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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Oldies... but goodies! » » "Discovery of Witchcraft" (13 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

trix_the_clown
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I have a used Discovery of Withcraft, first edition, and was wondering if it might be worth something?

The lady at the local magic shop offered me $20 and I think I should take it. The secondhand book shop only offered me $15. Any advice?
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eddieloughran
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I was looking through a late magic friend's bookshelf when I came across a copy of the above book published by Kaufman in 1975. A first edition and in almost-not-read condition. It isn't listed in the front of my other Kaufman books.

I too, on behalf of his widow, would like to know if it has any real value. It's a large book and beautifully printed.
bkentner
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The value of Discoveries of Witchcraft depends on which edition and year published (there are several first editions the original was published in the 16th century). Also by the condition of the book, depending on this it can range from a couple of dollars to $300 or $400. The original is in the thousands.

As far as a 1975 Kaufman edition, I only know of one edition he published and that was in the 90's. You could check with Richard Kaufman on the Genii Forum. He has a section for questions on Kaufman publications.

I hope this helps
Bob
Randi
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A first edition of DoW is worth thousands!

Kaufman didn't publish a "first edition" of the book, it was first printed in 1584!

No known copies of the first edition are known to exist. I have a 1665 edition that I paid over US$3,000 for....
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Harry Murphy
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Reginald Scot's influential The discoverie of Witchcraft, first issued in 1584 and reprinted a number of times in the 17th century, has a section (the fourteenth book) devoted to a criticism of alchemy.

Of course Randi is right. An original edition of the “Discovery” is quite valuable. It will have NO edition notation. That is an original book will have no notation anywhere of which printing it is (first, second, hundredth) that type of thing didn’t occur in printing until fairly modern times.

Further you will have no copyright notice (again a modern idea).

Clay and Sons printers put out a limited run of replicas of the book in 1930. I think the run was limited to 1275 numbered copies. I know that one such numbered copy (#998) is for sale for $850.00 at Mickey Hades. If you have one of the numbered copies then you have a somewhat collectable book.

Dover Press also put out an edition of the book in 1950 and that edition can go for up to $150.00 (again Mickey Hades has one for sale at that price).

Kaufman put out a nice replica of the book in a fairly limited run. It was not a cheap edition to buy. I suspect that it should get you more than $20.00.

Put it on eBay and see what you get!
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Clay Shevlin
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Hi guys: a few facts from a humble bibliophile:

There are dozens and dozens of copies of the 1584 known to exist. The 1584 edition is probably the most common of all the 16th and 17th century editions.

The 1930 edition was published by John Rodker. All of the copies should be numbered; if a few are not numbered, that was a publisher oversight. Most were bound with a maroon cloth spine over green cloth, but a few (the lower-numbered copies) were bound with a leather spine over cloth.

Dover did not put out its reprint of the Discoverie until 1972.

Perhaps the edition which Harry is thinking about was the one issued by John McArdle in 1954 in an abridged edition of 50 copies only.

Kaufman's reprint is very nicely done.

Cheers!
PyroJeffNic
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Some one re-wrote it... I can't remember his name... Anyways, hes from Calgary AB. I bought the remake for $80cdn, autographed and the 1st out of 500 made.
retrostylemagic
truthteller
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Are you thinking of Steven Forrester's Annotated Discoverie? It is a green hard bound book. He reprints the magic sections of discoveries and offers his research into "fleshing out" the write ups?
Clay Shevlin
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Yep, that's Steve's book alright. Nicely done.
Rob Johnston
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A first edition of Scot's Witchcraft?!!

1584. Wow.

20 dollars is much to low for that book.
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PyroJeffNic
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Yeah is steven forresters
Awesome book though!
retrostylemagic
Clay Shevlin
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Here's what one dealer is asking for a first edition of Scot's book:

The Discoverie of Witchcraft, wherein the lewde dealing of witches and witchmongers is notablie detected, the knaverie of conjurors, the impietie of inchantors, the follie of soothsaiers, the impudent falsehood of cousenors, the infidelitie of atheists, the pestilent practices of Pythonist, the curiositie of figurecasters, the vanitie of dreamers, the beggerlie art of Alcumystrie, The abhomination of idolatrie, the horrible art of poisoning, the vertue and power of natural magike, and all the conveiances of Legierdemaine and juggling are deciphered: and many other things opened, which have long lien hidden, howbeit verie necessarie to be knowne. Heereunto is added a treatise upon the nature and substance of spirits and divels, &c...
SCOT, Reginald.

Price: US$ 59940.07

Book Description: [London: William Brome,] 1584. Small 4to (181 × 131 mm.), pp. [xxviii], 560, [16]. Woodcut headpiece to title, large historiated initials to dedication and the first book, numerous other decorated initials and ornaments, 4 full-page woodcut illustrations, 7 tables, black-letter text throughout with rubrics and shoulder-notes in roman type. Occasional very light spotting and browning, title and A2 with neat minor repair to fore-edge, some early annotations, just trimmed in most cases. Nineteenth- or early twentieth-century full morocco panelled in gilt, all edges gilt, by Rivière. Bookplates of James Falconer; James Comerford; Alfred Henry Huth (sold at his sale Sothebys 3 July 1918, lot 6650); L. A. Aubone Nare; W. A. Foyle (sold Christies, 12 July 2000, lot 388). An extremely good copy. First edition. Scots Discoverie is the first sytematic and rational account of the practice of witchcraft in England. Written almost exactly a century after the publication of the Malleus Maleficarum, which prescribed the Catholic orthodoxy on witchcraft and its suppression, the Discoverie was intended to dismantle the superstition and false theology behind the fear of magic and to debunk the suppositions of the pre-Reformation witch-finders. From a firmly Protestant perspective, Scot provides an anatomy of the complexions of so-called witchcraft: examining case-histories of those falsely accused of witchcraft out of personal malice; of deluded or crazed individuals who believed themselves to be in league with the Devil; those who called themselves witches and harmed their neighbours through natural means (poison); and of wizards and charmers who were able to fool the gullible with tricks and quackery. In each case his verdict is the same: it is impossible for human beings to do Satans work. While he applauds the punishment of examples of genuine malice, he demolishes the theological basis for Church-sponsored witch-hunting. In this Scot was far ahead of his time, and had his work been universally heeded, the hysterical witch-crazes of England and New England in the seventeenthcentury may have been avoided. "Scott enumerates no less than 212 authors whose works in Latin he had consulted, and twenty-three authors who wrote in English. The names in the first list include many Greek and Arabic writers; among those in the second are Bale, Fox, Sir Thomas More, John Record, Barnabe Googe, Abraham Fleming, and William Lambarde. But Scot's information was not only derived from books. He had studied the superstitions respecting witchcraft in courts of law in country districts, where the prosecution of witches was unceasing, and in village life, where the belief in witchcraft flourished in an endless number of fantastic forms" (DNB). The Discoverie also examines in detail the various conjuring tricks common among contemporary tricksters and several woodcut illustrations depict magical apparatus, so the book has always been regarded as an important early source for conjuring. STC 21864; Norman 1915. Bookseller Inventory #89277

Bookseller: Simon Finch Rare Books (London, ., United Kingdom)
truthteller
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Clay,

Would you feel that it was a bit pricey given the fact that the 4th (I believe) is the more sought after edition? For some reason I thought the 1st was more in the 20-30K range.

Thoughts?

Brad Henderson
Clay Shevlin
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Brad,

By your reference to the "4th" do you mean the fourth edition (which I would guess is the 1886 Brinsley Nicholson (ed.) edition), or the fourth issue of the second edition (dated 1654)? I'll assume you mean the latter, in which case I didn't know that the fourth issue was the most sought after; to be sure, it appears to be one of the rarest issues of Scot - guess I'm not current on this stuff.

BUT, if I had a choice of either the 1584 edition or the fourth issue of the second edition, at a reasonable price, I'd probably pick the 1584 edition, knowing full well that it is not a rare book and is arguably the most common edition of all the really old editions. There's just something magical to the first edition of this book. Of course, then I'd have to start looking for the other editions and issues!

The pricing seems high to me as well, but this is a reputable dealer, and you rarely see a Scot offered for sale in this manner, so my guess is that the price is negotiable and the prestige of having it in stock is such that they are not yet in a hurry to sell it. Yes, I would have thought $20K-30K for an average copy of the first edition. Could be the dealer is testing the retail market - all it takes is one wealthy person with no patience!

Those are my thoughts. Hope all is well with you. Clay
truthteller
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I was thinking the 4th "issue" was the first folio sized issue, hence the allure it posseses. (I think folio is the right term. It's the first "big book" edition.
Clay Shevlin
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Now I understand, Brad.

You have a good point - but I'd still take the first edition! Just my hang-up I guess!

For fun, I looked at Toole Stott's entries in both volumes of his conjuring bibligoraphy. What a mess. He indicates that the Turk's Head imprint of a 1665 issue is the tallest of the editions, but he fails to give measurements and collation for the Golden Ball imprint (also dated 1665).

Incidentally, he indicated that the Turks Head 1665 copies are quartos, not folios, though it is not unusual to hear people refer to a big old book as a folio. Technically, as you no doubt know, a folio is a book created by sheets folded once, whereas a quarto is a book created by sheets folded twice, etc.
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