👓 Most valuable book ever. | The Magic Cafe Forums

Read Most valuable book ever. by jamessmithjamessmith (The Magic Cafe Forums - themagiccafe.com)
This is a very old thread that Delimbeau has re-opened and I think that the answer is extremely subjective. It depends how you define "value"; whether it be in respect of content or monetary worth. If the former, there are probably as many answers as there are books but if - as I think was the original ask - it is purely monetary there are only a few candidates, most of which have already been mentioned. First let's ditch Scot's "Discoverie of Witchcraft". Whilst the second issue of the third edition is likely the scarcest, the first edition will almost always be more valuable. Aside the magic content, this is a very desirable book in many fields and therefore always commands high prices. It is not, however, rare. As an update on price, copies of the first edition in the last couple of years have reached up to c. $70,000. Compare this with the aforementioned third edition, a copy of which a couple of weeks ago sold for "only" $14,000 + commission (in itself a high price). The Guyot, Dean and Pinetti mentioned in the thread we can also discount, as "comparatively" they are of little value (in any edition). Of known books on magic, likely "The Art of Jugling" (1st ed. 1612, 2nd ed. 1614) or "Hocus Pocus Junior" (1st ed. 1634, 2nd. ed 1635) would be the most valuable. "The Art of Jugling" was the first book solely devoted to magic in the English language (albeit plagiarised from Scot) and only one copy has been offered for sale in the lifetime of most people who will read this. The six-figure dollar asking price would exceed any copies of Scot's work I know of. Of course, "asking" and "sale" price will not necessarily be the same. Recent (i.e. last 10 years or so) copies of "Hocus Pocus Junior" have "only" reached the c. $36,000-$60,000 price range. These have been later editions. That said, a first edition certainly would achieve a price well above that, if one were to emerge - unlikely since none has been seen since the 1930s. In the event that it did, it may well exceed those prices recently realised by Scot first editions. Probably the most valuable book on magic is one that we do not yet know exists, or suspect that it does but a copy has never been seen. For example, some may be aware of Prevost's "La Premiere partie des subtiles et plaisantes inventions". It is a French illustrated book devoted solely to magic that predates Scot (by only a few months). As it is not in English it doesn't get as much attention but is arguably much more exciting from a purely magical context. For those French readers, you will note that Prevost's book was the "first part" (i.e. premiere partie). If a second part were to emerge, I would warrant it very valuable indeed. The potential "second part" of Prevost is but one example. Lost manuscripts or other early works (most likely in Italian) may also compete. The fact is, though, that regardless of content the majority of the market is English speaking, so early English works are likely to continue to command the highest prices, regardless of their rarity or importance. We must also remember that our field of interest is very niche. Another book with magic in it but with much wider appeal would attract more attention and - potentially - command a higher price; i.e. the high prices seen recently for first edition Scot's are predominantly NOT due to magic collectors but collectors with other fields of interest.
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🔖 La Première partie des subtiles et plaisantes inventions, comprenant plusieurs jeux de récréation et traicts de soupplesse, par le discours desquels les impostures des bateleurs sont descouvertes. par Jean Prévost | Gallica

Bookmarked La Première partie des subtiles et plaisantes inventions, comprenant plusieurs jeux de récréation et traicts de soupplesse, par le discours desquels les impostures des bateleurs sont descouvertes. by Jean Prévost (Gallica)
The earliest known important book on conjuring or magic, printed in French in Lyons in 1584.

hat tip: Ricky Jay’s Magical Secrets (The New Yorker)

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👓 Ricky Jay’s Magical Secrets | The New Yorker

Read Ricky Jay’s Magical Secrets (The New Yorker)
Jay’s deft illusions flout reality, and he rejects the notion that his magic is a suitable entertainment for children.

A great set of stories about Ricky Jay.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

I once asked Mamet whether Jay had ever shared with him details of his childhood.Mamet replied, “I can’t remember.”I said, “You can’t remember whether you discussed it or you can’t remember the details?”He said, “I can’t remember whether or not I know a better way to dissuade you from your reiteration of that question without seeming impolite.”  

November 29, 2018 at 12:44PM

Magic is about working hard to discover a secret and making something out of it. You start with some small principle and you build a theatrical presentation out of it. You do something that’s technically artistic that creates a small drama.  

November 29, 2018 at 12:48PM

Jean Prévost’s “La Première Partie des Subtiles et Plaisantes Inventions,” the earliest known important conjuring book, printed in Lyons in 1584.  

November 29, 2018 at 01:15PM

The main thing that dissuaded him, he says, is that “I wouldn’t want to sell a book to a philistine, which is what every bookseller has to do.”  

November 29, 2018 at 01:18PM

Two automatons stood on the table. One, called “The Singing Lesson,” was the creation of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, the nineteenth-century watchmaker-turned-conjurer, who is considered the father of modern magic. The other was a Chinese cups-and-balls conjurer built by Robert-Houdin’s father-in-law, Jacques Houdin.  

November 29, 2018 at 01:34PM

Two automatons stood on the table. One, called “The Singing Lesson,” was the creation of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, the nineteenth-century watchmaker-turned-conjurer, who is considered the father of modern magic. The other was a Chinese cups-and-balls conjurer built by Robert-Houdin’s father-in-law, Jacques Houdin.  

November 29, 2018 at 01:34PM

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👓 Salt of the earth: Tyndale’s Bible | The Economist

Read Salt of the earth: Tyndale’s Bible (Economist Espresso)
Ask who did the most to shape the English language, and most people will answer Shakespeare. But another writer of much less fame did at least as much: William Tyndale, the first to translate into English the Greek New Testament and most of the Hebrew Old Testament (a follower, Miles Coverdale, finished the work, published in 1526). That work was later a major source of the 1611 King James version. Estimates of his contribution run as high as 90% of the King James New Testament. One of the earliest Tyndale Bibles will be auctioned by Chiswick Auctions today. The estimate of £8,000-10,000 ($10,200-12,700) seems a bargain for the work that immortalised “let my people go”, “the apple of his eye” and “go the extra mile”. Not that it did Tyndale much good: to render God’s word intelligible to ordinary folk was a daring act. He was strangled and burned at the stake for it.
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📺 The hidden science of Harry Potter | The Washington Post

Watched The hidden science of Harry Potter by Anna Rothschild from Washington Post

Meet the real-life sorcerers featured in Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

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👓 How to pack your library: A guide | Chris Adami

Replied to How to pack your library: A guide by Chris AdamiChris Adami (Spherical Harmonics)
That's right folks, this is not a science post. After 45 posts about information, quanta, intelligence, and what not, a how-to guide? Well I only have one blog, and I didn't know where to put this stuff, that I think could be helpful to others, because I've done this several times and I learned a bunch. So now you get to read about how to move your library of precious books from one house to another.

I like your method and did much the same myself this past September. The smallest “book box” one can find is certainly the key.

One thing you’re missing, at least in several of the photographs, that would help for both general shelf wear as well as for packing/moving is to have all of your dust jackets covered with book jacket covers. This will help protect your dust jackets from wear and tear and help increase their long term value, particularly for rarer first editions.

I notice that some of your collection likely already has these, à la the Heinlein, though it’s obvious in that case that a book seller likely jacketed it far too late to protect the pristine original. At least it’s protected from further future wear. If you think it’s worth the time and protection, it may be a worthwhile thing to do when you’re unpacking and reshelving them on the other end.

Brodart is one of the larger sellers of dust jacket covers and they make a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and types. I’ve found that their Advantage I covers are pretty solid and versatile for most of the book sizes you’ve got. Though fair warning: you can go down the rabbit hole and lose a few hours researching dust cover materials and archival types. In the end you want to look for something that covers the jacket, but doesn’t stick to it. This will allow you to replace the jacket cover with a new one if necessary without causing damage to the dust jacket itself.

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