an amateur but have done some semi-professional work over the years. Collecting has been a large part of my magical life and I am fascinated by the methods and technologies that have encompassed the field over the last 150 plus years. My professional background is in science, mathematics and other forms of applied technology. My collection is pretty much eclectic and based on me being just fascinated by the effect. However, I have and still acquire props made over many decades by many of the great manufacturers. A particular interest of mine is in magic or mentalism or just puzzles based on chemistry and physics. Is there anybody else out there with this same focus???
Message: Posted by: bobmag56 (Apr 5, 2020 12:12PM)
Although I have a rather large apparatus collection, I tried to acquire the best items from certain builders. That means not all items from a builder. What I thought to be the best items varied from décor, effect, easy to do, price, and size. If I were to start over, I would use that same criteria. Not sure, but I doubt that even the most famous magic collectors do not have all effects from a certain builder (example: Thayer). So I would suggest to new collectors, obtain what you like and years later, you will still like the items in your collection. Bob
Message: Posted by: socalguy (Jun 8, 2021 11:04AM)
Very simply:
Alan Warner
Magic Wagon
Francois Danis
All will hold their value and more!
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Jun 9, 2021 05:55AM)
[quote]On Apr 5, 2020, bobmag56 wrote:
Although I have a rather large apparatus collection, I tried to acquire the best items from certain builders. That means not all items from a builder. What I thought to be the best items varied from décor, effect, easy to do, price, and size. If I were to start over, I would use that same criteria. Not sure, but I doubt that even the most famous magic collectors do not have all effects from a certain builder (example: Thayer). So I would suggest to new collectors, obtain what you like and years later, you will still like the items in your collection. Bob [/quote]

Right on.

Same philosophy applies to folks who try to anticipate a prop's future worth, and collect as an financial transaction. That's fine of course if that's what you choose, but your collection will become a portfolio of investments versus something that gives you relaxation and joy. Collect what is worth the most to you, and it will always be priceless.
Message: Posted by: edshern (Jul 14, 2021 02:15PM)
[quote]On Jun 8, 2021, socalguy wrote:
Very simply:
Alan Warner
Magic Wagon
Francois Danis
All will hold their value and more! [/quote]

Interesting choices. Are they in order?
Message: Posted by: edshern (Jul 14, 2021 02:18PM)
This is a GREAT IDEA for a thread!
Oh wait, I was the original poster,,,,, in 2013.
Some things just never get old :lol:
:dancing:
EXCEPT ME!