The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

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erdnasephile
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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby erdnasephile » July 12th, 2011, 9:09 pm

Wow--quite the price (although the ebay ad seemed legit, I'd swallow hard when sending that much cash to someone with zero feedback).

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Leonard Hevia » July 13th, 2011, 12:18 am

Every once in a while, the Harbin book will show up on the Martinka Auction. Last year it sold for about this price on Martinka. If you're patient and have about $2,000 to spare, you might find it there.

Also, there seems to be a Tsunami of aging collectors who are selling off their collections. Copies of the Harbin book are bound to surface in the near future.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 13th, 2011, 1:17 am

Beware of the Craige Sander, Jr./Al Mann produced fakes out there.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby El Harvey Oswald » July 13th, 2011, 6:28 am

"'Magic of Robert Harbin'
There is no 'The' in the title."

in ordinary conversation people typically drop articles that are irrelevant to clarity and understanding. Convenience, not ignorance. much like just saying "Zig Zag," rather than the cumbersome "Zig Zag Girl." Things "are" ultimately what they are called in actual practice. that might be an original name, but quite often that original name is just an historical artifact. Likewise, an original mode of presentation. Apart from advertising the bare fact of having read the Harbin book, insisting that the Zig Zag categorically must never be performed to music simply because that's how Harbin did it is utterly unpersuasive. I suppose that if all you're trying to accomplish is to establish a Fundamentalist persona, demanding blind obedience to The Book works toward that end. But ever since Doug Henning put on a different paint job and succeeded with an alternate mode of performance, it's been a different conversation.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Q. Kumber » July 13th, 2011, 7:19 am

There were excellent reasons why Harbin performed the Zig Zag Girl the way he did. Every detail mattered and added to the presentation. Every detail from using a spectator to feeling the body bits, all were there for a reason.

If anyone is going to alter Harbin's sequence of events they are perfectly entitled to do so, but they should at least understand why they were there in the first place.

Unfortunately most magicians have very little understanding of theatrical or magical construction.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby El Harvey Oswald » July 13th, 2011, 12:41 pm

reasonable point. as one example, doug henning's departures were deliberate and attentive to detail and, moreover, his changes were done with an understanding that what he was losing in departing from harbin was compensated for, and then some, by implementing performance aspects more commensurate with what his objectives and entirely different ambiance. also, even less meticulous performers who abandon the "belly box," even without the benefit of having read harbin's entirely conclusory justification for it, were making a rational decision.

similarly: darwin ortiz's suggestion that the original twisting the aces routine is perhaps improved by accomplishing one of the turn-overs by way of a half pass to achieve an ideal balance that incorporates some of the benefits from more modern developments while retaining the essence of what is obviously a very compelling effect in it original form.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Matt Adams » January 5th, 2013, 2:06 pm

I know it's an old thread - but am including this for posterity.

Harbin's "Lost Book" has been published by Davenports. It's called "Magic Marches On" and is included in "Davenport Story Series - Vol 2."

You can find it here: http://www.davenportsmagic.co.uk/acatal ... -1944.html

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Discodan » August 7th, 2014, 11:02 am

I have number 354 of this book, which was left by my father when he passed away, he was a member of the magic circle uk...

Still struggling what to do with it. :(

Regards


Danny

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 8th, 2014, 4:39 pm

If you decide to sell, PM me with a price. As many on the forum know, it will be in a good home..I enjoy collecting and my 15 year old niece is very into magic...

She will get all the illusions and books when I become a broken wand.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Discodan » August 11th, 2014, 7:08 am

I have placed this item on ebay as I need to raise funds for my mum and little sisters memorium .. basically it will be from my dad to my mum and sister on the family grave

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby erdnasephile » August 11th, 2014, 11:25 am


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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 11th, 2014, 3:39 pm

Looks like Dan went to ebay... sigh.. oh well.

Im in..

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 11th, 2014, 3:48 pm

only 200 left out of 500? Where did the other 300 go?

Only 200 known copies?

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby MManchester » August 11th, 2014, 4:08 pm

Mike Caveney published The Genius of Robert Harbin by Eric Lewis that includes "66 of Harbin's most astonishing tricks including a number of previously unpublished illusions."

Is anyone familiar with both books and can describe the similarities/differences? How many effects are in the Harbin book? The price difference is considerable, but if MC published it it's going to be a quality book.

Is this an example of people fixating over a book because it is very rare and has achieved mythic status when the same material is available elsewhere?
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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 11th, 2014, 4:12 pm

Nope, different effects in each book.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 12th, 2014, 5:04 pm

I'm out.. Over $2000 now :(

Someday ...

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Tom Moore » August 12th, 2014, 5:51 pm

Is this an example of people fixating over a book because it is very rare and has achieved mythic status when the same material is available elsewhere?


I've read Magic of Robert Harbin - the material isn't (legitimately) published elsewhere but you are also correct in that the value of this book is built entirely on it's mythical status rather than the material inside. Robert was a genuine (in every sense of the word)genius and I love his work to bits but this book is far from being the finest thing he wrote and if you look in to the background of why/how it was released you'll see it was very much a protest publication on his part rather than the pinnacle of his life's work.

There's MUCH better Harbin stuff in the pamphlets and mini books he published through davenports or his early submissions to magazines than in the mythical "Magic of" book - and for the price of one page of the book you can get 20-30 of his good, commercial effects and routines through these other publications; all of which you'll learn from.
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Brad Henderson » August 12th, 2014, 6:10 pm

I believe everything was reprinted in the two volume magico release - except the stuff in the green book.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby MManchester » August 12th, 2014, 8:59 pm

Great info from Tom and Brad. I did a search and the title of this two volume set is Harbin X 2 available from many online sellers typically for only $120, a fraction of what the Harbin-authored book is going for on eBay. Funinc.com has this description:

Volume 1 is a brand-new compilation, Early Harbin, edited and introduced by William Broecker. In this volume, the author has gathered Harbin's many magazine contributions and 7 published books and manuscripts from 1929 to 1942, plus additional items never before in print.

Volume 2 is a reprint of the large 1979 collection, Harbincadabra, which offers his many contributions to Abracadabra magazine from 1947 to 1965. Over 600 pages of Harbin magic, fully indexed.


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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Marco Pusterla » August 13th, 2014, 3:16 am

I completely agree with Tom about the material in the green book and the reasons for its publication: the story has been said more than once and, in a nutshell, had to do with Robert Harbin being "annoyed" at some American magician who had copied his Zig-Zag illusion, which Harbin was also building for other performers (and selling) at the time.

Also, the "Magic of Robert Harbin" book was pirated and, unless somebody has access to the volume for sale (and knows where to look), there is no way of knowing if the book being offered is an original or the unauthorized copy.

The Harbin X 2 books contain more practical material, but almost no illusions (and the few illusions explained are quite dated). Harbin was very inventive, very original, and his solutions are brilliant: his principles have been used (and abused) since their publication and also a cursory browse on his books will be a source of surprise and admiration. The real work is in adapting the principle of tricks from the 1930s to the 21st century.
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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby erdnasephile » August 13th, 2014, 5:48 am

With regards to the turn this thread has taken, this old thread may be of interest (especially Mr. Chayce's comments near the end):

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=37609&p=275099&hilit=harbin#p275099

Also, that thread reminded me of Mike Caveney's excellent talk on the counterfeit Harbin book at EMC.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 13th, 2014, 8:26 am

I know where to look. The castle library has a legit copy with the paste in.

But to me, it's about ETHICS! Do I have access to the book via the castle library ? Yes.

But to me, it's about both the owning of the book and the investment value of the book.

And if I do build and perform anything in the book, I would feel better inside owning the real deal.

Some, who don't have a ethic in the body, won't understand..

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 13th, 2014, 9:39 am

Btw, the Al Mann copy normally goes for more than the real one.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 18th, 2014, 1:04 pm

Well, as expected, I got a second chance offer for the book, but I didn't take the bait..

I feel like they bid it up with a shill bidder with ZERO feedback then when I rebid, they tried to me to take the bait of another shill bid.

Of course the high bidder dropped out and I got the second chance offer.

Once again, non ethical people tried to take money from my wallet.

They didn't get it and I reported the auction as a shill auction. Sorry, that copy will never come to my house....

Well, maybe for $75... But screw $2000.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Discodan » August 19th, 2014, 9:06 am

Rick Ruhl wrote:Well, as expected, I got a second chance offer for the book, but I didn't take the bait..

I feel like they bid it up with a shill bidder with ZERO feedback then when I rebid, they tried to me to take the bait of another shill bid.

Of course the high bidder dropped out and I got the second chance offer.

Once again, non ethical people tried to take money from my wallet.

They didn't get it and I reported the auction as a shill auction. Sorry, that copy will never come to my house....

Well, maybe for $75... But screw $2000.


Sorry bud the high bidder had more than 1000 feedback I cancelled that zero bidder as soon as I found out, I am absolutely furious and I have reported the high bidder and the Zero bidder to ebay. I tip my hat to your stance on 'none ethical people', however you will find I am one of the most sincere people you would ever have the pleasure of dealing with.

Again I can only apologize, we had so many messages (myself and Angela) and could not keep track of everything... I would have loved to see this item go to someone who would appreciate it more than I :)
Last edited by Discodan on August 19th, 2014, 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Bill Mullins » August 19th, 2014, 9:39 am

Rick Ruhl wrote: I feel like they bid it up with a shill bidder with ZERO feedback then when I rebid, they tried to me to take the bait of another shill bid.


Rick -- were you the bidder with 776 feedback? If the high bidder dropped out, and you discount the bidder with zero feedback as shill, then you should have been offered the book at the next bid increment over the next lower legit bid, or one bid over GBP 580.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 19th, 2014, 10:25 am

It was the zero feedback bidder that bit up and dan didn't cancel those bids... I did get the second chance offer but did not take it due to those bids not being canceled..

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Leonard Hevia » August 19th, 2014, 11:37 am

It might be hard to distinguish the Al Mann copy from the original just by looking at the cover photos the seller puts up. I would ask the seller specific questions that would clarify that matter.

I was also shilled on eBay few years ago. It was a book or a prop, I don't remember anymore. The only other bidder placed just one bid that was a dollar below my highest bid. It was too suspicious to be a coincidence. I arrived at the conclusion that the seller is aware of the highest bid and can plant a shill to bid right up to it by one dollar.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Nooner » August 19th, 2014, 11:41 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:It might be hard to distinguish the Al Mann copy from the original just by looking at the cover photos the seller puts up. I would ask the seller specific questions that would clarify that matter.

I was also shilled on eBay few years ago. It was a book or a prop, I don't remember anymore. The only other bidder placed just one bid that was a dollar below my highest bid. It was too suspicious to be a coincidence. I arrived at the conclusion that the seller is aware of the highest bid and can plant a shill to bid right up to it by one dollar.



eBay sellers cannot see the upper limit of a user's bid. They can only see what someone else has bid you up to.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby erdnasephile » August 19th, 2014, 11:44 am

If anyone wants a copy of this book from a reliable seller, I'd suggest contacting Gabe Fajuri. He had a nice copy on display at IBM/SAM.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 23rd, 2014, 2:25 pm

Looks like they ended the second auction early, because of an 'error in the listing'.

Yeah right...

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Q. Kumber » August 30th, 2014, 3:42 am

The book just sold on eBay for £641.55, about US$1065.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Leonard Hevia » August 31st, 2014, 8:56 pm

Nooner wrote:
Leonard Hevia wrote:It might be hard to distinguish the Al Mann copy from the original just by looking at the cover photos the seller puts up. I would ask the seller specific questions that would clarify that matter.

I was also shilled on eBay few years ago. It was a book or a prop, I don't remember anymore. The only other bidder placed just one bid that was a dollar below my highest bid. It was too suspicious to be a coincidence. I arrived at the conclusion that the seller is aware of the highest bid and can plant a shill to bid right up to it by one dollar.



eBay sellers cannot see the upper limit of a user's bid. They can only see what someone else has bid you up to.


Thanks Nooner! I wasn't sure about that.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 31st, 2014, 9:46 pm

Quentin, isn't that about half the price it usually goes for?
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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Q. Kumber » September 1st, 2014, 3:23 am

I would have thought that the book is worth from £800 to £1200.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Rick Ruhl » September 1st, 2014, 7:55 am

I think it was the way they handled the auction... 3 of them.. First one had a zero feedback bidder , second one got canceled and the third one sold...

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby MManchester » September 1st, 2014, 9:10 am

I was watching the auction because it had been relisted. At that price I would have been tempted to try, except Rick is exactly right. The problems with the auction probably kept more people away. Too bad.
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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby WayneNZ » June 20th, 2015, 11:41 am

Yet this Kiwi was very very pleased with the 641.55 price.
There is one listed now on the magicweek site , asking for offers .
Would be interesting if there is a list of owners somewhere .Always wonder how many of the 500 are still about.

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Joe Mckay » April 14th, 2018, 10:19 am

[sorry for digging up an old thread]

There is an interesting talk here by Mike Caveney discussing the controversy surrounding the origins of the Zig-Zag girl by Robert Harbin.

http://essentialmagicconference.com/videos/111

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Re: The Fate of The Magic of Robert Harbin

Postby Leonard Hevia » April 14th, 2018, 10:41 am

Caveney published an article in Magic years ago about that Zig Zag controversy. A magician here in the U.S. built a version sometime around the early 1970s? and began to perform it without Harbin's permission. Caveney also published an article in Magicol about that pirated copy of the Harbin book and how to tell them apart.


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