Fischer and Jaks question

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Postby Guest » 05/24/04 02:39 PM

As the widow of a magician, I have been selling my late husbands collections. I have recently come across a book that I believe even Clay Shevlin would consider unique, and would like to get more information about it. It is Ottokar Fischers Das Wunderbuch (Stuttgart: Berthes, 1929). I would describe it as being in good minus condition.

He inscribed it (in German) as follows: To Herr S. Jaks, the understanding, heartfelt valuer and lover of magic art in friendly affection.
Ottokar Fischer

Vienna, Nov. 1, 1937

The little research Ive done tells me that Stanley Jaks (who was Jewish) emigrated to the U.S. and became a well-known magician here. Fischer died in 1940, Jaks in 1960. I suppose he brought his treasured copy of the Fischer book with him when he escaped Nazi Germany. If anyone can tell me more about the connection between them, or other relevant information, I will greatly appreciate it. Being a professional writer, I may want to write an article about this topic. However, I dont read German and havent even been able to find out whether Fischer himself was Jewish.

Eventually I will want to sell the book, also. As some of you know, I have been auctioning most of my husbands magic items on eBay, but this one probably belongs in an important collection, and I will consider selling it privately.

Thank you for any help you can provide.
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 05/25/04 07:52 AM

Carol,
the book you're enquiring about is not exceedingly rare. As a matter of fact, it has also been translated in English as "Illustrated Magic" and published in the USA by "The Macmillan Company" in 1944. What you have is indeed the first German edition, whose complete title is "Das Wunderbuch Der Zauberkunst".

While I don't see that often the German edition, the English one sells for about $75... However, being signed by the author and dedicated to Dr. Stanley Jacks, one of the finest pratictioneers of "mental magic", makes it quite dederable.

Hope this helps. All the best, ciao!
Marco Pusterla - http://www.mpmagic.com

Ye Olde Magic Mag: magic history and collecting magazine.
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