Martin Gardner Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic

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Postby Guest » 06/30/07 06:19 AM

Click Here for a nice copy of Martin Gardner's Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic on eBay. Auction ends Sunday!
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Postby Guest » 06/30/07 07:17 AM

Anybody knows how much is first edition worth today ?


:genii:
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Postby Guest » 06/30/07 10:58 AM

As I understand it, this is a compilation of Gardner's columns from Hugard's Magic Monthly. As for the value, we're about to learn what someone is willing to pay at the close of the eBay auction tomorrow. Various booksellers have it ranging from just under $200 to above $250.
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Postby Guest » 06/30/07 11:37 AM

$102.50 For a FIFTH EDITION??????????
Seriously????????

Someone is telling me that the fifth edition I have on my shelf, the edition that cost me $40.00, is now worth $102.50???????

I'll defend inflated prices on Ebay 'till I'm out of breath, but this is just insane.

It just blows my mind.

Gord
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Postby Guest » 06/30/07 01:28 PM

The last copy on ebay went for 74.00.
Peace, Joe
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Postby Guest » 06/30/07 04:04 PM

I just recently bought my copy off eBay for $77 plus shipping.

It's not marked with any edition - just the 1978 copyright date from Magic, Inc. Anyone know what edition it might be?

Thanks,
Dave
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Postby Guest » 06/30/07 05:03 PM

I think its the first edition and you're one of the lucky guys in town.
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Postby Guest » 06/30/07 05:17 PM

According to the edition I have, 1978 was the publishing date, so you do have a first edition.
It's a shame you don't have a fifth edition, they are going like hotcakes.

Gord
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Postby Guest » 06/30/07 10:19 PM

I think all the copies out there are first edition. The one I'm selling is the fifth printing, not fifth edition. The edition number usually refers to how many times the text or illustrations have been revised.
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Postby Guest » 07/01/07 12:51 AM

Right you are, ecphora.

A simple reprinting of a book is just that. If a book went through 100 printings, it'd still be the first edition, strange as that may seem.
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Postby Guest » 07/01/07 01:35 PM

With all due respect, the "edition" vs. "printing" debate is a matter of point of view.
A Bibliographer usually believes that all printings from the same source is a first edition. For example, all printings of "The Catcher in the Rye" are from the same source, therefore a printing put out today as opposed a printing from it's first published year are considered the same edition.
A collector generally views different printings the same as different editions. Therefore a fifth printing of the "Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic" is really a fifth edition.

I fall into the collectors view.

Gord
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Postby Guest » 07/01/07 03:17 PM

I don't think there's really a "debate" about the terminology. The cover sheet lists the dates of the five printings, not five editions. That's the standard terminology. If you want to refer to printings as editions, be prepared to have this conversation again. I'm selling this copy because I reserved a deluxe copy of the next edition from Todd Karr last week.
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Postby Guest » 07/01/07 05:07 PM

Gord wrote:
A collector generally views different printings the same as different editions
Gordo:

Is there some "authoritative" source for this point of view? Or even "non-authoritative"? Something that's been published that espouses your view? (Note: it is not John Carter). Anything?

I've written on this issue several times, so no need to beat a dead horse, other than to say that all - or nearly all - experienced collectors with bibliographical roots would disagree with Gord's view.

But it is a minor matter that seems to interest few but dedicated bibliophiles.

Clay
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/01/07 06:50 PM

While I agree with you, Clay, would you say that a first edition, first printing would have the same value as a first edition, second (or third, or fourth, etc.) printing?

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 07/01/07 11:39 PM

In the collecting world, "first edition" means the same thing as "first edition, first printing" in bibliography. It's qualitatively different from any other form of the work.

On another thread, I saw an estimate of dustjacket value as 140% the value of the book. For a truly collectible book, that would rise to many times the undustjacketed book. The important point for the collector is to own a book indistinguishable from its very first appearance.

I'm a bibliographer and a book collector (see my C.S. Forester bibliography at http://mwilden.com/forester ).
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Postby Guest » 07/02/07 10:21 AM

Jim: if you are asking as a very general matter, the first edition, first printing would probably be more desirable and thus more valuable. But there are plenty of exceptions to that rule in the world of book collecting, although probably not as many in magic. From the simple expedient used by some collectors, Gord has apparently extrapolated that to mean that a fifth printing is a fifth edition. That sort of usage can get very confusing, especially in cases where there actually exist fifth printings of fifth editions of certain works!

And I tend to agree with Mark about the meaning of first edition in the collecting world. In essence, for many collectors, saying first edition is a short-hand way of saying first edition, first printing. The problem arises, however, when one is communicating with a collector who is bibliographically educated, in which case, use of the term first edition could mean many things. The problem with using the simple expedient of first edition means first edition, first printing for collectors is that it doesnt go far enough. Is the speaker referring to the first state of the first printing, or possibly the third state? Is the speaker referring to a colonial or a subsidiary edition? Or perhaps a sub-edition?

Heres a favorite quote of mine concerning the usage of bibliographical terms:

Many will say that the whole subject is far too recondite to interest them, and that in any case it concerns only a small, unimportant point. But the fact is that book collecting in the last resort derives any soundness that there may be in its foundation from bibliography, and unless the terms which bibliographers use convey always and universally the same meaning, there is an end to any hope of a sane future for book collecting. Percy H. Muir in Points: Second Series (1934)

So thats the problem, as I see it: people using words and phrases that have different meanings to different people (thats how the discussion in this thread got started). Descriptive bibliography seems rather arcane to most collectors, when in fact, for most modern books, the principles which govern usage of the terms edition, issue and state are not that difficult to master with just a little study. For those who are interested in learning more about bibliography, its basic terms and usages, with examples using magic books, an article was published in last years issue no. 12 of The Yankee Magic Collector that might be helpful. Heres the link for ordering: http://nemca.com/ymc.htm

CHS
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/02/07 11:14 AM

Clay,
My post (to which I was fairly certain of your response) was mostly just a bit of Socratic Questioning.

You confirmed what I think Gord was getting at (though perhaps using imprecise terminology). That is: different printings are not created equal. To a collector, all else being equal, a first edition, first printing is more desirable than a first edition, fifth printing. However, a fifth edition, first printing, is probably worth less than a first edition, fifth printing (i.e., print number != edition number).

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 07/02/07 11:35 AM

It should probably be mentioned at least once by somebody in this discussion that the prices currently being paid for Gardner's Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic are likely more due to magicians wanting the information in this book rather than due to a frenzy among collectors who care about printing runs, etc.

In other analytical terms (and in my view this is what's happening with the Gardner book): its practical value (sometimes called "use-value") is higher than its value as a collectible artifact (sometimes called "fetish value").
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Postby Guest » 07/02/07 12:26 PM

Well said.


:genii:
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Postby Guest » 07/02/07 12:36 PM

I suspected that was your point, Jim.

Interesting that many later printings of books consist of smaller print runs than the first printing thus, later printings are actually scarcer. Case in point, with Jasper Maskelynes Magic: Top Secret, published early in 1949. Copies are in high demand nowadays, but the few times copies do come up for sale, most are first printings. Ive only seen or heard of a few copies of a second printing (with my copies, the second printing, down to its dust jacket, appears identical in every way to the first printing) as opposed to seeing or knowing about dozens of copies of the first printing, which strongly suggests to me that the second printing was smaller (as they often are). Or perhaps folks are not recording their copies accurately, which is a possibility one must account for.

Anent your fifth edition, first printing, is probably worth less than a first edition, fifth printing comment, in such cases and strictly in the context of modern books, I suspect that relative values are much more content-dependent than edition/impression dependent. In essence, without knowing more about the age/type/content of book under discussion, Id be reluctant to formulate such a general rule. My .02 on some rather esoteric subject matter (but I love it just the same).

I think Ted M. raises a good point, and the content is all important theory is, in my opinion, one of the key variables in separating a performer from a collector, although some might disagree.

Clay
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/02/07 01:06 PM

Clay: my comment about the relative values of different editions/printings was only meant to apply to cases where everything else about the two books is the same (condition, relative scarcity, etc.). I'm certainly aware that there are many, many factors which can affect the value of a book.

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 07/02/07 01:13 PM

Jim, I missed the "all else being equal" qualifier! Sorry.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/02/07 01:21 PM

No problem! ;)

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 07/02/07 04:34 PM

Ted M wrote:
It should probably be mentioned at least once by somebody in this discussion that the prices currently being paid for Gardner's Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic are likely more due to magicians wanting the information in this book rather than due to a frenzy among collectors who care about printing runs, etc.
It should also be mentioned that the high prices currently being paid may not be quite so high if the bidders were aware of the new edition (with commentary throughout the book by Michael Weber) to be printed later this year by Todd Karr!

Does that make it a first, second or a sixth edition?!!!
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Postby Guest » 07/02/07 07:55 PM

Well Eoin,

Given Todd's ads regarding the scope of the added/revised material, if the title of the book hasn't changed, then it would be a new edition.

As to whether or not it's the 1st, 5th or 6th edition, I suppose one could always fall back on the old "trick" used by booksellers and call it a "first edition thus"!

Clay
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Postby Guest » 07/03/07 12:37 PM

Is there some "authoritative" source for this point of view? Or even "non-authoritative"? Something that's been published that espouses your view? (Note: it is not John Carter). Anything?
Clay
The concept was first introduced to me by an unkempt man at a great used book store here in Toronto when I was thrilled over finding a first "edition".
I have found the information in various places, but the info I quoted came from Wikipedia. I'm not proud of using Wikipedia, but it produced the most straight forward information.

Gord
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Postby Guest » 07/03/07 03:34 PM

Here\'s the best I've seen the fifth printing do so far.
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Postby Guest » 07/03/07 04:59 PM

Okay, this is mostly esoteric territory and most folks could care less. That said, this thread is proof that we (not just Gord) often use internet resources as our authority for certain facts. So let this thread stand as a piece of evidence in the chain of such authority.

In my discussions (here and in Magicol and Yankee Magic Collector) of the meanings and correct usages of terms like rare, first edition, etc., my biggest concern is with consistency of use the theory being that if there is no agreement on what such terms actually mean, then it can be very difficult for us to accurately communicate with each other. Thus the quote above from Percy Muir.

Yes, Wikipedia is often mocked if used as an authoritative source, but even if we use Wikipedia, I dont believe that Gords argument is supported. Wiki states that collectors use the term [first edition] for the first printing only.

But where does Wiki state or even fairly imply that a fifth printing is a fifth edition? To the extent relevant, in essence the Wiki discussion simply (and only) says that collectors use the term first edition as a shorthand way of describing a first edition, first printing. Thats it. Theres nothing to suggest that collectors equate every printing with a new edition, which is, I believe, the fair implication of Gords argument.

The Wiki entry for first edition attempts to provide separate definitions thereof for the bibliographer, collector and the publisher. Most noteworthy to me are the two opening sentences under the collectors and publishers definition headings:

Under the collectors definition heading, the opening line is, a common complaint of book collectors is that the the bibliographer's definition is used in a book-collecting context. Well, of course it is! Since book collectors collect books, and bibliographers have developed a language which accurately describes books, isnt that the language that should be used? Why use baseball terminology to describe a soccer game? This opening line is most revealing, and suggests that the issue is not really about disagreement with the bibliographical definition its simply that collectors dont like it!

Why is that? Well, look at the opening line for the publishers definition of first edition: publishers use the term first edition for their own purposes, with little consistency. I submit that collectors also use the term for their own purposes: to create an aura of special-ness to first editions. Lets face it, its not really sexy to collectors to have to say that the 50th printing of Catcher in the Rye is also a first edition.

Finally, note that, in the eBay link provided by ecphora, the seller is H&R Magic Books, a very experienced bookseller. H&R states the following about this book: First published by Magic Inc in 1978 and currently out of print, this is the 5th printing from 1997.

Thanks in advance to the two individuals whove taken the time to read this post! :)
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