Magic Without Apparatus

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Sam Kesler » 02/24/05 09:23 AM

Okay all you old-timers out there. What are your thoughts and anecdotes about Camille Gaultier's book Magic Without Apparatus?

I believe this book was first published in French in 1914 and was immediately sold out. The first English translation was by Jean Hugard, edited by Paul Fleming, and published by Fleming Book company in 1945.

I read where it was considered to be perhaps the finest book on pure sleight of hand (cards, coins, billiard balls, thimbles) ever written. I believe it is still available new from Lee Jacobs for $40, and older versions on Abebooks fro $20 to $100.

Are you there, Jamy? ;)
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Postby Richard Hatch » 02/24/05 10:25 AM

Sam, here's a link to a rebound copy of the original French edition of 1914 (which was issued in paperback). It sold on eBay last month for $520 plus shipping from the UK (the buyer is in the US). You'll note that the original is photo illustrated, whereas the Fleming edition has replaced the illustrations with line drawings.
French Gaultier on eBay
Great book! As you noted, copies of the Hugard translation are available for just $40 new, so don't pay too much for a used copy! (We have a used one, no dustjacket, in our current unprocessed inventory that we'll price at just $32 when we get to it... Not on our website yet...)
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Postby Sam Kesler » 02/24/05 12:47 PM

Thanks for the information, Richard. I'd like to buy that copy from you. I'm sending you a pm.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 02/24/05 01:22 PM

No hesitation ! Get it, it's a classic.
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Postby Todd Karr » 02/25/05 08:59 AM

The original French version (with the many photo plates) is superb. I am lucky enough to have Doug Henning's copy.
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Postby Richard Hatch » 02/25/05 08:52 PM

Todd, what number do you have? The one that sold on eBay for $520 is #204, I have #275 and Martin Breese has #360 for sale on his site (asking 750.00, about $1,400 I believe!). My guess is that there were 500 copies, but that's just a guess... If yours has a higher number, that would help set an upper bound...
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Postby Richard Hatch » 02/25/05 08:56 PM

The H. Adrian Smith collection has two copies of the French edition, #248 and #374...
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Postby magicam » 02/25/05 11:03 PM

Mine is #202
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Postby Philippe Billot » 02/26/05 02:58 AM

Richard,

What do you think about : "The Card That Retains Its Position by Moreau" ?

(Page 215, 2nd edition 1980, Lee Jacobs Productions.)
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Postby Guest » 04/27/05 08:30 PM

Hello Richard. If your tracing numbers you might be interested to know that my copy of Gautlier in French is #93. It didn't come from Smith but bears Milton Bridges bookplate. He must have had numerous copies.
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Postby Todd Karr » 04/28/05 08:38 AM

My Gaultier is #209.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 04/28/05 09:33 AM

Out of curiosity, and in general terms, does the number affect the value of the book from the collectors' point of view? In other words, is No. 1 more valuable or desirable than No. 500? I'm guessing that it is, but it would be interesting to know.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/28/05 06:35 PM

To some collectors having a low number seems to mean something, though I can't imagine why.
I think the "low number" mentality is something that has been propigated by sellers of rare books as increasing the value.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/28/05 07:43 PM

I have been trying to convince my wife for years that a low number is a good thing.
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Postby magicam » 04/28/05 08:39 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:
To some collectors having a low number seems to mean something, though I can't imagine why. I think the "low number" mentality is something that has been propigated by sellers of rare books as increasing the value
Richard, I agree with you. The number on a book has nothing to do with the order in which it is produced, i.e., printed, collated and bound. It's possible that the last book bound could be numbered "1". The fact that some sellers hype a low-numbered book is an indication (to me at least) that they think buyers are stupid or gullible.

When I numbered and signed my 200 copy edition of HGCR #1, the very first copy I signed and numbered was "#200" - making copy #1 the last one to be numbered and signed.

To me, a low number only has significance if it is within the range of numbered copies which were somehow distinguishable from the other copies. Case in point: copy numbers 1-25 of Eddie Dawes' The Barrister in the Circle are more valuable because they were bound in leather. Another example (although not exactly on point) would be Kurt Volkmanns and Louis Tummers [/b]Bibliographie de la Prestidigitation[/b](Bruxelles, 1952). Apparently, 275 copies were printed, but copy numbers 1-25 were printed on better paper (only these 25 copies were numbered).

I suppose another example where a low number might be of greater value would be the case where it was retained by or given to the author, publisher, editor, etc. Seems like most authors and publishers reserve the lowest numbers for special folks. But of course the value is not in the low number, but in who owned it.

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Postby Todd Karr » 04/29/05 08:42 AM

While I don't believe in the low-is-better mindset, many of my Miracle Factory customers are collecting a set of our limited editions with the same number every time. One person likes the number 13, another 52. And to bring a smile to everyone's face on a day when he's ill, I think it's okay to mention that Jay Marshall always requests number 69.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/29/05 10:25 AM

Originally posted by Todd Karr:
Jay Marshall always requests number 69.
God Bless his heart!
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Postby Guest » 04/29/05 08:08 PM

Henry Hay (Barrows Mussey), in his wonderful Amateur Magician's Handbook describes Camile Gaultier's Magic Without Apparatus in this manner (see Biography and Bibliography section of the fourth edition, for example):

"Enjoyed a great European reputation, for which reason I list it, though I do not think American readers will find the reputation particularly well-deserved. It goes to the point of manipulation for manipulation's sake, including many moves not practically useful."

Ever the lover of sleight-of-hand, I would like to read a copy. However, I have rarely disagreed with Hay's opinions of any book that I have purchased, and so I have not been in any rush to find a copy of this one.

Those who indicated they own the book and have read it (often two very different situations), how do you feel about Hay's comment?

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/29/05 10:03 PM

Hays' opinion of Gaultier's book is entirely unfounded.
Magic Without Apparatus is one of the greatest books every written in the field of sleight of hand, and MUST be rated up there with Hofzinser's Card Conjuring, Erdnase, Downs' Art of Magic, and other classics of the period.
It is a very rich text and will reward many readings over a lifetime.
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Postby Todd Karr » 04/29/05 11:40 PM

Agreed. And if you can see an original French edition, you'll love the multitude of great photos left out of the Fleming translation.
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Postby Jim Riser » 04/30/05 12:33 AM

Originally posted by Todd Karr:
Agreed. And if you can see an original Frecnh edition, you'll love the multitude of great photos left out of the Fleming translation.
Oh, thanks for the "tease", Todd :D

Now I need to seek out a French version to supplement my Fleming edition. Perhaps the two books together could serve to help with French lessons? Actually I had no idea there were ever pictures to go with the text. This is cool info.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/30/05 11:40 AM

Todd, are you sure about that? I had a French edition and was surprised that there seemed to be about the same number of photos as Donna Allen's illustrations in the American edition. There may be a few more photos in the French version, but it certainly didn't seem to be a "multitude"!
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Postby Todd Karr » 04/30/05 12:57 PM

Richard, I haven't counted the photos, but my point was that there were photos and not drawings, and that there were a lot of them. Sorry about the confusion. C'est la vie!

Incidentally, I'm just finishing up translation of Christian Fechner's next volume on Robert-Houdin. It explains all RH's effects and Fechner intends to have it out in time for the bicentennial of Robert-Houdin's birth in December.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/30/05 05:42 PM

I believe there are an equal number of line drawings and photos in both books.
And, I think we are all looking forward to the Robert-Houdin book!
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 05/01/05 02:48 AM

Hi,
For those that speak french, or need more info regaring Fechner's new Houdin books (Vol 3&4) you can check it HERE

all the best

Jacky
www.magicbooks.be
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Postby Sam Kesler » 05/02/05 10:23 AM

Thanks for all the interesting comments, guys. You never know where the thread will go.

And thanks for the heads-up, Todd. I'm saving a space on my shelf next to my first two RH volumes, and will start immediately to put away $$$ in my RH fund for the next. ;)
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