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[1800-1899]

The magic textbook that was primarily written for the adult magician started in the US with August Roterberg in the late 19th century. Before that magic books were either written primarily for a juvenile audience or were of expository nature where the intent was mainly to reveal rather than to teach.

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    Conjuring Contretemps by Anonymous    The 52 Wonders: Cards Manipulated by Science by C. H. Wilson    Mahatma Volume 3 by George H. Little    Mahatma Volume 2 by George H. Little    Mahatma Volume 1 by George H. Little    The Secrets of Conjuring by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin    Hellerism by Harry Hermon    New Era Card Tricks by August Roterberg    Latter Day Tricks by August Roterberg    The Modern Wizard by August Roterberg    More Magic by Professor Hoffmann    Modern Magic by Professor Hoffmann    Mahatma by George H. Little    Sleight of Hand by Edwin Sachs

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Conjuring Contretemps

Anonymous

Conjuring Contretemps by AnonymousThis is a fun and informative article by an anonymous amateur magician detailing various mishaps of magic performances. Along the way we learn the modus operandi of all kinds of illusions, from Buatier de Kolta's vanishing cage all the way to the bullet catch.

This article was originally published in Chamber's Journal of December 16th, 1882.

1st edition 1882, 5 pages; digital edition 8 pages.

2016 / 7 / 27
$2.00

£1.58
€1.74
Ca$2.58
Au$2.58
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The 52 Wonders: Cards Manipulated by Science

C. H. Wilson

The 52 Wonders: Cards Manipulated by Science by C. H. WilsonThis is quite an interesting relatively early book on card moves, tricks and cons. It was published in 1877. Some believe that the author C. H. Wilson could be the elusive Erdnase, the author of The Expert at the Card Table, because the S.W.E. Shift is explained in The 52 Wonders.

Chapters are:

  • Chapter I: The Double and Single Passes
    • The Long Pass
    • The Short Pass
    • The Magic Pass
    • The Rolling Pass
    • The Grand Pass
    • The Invisible Pass
    • The Vizard Pass and Change
    • The Circle Pass
    • The Dovetail Pass
    • The Single Short Pass
  • Chapter II: Miscellaneous Passes
    • The Elbow Pass
    • The Side Pass
    • The Monte Pass
    • The Table Pass ...
2015 / 1 / 10
$5.00

£3.95
€4.35
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Mahatma Volume 3

George H. Little

Mahatma Volume 3 by George H. LittleOn the covers are:
  • F. Robert Lanskail
  • John Hamley
  • John Henricks
  • Hal Merton
  • C. Milton Chase
  • John Whalen
  • Zanzic
  • Walter G. Peterkin
  • Ellis Stanyon
  • The White Yogi
  • J. Witt Dougherty
126 pages

Note: Page numbers refer to those in the PDF files when the collection was assembled. Originally each issue began with page 1.

  1. Mahatma - Volume III, Number I - July 1899 - 12 pages
  2. F. Robert Lanskail - photo & cover story
  3. New Card Tricks - Elliott
    • New Card Reading
    • Mystic Flight of Card
  4. The Modern William Tell - Chas. L. Burlingame - continued
  5. Juggling Tricks - Wm. E. Robinson ...
2009 / 1 / 30
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Mahatma Volume 2

George H. Little

Mahatma Volume 2 by George H. LittleOn the covers you will find:
  • Sargent
  • Soto Sunetario
  • Stevenson
  • Robert Ankele
  • Leon Herrmann
  • J. Burlingame of Chicago
  • Adrian Plate
  • Albert E. Smith - the popular Lyceum prestidigitateur
  • Prof. Samri S. Baldwin
  • Francis J. Werner
  • T. Nelson Downs
  • Marshall the Mystic 136 pages
    1. Mahatma - Volume II, Number I - July 1898 - 8 pages
    2. Sargent - biography
    3. Manchester Notes - news
    4. Boston News
    5. Is Magic Dead - Sargent, The Merry Wizard
    6. Spiritualism - F.D. Hewes
    7. News of the Day
    8. My First Performance as a Star - tory by J.W.
    9. Postal Card Trick
    10. Wine and Water Trick
    11. New Vanishing Performer...
2009 / 1 / 30
$5.00

£3.95
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Mahatma Volume 1

George H. Little

Mahatma Volume 1 by George H. LittleOn the covers you will find:
  • Robert Houdin - father of modern magic
  • Herrmann - prince of conjurers
  • Jewett - the greatest coming 20th century magician
  • Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Robinson
  • W. D. Leroy
  • Davenport Brothers
  • Frederick Eugene Powell
  • David Devant and his spirit wife
  • Frencesca Redding and Hugh Stanton
  • A. J. Martyne
  • Bernice Nata
  • Imro Fox
  • Harry Kellar
  • Clivette
  • Prof. Ziska
  • Prof. Elliott
184 pages

Mahatma, Volume 1, George H. Little, editor

[Note: Page numbers refer to those in the PDF files when the collection was assembled. Originally each issue began with page 1. However, the original page numbers were retained for issues of The Vaudeville and Artist Era.]

184 pages

  1. Mahatma - Volume I, Number I - March 1895 - 8 pages
  2. Robert Houdin: Father of Modern Magic - biography
  3. To Our Readers...
2009 / 1 / 30
$5.00

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The Secrets of Conjuring

Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin

The Secrets of Conjuring by Jean Eugene Robert-HoudinThe original title is "Les Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la Magie". It was the collection of lessons and information Robert-Houdin intended to teach his sons to make them expert magicians. However, his sons did have other interests, mechanics and military, which led him to publish his recordings as book. Prof. Hoffmann has translated this masterpiece into English.

1st French edition, 1868; translation 1877; this ebook 351 pages.
2006 / 2 / 3
$9.00

£7.12
€7.83
Ca$11.60
Au$11.59
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Hellerism

Harry Hermon

Hellerism by Harry HermonThis is a wonderful course for a two person act based on a verbal code. It has many exercises and examples and covers a lot of other important points beside the code, such as opening and closing speech.

1st edition, 1884, Lee and Shepard, Boston; 129 pages.

2005 / 9 / 9
$10.00

£7.91
€8.70
Ca$12.89
Au$12.88
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New Era Card Tricks

August Roterberg

New Era Card Tricks by August RoterbergNew Era Card Tricks is the masterpiece of Roterberg's publishing efforts. Scholars are pretty sure that the elusive Erdnase must have known and read this book. It is still today an extremely good and important work on cards. It is a book any serious card man should read. This is to a large part the foundation on which a lot of the later card work has been built. A good part of this book is essentially a translation of the German work Der Moderne Kartenk√ľnstler by Friedrich W. Conradi. Richard Hatch wrote a wonderful introduction that by itself is worth reading. He starts:
August Roterberg is chiefly remembered today as a pioneering early twentieth...
2005 / 9 / 9
$12.00

£9.49
€10.44
Ca$15.47
Au$15.45
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Latter Day Tricks

August Roterberg

Latter Day Tricks by August RoterbergThis book is the continuation of The Modern Wizard; same format almost same number of pages and same style. For example the 'handkerchief productions' are continued with methods twelve, thirteen fourteen, fifteen and sixteen. You will find many interesting plots with eggs, glasses, coins, silks, tubes, plates, flowers, nest of boxes, ...

1st edition, 1896; 112 pages.

Table of Contents

pagepage
  1. Robinson's Flying Handkerchiefs
  2. The Improved Soup Plate and Handkerchief Trick
  3. First Method
  4. Second Method
  5. Third Method
  6. Fourth Method
  7. The Four Soup Plates and Handkerchiefs
  8. The Handkerchief Coloring...
2005 / 9 / 9
$11.00

£8.70
€9.57
Ca$14.18
Au$14.17
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The Modern Wizard

August Roterberg

The Modern Wizard by August RoterbergRoterberg was a dealer, but he also wrote excellent magic books - four altogether. The Card Tricks and how to do them is an excerpt from New Era Card Tricks. So actually he wrote only three books. The Modern Wizard was his first one. It explains tricks with silks, eggs, glasses, billiard balls, coins, candles, pill boxes and more. Roterberg has a very efficient style of describing a trick. He supplies no patter or other fluff, but still manages to explain a trick thoroughly. He packs 68 tricks or methods into merely 120 pages. He closes his book with the chapter "The Art of Magic" where Roterberg gives a crash course in how to be a good magician....
2005 / 9 / 9
$11.00

£8.70
€9.57
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More Magic

Professor Hoffmann

More Magic by Professor HoffmannThis is the second volume of the Hoffmann trilogy. If you liked Modern Magic you will love More Magic. There is too much to list. Refer to the 'Table of Contents' below for details. This book was rated one of the ten basic books for a working library of conjuring by H. Adrian Smith, historian, collector and owner of the largest private magic library in his time. Other books in this top 10 list are
2005 / 9 / 7
$6.50

£5.14
€5.65
Ca$8.38
Au$8.37
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Modern Magic

Professor Hoffmann

Modern Magic by Professor HoffmannEvery generation a magician comes along, whose intention is to record magic in an encyclopedic fashion. Professor Hoffmann was the first in recorded history to attempt such a feat with his trilogy Modern Magic, More Magic, and Later Magic. Certainly many magic books have been published before him, mostly copying from each other. But none reaches the depth and breadth of Prof. Hoffmann's work. The material in these three books records the state of the art of magic in the late 19th century. Today we know more tricks and we have also refined our techniques and methods. But it is astounding how much was already known...
2005 / 9 / 7
$7.50

£5.93
€6.52
Ca$9.67
Au$9.66
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Mahatma

George H. Little

Mahatma by George H. LittleAs Alfredson and Daily write in their Conjuring Periodical Bibliography, Mahatma is the 'first English language magical serial of any substance'. It is a fantastic resource for historians, researchers and other treasure hunters. A few of the prominent names you will find in Mahatma are Conradi, De Kolta, Downs, Elliott, Evans, Hilliar, Hoffmann, Houdini, Kellar, Leipzig, Plate, Selbit, Trewey and many more.

Some interesting facts about this periodical are:

  • Mahatma was printed in the rear of the storied Martinka's magic shop in New York City, then the central hub of all things magical.
  • Among the delightful period advertisements in Mahatma are some...
2005 / 9 / 6
$14.90

£11.78
€12.96
Ca$19.21
Au$19.19
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Sleight of Hand

Edwin Sachs

Sleight of Hand by Edwin SachsThis is an all time classic with 57 beautiful illustrations. It is one of the most complete books written on magic, because it teaches both stage and close-up magic (cards, coins, silks, cups and balls, etc.), technique, presentation, and all the peripheral skills necessary for great conjuring.
"I beg to say that it is far and away the very best work of its kind ever published" - Harry Kellar

"My den contains a large collection of books on magic, but none has a cover so worn as 'Sleight of Hand' by Edwin Sachs." - David Devant

The official byline read: The standard texbook on how to become a magician. Sleight-of-hand...
2005 / 9 / 4
$5.00

£3.95
€4.35
Ca$6.45
Au$6.44
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08/24/2017
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