Hofzinser in Villesville

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Bill McFadden
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Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Bill McFadden » December 18th, 2013, 1:45 pm

Non Plus Ultra arrived on Monday in pristine condition; no bumps on any of the slipcase corners.

THRILL: That these beautifully composed, important books are finally here. What's most important, of course, is content. And what content in both volumes!

DISAPPOINTMENT: That the books were printed and bound in China. If you're expecting the print, paper and illustration quality of the Fechner Robert-Houdin volumes, get ready for a (slight) let-down.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 18th, 2013, 2:06 pm

That's not really a fair comparison, Bill. Fechner was an incredibly wealthy man who produced the Robert-Houdin volumes and was happy to lose a lot of money doing so.

The Hofzinser books are not being published by people who don't care about losing a huge amount of money, so there are limitations as to what they can do.

The quality of the books is certainly equal to any of the books I've published in the United States. Where they were published is irrelevant.
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Steve Bryant
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Steve Bryant » December 20th, 2013, 9:57 am

Just got my first look at the books, here in Indiana. Gorgeous! Alas, they now go back under the tree until Christmas. (For those who follow my web site, please be patient--the next installment will be after Christmas.)

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Conjuring Arts
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Conjuring Arts » December 20th, 2013, 2:07 pm

Bill McFadden wrote:Non Plus Ultra
DISAPPOINTMENT: That the books were printed and bound in China. If you're expecting the print, paper and illustration quality of the Fechner Robert-Houdin volumes, get ready for a (slight) let-down.


Dear Bill,
We believe that we must comment on your post about our Hofzinser books not being of high quality because they were printed and bound in China.
First, the Chinese are excellent printers and binders. You may not know that our journal Gibeciere, which does not garner complaints very often, has been printed in China for many years.
Also, we carefully and precisely matched the quality in both paper stock and binding of the German edition of these books which were produced by Volker Huber, a prominent German art dealer and art book publisher. If you care to compare Volker's edition with ours you will see they are very nearly identical.
We purposefully chose the non-coated and non-white paper stock used. This is what we feel is the proper paper for such a book (as opposed to a coated white paper more properly used for color image reproduction). This was a difficult process and we are very pleased with the final result.
You can imagine that it's painful for us to read a post here warning others to expect to be disappointed with the quality of our Hofzinser set. We don't believe that is fair.
We were involved with helping Christian Fechner, who was a close friend, with his series on Robert-Houdin and can't praise these books highly enough. Having said that the Hofzinser set from Hermetic Press and Conjuring Arts is not a shoddy Chinese production but it's actually a world class set of volumes and it's our opinion at Conjuring Arts that the Hofzinser set is at least the equal to Fechner's production and perhaps superior.

Conjuring Arts
Want to reach us or have questions? Send us a PM or email us at: questions@conjuringarts.org
Official Account of the Conjuring Arts Research Center

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Q. Kumber » December 20th, 2013, 2:21 pm

My set arrived today and I am very pleased and surprised.

Surprised because I imagined from the photo that they would be similar in size to the Wonder set, instead they are more like encyclopaedias.

I am very much looking forward to studying them. A very big thank you to everyone involved.

PickaCard
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby PickaCard » December 20th, 2013, 2:31 pm

I received my set yesterday.

I can hardly imagine what better paper quality would be like. It is quite an absurd complaint.

These are a work of art, however it will not stop me from making pencil notes in the margins. All of my magic books are read and treated like text books. I look forward to discovering them.

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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Brad Henderson » December 20th, 2013, 6:25 pm

Bill is merely making an observation about the type of paper used; not unreasonable as buyers received a note explaining that this paper was upgraded from the original ordered by the publishers. No one is questioning the content of the books, or are any less grateful to those who worked so hard to bring it to us. But, Bill is correct; compared to other projects of similar size and scope bibliographically, the paper has a roughness that they do not. The Hofsinzer books are as important and as amazing as any of those, and as such invite comparison. It is not surprising that someone made comment of one of the few noticeable differences. The fact that it is "the paper" is in many ways a testament to the greatness of the product.

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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Duane Gillam » December 20th, 2013, 8:43 pm

Not everywhere in Indiana, YET

Terry
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Terry » December 21st, 2013, 3:50 pm

Arrived in Frankfort earlier in week. Have enjoyed Vol 1 so far.

Re paper - it has been easy to read in the various lighting situations I've been in. As a reader with bifocals, I really appreciate it!

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Q. Kumber » December 21st, 2013, 4:45 pm

Some DVDs have hidden Easter Eggs and sometimes the publishers don't let you know they are there.

Imagine my surprise to discover one in the second Hofzinser volume. If you turn it back up and upside down and flick through the now bottom pages you will see a flick book type of moving picture of Hofzinser performing The Trick That Cannot Be Explained.

My own research has revealed how this came about because the true story is not in the book.

These images were taken by Georges Méliès who as you know took over the Theatre Robert Houdin in Paris and was an early pioneer of moving pictures.

How it was discovered is interesting. Years after it was taken Houdini, while doing his research on Robert Houdin bought an old trunk from the theatre that had been unopened for years. Houdini realised they were photos of Hofzinser but couldn't figure out what he was doing. When Vernon met Houdini and fooled him with his card trick, Houdini told Vernon about the pictures and promised to show them to Vernon if he would reveal the secret to his trick.

On seeing the images, Vernon immediately realised what they were and what the trick was but pretended to Houdini that he hadn't a clue. Houdini died a few years later and Vernon simply claimed the trick was his, believing that the images were lost.

Fast forward a decade or so and Ed Marlo, checking a leaky water tank in an attic came across the trunk and realised from where Vernon had gotten the trick that had made his name. Marlo contacted Vernon and threatened to release the truth unless Vernon passed on loads of tricks and moves to Marlo who could publish them and claim them as his own.

Fortunately Magic Christian, posing as a double-glazing salesman was able to gain entry to Marlo's old home and find these lost images. This is an extraordinary piece of magical history and research that rivals the search for the identity of Erdnase. I was going to post the information on the First of April next year but figured someone might beat me to it. Happy Holidays!

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 21st, 2013, 5:15 pm

Wow: that was the very definition of blarney.
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Marco Pusterla
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Marco Pusterla » December 23rd, 2013, 10:34 am

The set arrived in England today but - d*mn! - I can't look at it! As it is a Christmas present from the missus, she wrapped it up and put it under the tree... Ok, only 2 sleeps to Christmas... but still!!! :D
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Matthew Field
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Matthew Field » December 23rd, 2013, 12:14 pm

Mine has hopefully arrived at The Magic Circle in London (I'm in Hastings), but train service is disrupted by storms this evening so travel is out of the question. I'll have to wait until the new year to pick up the set, dammit.

Matt Field

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 23rd, 2013, 1:39 pm

"The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is warm and delightful ..."
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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 23rd, 2013, 4:48 pm

My copy of Non Plus Ultra arrived today, a set of books that I have literally been waiting 41 years to read.

Why 41 years? Because that's how long ago I purchased the Fulves reprint of the Sharpe publication, Hofzinser's Card Conjuring, at Tannen's when I was a kid, and read the tricks and felt greatly frustrated by so many things I couldn't make neads or tails of.

And now comes one of the most important books in the history of our field, filled with incredible card magic by the father of modern card magic.

Physically, it's a top-notch job from first to last. As a long-time publisher of magic books, I rarely get jealous when a book gets published by someone else, but this set of books make me jealous as hell. And it's not because of the money, it's because of the contribution to the art.

So, thanks to Santa for sending this my way. Going to be reading late tonight. Considering how limited the edition is, buy it now before you lose your chance. The Genii has spoken!
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Nooner » December 23rd, 2013, 7:45 pm

Very thoughtful post Richard. These books really are gorgeous.

Bill McFadden
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Re: Hofzinser in Villesville

Postby Bill McFadden » December 26th, 2013, 5:37 pm

Greetings all,
I sincerely hope that your holidays are all that you want them to be, and more. I am very grateful for the replies to this thread. My remarks warrant clarification, and I finally have a chance to do so.

RK, as usual, you're correct: I drew an unfair comparison. Please know that I completely overlooked your history with the individual who produced the books I mentioned; there was absolutely no attempt at provocation.

My position on where these magnificent books were produced is socioeconomic in nature, and not appropriate for discussion on this forum. Nevertheless, you're reading the perspective of an individual who was raised in an era where the words, "Made in Japan" signified inferiority. Today, for better or worse, the words, "Made in China" often have the same connotation.

Mr. Kalush, your reassurance of the high standards demanded for publishing Non Plus Ultra is greatly appreciated. Again, my point of view stems from the memory that my late father and two of his older brothers earned their livings in the offset lithography and printing trades. Back then, off-shoring was not possible.

So I conducted my own minuscule survey, using David Ben's Zarrow and RK's The Berglas Effects for better comparison. Had the three little words not appeared in the Hofzinser volumes, I wouldn't have been any the wiser. And the inlays on the slipcase and book covers are, in Duke Ellington's words, "beyond category."

In Lord Buckley's words, "There you jolly well are."


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