ERDNASE

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Pete McCabe
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Pete McCabe » October 12th, 2018, 6:11 pm

As an interested bystander to the Erdnase question, the view is getting more interesting all the time. I must say, the idea that Marshall Smith could have had some reason to keep Erdnase's identity secret means a jolly huge amount of reconsidering of evidence.

Tom Gilbert
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Gilbert » October 12th, 2018, 9:19 pm

Pete, I was wondering the same. Something to ponder.

Roger M.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » October 12th, 2018, 10:10 pm

I'm not sure the idea has morphed into anything beyond one mans subjective take on the evidence.
Certainly no confirmed evidence related to M.D. Smith withholding information has been forthcoming.

Despite my efforts to note some of the "clues" that Scott pointed out, I simply can't see them at this point in time.

To be honest, I wish I could see some of the clues Scott posted in his picture set ... but IMO we're exactly where we've been for a long while now, with a short list of possible candidates, and with absolutely zero incontrovertible evidence to support any of them.

Bill Mullins
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » October 13th, 2018, 2:48 am

Pete McCabe wrote: I must say, the idea that Marshall Smith could have had some reason to keep Erdnase's identity secret means a jolly huge amount of reconsidering of evidence.

But it's just an idea. If there were any evidence to support it, then it could be upgraded to a theory.
If Smith was "in on it," what was his motivation? Why hold on to the secret 45 years later?
He was interviewed and queried extensively, over a period of several years, by Gardner, who never picked up any indication that Smith was anything other than an artist who did a job, got paid, and promptly forgot about it.
At the 1947 SAM convention, Vernon and Rosini and others all pushed Smith for details, and none of them ever indicated that Smith's story seemed hinky.
To be sure, there are a dearth of facts with regards to the production of the book and who wrote it. But all the facts we have support the idea that Smith was simply an artist for hire, and none of the facts we have suggest anything other than that. If Occam's Razor is of any use at all, it would surely suggest the same.

Roger M. wrote:, and with absolutely zero incontrovertible evidence to support any of them.


Not much controvertible evidence, either.

Jason England
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jason England » October 15th, 2018, 12:44 am

I think it's fairly obvious that who we think of as "M.D. Smith" was actually Erdnase. He hired an illustrator, got the drawings he needed and then killed him and stole his identity. Teaching himself to paint and becoming a well-known regional artist himself was a nice touch.

Jason

PS: If you ranked all of the Erdnasian authorship theories in this thread this one is about the 5th craziest.

Jack Shalom
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jack Shalom » October 15th, 2018, 1:16 am

Chris W. maintained that Erdnase was Edward Gallaway, who at one time was a newspaperman.

He put forth the theory that Erdnase ="earth nose," a German nickname.

Better, SW ERDNASE = READS NEWS

Leonard Hevia
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » October 15th, 2018, 1:31 am

Jack Shalom wrote:Chris W. maintained that Erdnase was Edward Gallaway, who at one time was a newspaperman.

He put forth the theory that Erdnase ="earth nose," a German nickname.


I believe it was Tom Sawyer who first made the Erdnase/earth nose connection. Wasshuber then twisted that to the German nickname idea.

Jack Shalom
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jack Shalom » October 15th, 2018, 9:49 am

True. My post was in keeping with the spirit of Mr. England's previous one; my theory is probably only the sixth craziest.

rrath1
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby rrath1 » October 16th, 2018, 7:36 pm

FYI Jason England
https://www.ebay.com/itm/312223045807
$465.00 dollars for EATCT Fireside edition SOLD
I believe your valuations of the early books is off abit. LOL
Magicians have no idea of value.

Brad Henderson
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » October 16th, 2018, 9:37 pm

rrath1 wrote:FYI Jason England
https://www.ebay.com/itm/312223045807
$465.00 dollars for EATCT Fireside edition SOLD
I believe your valuations of the early books is off abit. LOL
Magicians have no idea of value.


no - the person who paid that much doesn’t.

rrath1
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby rrath1 » October 16th, 2018, 10:00 pm

Brad Henderson I disagree, you missed the point of my whole post (earlier in the thread) on the pricing of EATCT. The buyer doesn't have to know anything except he/she wants it. Market value is a concept distinct from market price, which is “the price at which one can transact”, while market value is “the true underlying value” according to theoretical standards. The concept is most commonly invoked in inefficient markets or disequilibrium situations where prevailing market prices are not reflective of true underlying market value. For market price to equal market value, the market must be informationally efficient and rational expectations must prevail. Everything about EATCT is anything but rational or informationally efficient. Therefore, market value isn't based on market price which most people base valuation on. What did the last one sell for at auction? Availability is the most important factor, with condition second and price, doesn't matter. Market value is not a defined number. It's open to interpretation. And in your case your interpretation is different then the global market.
terminé

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jkeyes1000
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby jkeyes1000 » October 17th, 2018, 7:55 am

Brad Henderson wrote:
rrath1 wrote:FYI Jason England
https://www.ebay.com/itm/312223045807
$465.00 dollars for EATCT Fireside edition SOLD
I believe your valuations of the early books is off abit. LOL
Magicians have no idea of value.


no - the person who paid that much doesn’t.


Brad--If you wish to bring the price of this book down to a reasonable level, all you need do is purchase one at the inflated price and "flip it" for half of what you paid. Then everyone will demand it for that figure. But unfortunately, until someone does that, it's only the high bidders that determine its value. Those that sniff at it and don't buy it simply don't have any say in the matter. You can't reduce the price of a book like this unless nobody is willing to shell out that kind of money. But of course, somebody always is, due to the hype that forums like this generate. The more you folks venerate it, the more some ill-informed rich chap is going to be glad to pay.

Roger M.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » October 17th, 2018, 9:57 am

The amount something sells for on eBay contributes nothing to the determination of value or potential sales price.

The purchaser could very easily be the seller using their sock puppet account, indeed many sellers attempt to boost the perceived value of an eBay item by doing just this.

Jason bases his valuations on vast personal experience (related to his EATCT collection), something far more relevant and authoritative than the ramblings of internet oddballs and troublemakers.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 17th, 2018, 10:19 am

Bill Mullins wrote:...
If Smith was "in on it," what was his motivation? Why hold on to the secret 45 years later? He was interviewed and queried extensively, over a period of several years, by Gardner, who ...

... was a known prankster.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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jkeyes1000
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby jkeyes1000 » October 17th, 2018, 10:30 am

Roger M. wrote:The amount something sells for on eBay contributes nothing to the determination of value or potential sales price.

The purchaser could very easily be the seller using their sock puppet account, indeed many sellers attempt to boost the perceived value of an eBay item by doing just this.

Jason bases his valuations on vast personal experience (related to his EATCT collection), something far more relevant and authoritative than the ramblings of internet oddballs and troublemakers.


Roger--If the above was meant for me, let me say that I have more than a little experience at selling collectible books (on eBay and elsewhere). I have tried to evaluate items according to scarcity, demand and condition, but have found that most buyers care only for that quality that appeals to them. It could be the desirability (the "cool" factor), or the rarity, or the exceptional physical state. Sometimes, merely the market value itself, but very few take all these qualities into consideration. Thus, we have many items undervalued because buyers simply "want that" but are unwilling to appreciate its special qualities, and some that are overvalued due to high auction prices, popular trends, etc.

Yes, there is a sensible value for a given book, but in the real world, it's all about what you can get for it. All the rationale in the world, all the experience, isn't going to help you persuade the customer to buy it for what you think it's worth. The low-enders will try to get it for less, and the high-enders won't hesitate to give you more.

John Bodine
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby John Bodine » October 17th, 2018, 12:35 pm

As someone who has purchased more than my fair share of Erdnase, I don't think that the sale of 1 book at a higher than average price is a good indication that someone's valuations are off.

For example, last year a First edition/First printing sold on eBay for a price significantly under the average of the last many that had come up for sale. Does this mean that the valuations are suddenly way off? I don't believe so.

I have paid more than what was reasonable for a copy simply because it was a variant I didn't have in my collection and I was willing to pay a premium, had I not been willing to pay the premium, it may have sat on the shelf for months or years.

I should add that in the Erdnase market, scarcity does not immediately drive the price up. For example, 1905 hardbound (pictorial or embossed) are far more rare than a first edition/first printing/first binding, yet the price they realize at auction or in private sale is far below the $5000-10,000 of the latter.

I will also add that I believe in a market with such limited quantity, it is relatively easy to manipulate the price and therefore the perceived value. It could be argued that I contributed to the increase in realized prices of first editions over the last 10 years.

Jason and I have a pretty solid understanding of the going price of various variants, an outlier or two doesn't change that much imo.

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jkeyes1000
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby jkeyes1000 » October 17th, 2018, 1:57 pm

This subject could get more complex than anyone really wants, but here's my thinking.
The concept of "demand" is not as clearly defined as that of "supply" or "condition".

For there are many degrees or levels of intensity when it comes to "collectibility". We have all wanted an item so badly we could taste it, but could not afford the price. So ultimately, it's not how much an item is desired, so much as WHO CAN PUT UP THE CASH.

Thus, if you're lucky, you won't have anyone richer than you bidding on it. But if there is someone with big bucks, he or she will grab it whether they really care or not.

In other words--there are multiple markets. There are those that cater to bargain hunters, and those that effectively EXCLUDE low bidders. If an item is auctioned at a starting price that is beyond the range of The Average Joe, then only the wealthy are going to determine its market value.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 17th, 2018, 6:28 pm

rrath1 wrote:...For market price to equal market value, the market must be informationally efficient and rational expectations must prevail. Everything about EATCT is anything but rational or informationally efficient. ...
... but so entertaining. :)

Do second editions use the same plates and page layouts?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Brad Henderson
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » October 18th, 2018, 8:21 am

i recall a magic auction a few years ago when posters were selling for three and four times their established value. They sold for exorbitant prices that day.

but what of the next day, or the day after?

just as a low sale of a single item doesn’t suggest the item is worth less, a single sale at a high price doesn’t suggest it’s worth more.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 18th, 2018, 6:11 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:...just as a low sale of a single item doesn’t suggest the item is worth less, a single sale at a high price doesn’t suggest it’s worth more.
That reads like you're conflating external with internal - dollar price realized in a transaction with sentimental value that's meaningful for others. Also perhaps treating value as having a quantifiable nature which stays constant over enough time and for enough people for there to be a meaningful market model. ... or "rules of the game". Which is fine if one can impose such rules in ones favor.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Jason England
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jason England » October 20th, 2018, 11:11 pm

rrath1,

I never said you wouldn't be able to find a sucker willing to pay. My claim was only that those things regularly sell for far, far less than what you were asking (and on the same platform: eBay). If your buyer ever wises up, he may resent you preying upon his lack of knowledge. Perhaps you're okay with that.

I believe I also said that I hope you get your price, as a rising tide raises all ships. And I have about a half-dozen of the copy you just sold, sitting on a shelf in the next room.

Shall we start the bidding at $400 each fellas?

Jason

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 21st, 2018, 11:28 am

I have cleaned up the mess here.

I do not want to see any further posts in this thread by Mr. Keyes or Mr. Henderson. Please.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Bill Mullins
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » November 8th, 2018, 1:06 am

Earlier in the thread I've listed magicians who used anagrams of their names as pseudonyms. I've found another:

The science fiction writer Reginald Bretnor wrote as Grendel Briarton, Bertrand Gironel, and E. Bertrand Loring.

Tom Sawyer
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » November 24th, 2018, 5:14 am

(P.S. The main purpose of this post is to show an excerpt from an email I received from David Levy. I see now that I have written a rather long introduction, so feel free to skip the intro and jump to the quotation.)

A lot has been written pro and con on the candidacy of R.F. Foster. Some pretty good arguments have been made on both sides of the issue. To my mind, nothing truly conclusive has been presented, but enough has been presented on the negative side to make his candidacy somewhat dubious, especially in light of the existence of other candidates.

Nonetheless, he remains one of the more important candidates, especially for those interested in the authorship question primarily as an exercise in analysis. To me, Foster has long been one of the most fascinating candidates, even though he probably wasn’t Erdnase.

I think all the main arguments (for and against) up to this time can be found in the posts on this Erdnase thread. I haven’t looked at Hurt McDermott’s book lately, but as I recall, he had an extended discussion of Foster. And Dick Hatch has presented quite a bit on this thread, along with one of the most concrete negative-arguments (dealing with the differences between Erdnase and Foster in their attitudes toward Faro).

One of my friends in the card-game world is David Levy, who for years has been involved in what is unquestionably deeper research than anyone else in history regarding Edmond Hoyle and his works (and related subjects). David has been mentioned a few times earlier on this thread. Here are relevant external links some of you may wish to check out:

David's Edmond Hoyle blog

Bibliographical information on Hoyle

BooksOnGaming (David's Twitter account)
 
Since Foster is one of Hoyle’s main successors, David has done a noticeable amount of work on Foster, and some of that work pertains to Erdnase.

Below is a self-explanatory extract from a recent email I received from David, which further illuminates the situation regarding R.F. Foster. I asked David’s permission to quote this on this thread, and of course he said that would be fine for me to do so.

Some of you will be aware that the “Jessel” referred to by David is Frederic Jessel, the compiler of the 1905 A Bibliography of Works in English on Playing Cards and Gaming, which is still one of the best bibliographies dealing with its topic, if not the best. It is also of interest to magic-book collectors because of its many descriptions of early, rare magic books. As some of you know, I have a blog on card-game booklets published by Charles Goodall & Son, and I have mentioned Jessel or his bibliography in about 60 of the posts on that blog, and that gives some idea of his pivotal importance. (The Bodleian Library is a library of University of Oxford and is now in possession of the Jessel collection.)

Here goes the quotation from David Levy:

Did I tell you about the letters from authors to Jessel pasted into a number of his books? There are a lot, for example, from RF Foster that demonstrated a long-time friendship.
 
Since I returned home, I noticed that Jessel had two early copies of Erdnase and I asked a friend at the Bodleian to take a look in those books to see if there might be letters or other inscriptions identifying the author. This was a low-likelihood request as Jessel would likely have identified Erdnase in his bibliography had he known. My friend confirmed there are no letters or inscriptions that might help. Oh well!
 
On the other hand, the Foster correspondence suggests that Foster is not Erdnase. Foster presented each new work to Jessel with a letter. None mentioned Erdnase. In particular, Foster listed all of his published works in a letter of November 16, 1903 as Jessel was then compiling his bibliography. I would think Foster would have included the Erdnase book had he written it.

—Tom Sawyer
At least for the time being, I have taken down my S.W. Erdnase blog.

Richard Stokes
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Stokes » November 30th, 2018, 7:27 pm

A few months ago I noted that John Olsson, the Forensic Linguist (hired by Chris Wasshuber) has now written a sequel to Wordcrime.
The final chapter of More Wordcrime examines the possible identity of Erdnase.

Roger M.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » November 30th, 2018, 8:46 pm

Apparently, not everybody is a fan:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/ ... -poor.html

Regardless, for a guy whose name has been noted repeatedly in this thread, it would seem it's about time for Mr. Olsson himself to post here with his thoughts on Erdnase, rather than the "interpretive" posts of an (apparently pouting) third party claiming to know what the mysterious Mr. Olsson thinks about mysterious Mr. Erdnase.

Considering most (if not all) of the comparative texts were simply handed to Mr. Olsson to comment on, it's not at all like Olsson found Erdnase out of the blue ... indeed I would posit that Mr. Olsson wouldn't know Mr. Erdnase if Mr. Erdnase jumped up and bit Mr. Olsson on the nose :)

Richard Stokes
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Stokes » December 1st, 2018, 2:45 pm

The reviewer Craig Brown is one of my favourite comedy writers.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/425 ... antry.html

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/per ... world.html

I suspect Craig lost interest and didn't read the final chapter which discusses Erdnase.

Richard Hatch
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » December 4th, 2018, 4:18 pm

I got John Olsson's More Wordcrime book just now, with its final chapter on Erdnase (thanks for the reference to it, Richard Stokes!). At a glance, it appears to cover the same ground as in Wasshuber's original release: Olsson still says that there are "362,880 permutations of the letters that form the name 'S. W. Erdnase'", which would be true if all nine letters were different, but since the E and S are repeated, that reduces the number by 4, to 90,720. A rather surprising error for a member of the "Royal Statistical Society". And his analysis of Hilliar's description of the Charlier Pass is compromised, because Hilliar's description in Modern Magician's Handbook (1902) is taken from Hoffmann's More Magic (1890), so he is really comparing Erdnase to Hoffmann, not Erdnase to Hilliar. I pointed both these out to Chris several years ago and he made corrections to his book in light of them. As in the original, Olsson's conclusion is simply that Gallaway is the most likely of the candidates he compared, not that Gallaway is Erdnase. He rules out Hilliar (really Hoffmann), Roterberg and Wilson, but not Sanders (lack of material to compare).


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