For many sleight-of-hand magicians, particularly for the new generation, the book most coveted is a first edition of S.W. Erdnase’s The Expert At The Card Table. Even though the book is not particularly rare, it is probably the most sought-after magic book published in the 20th century. Recent auction prices have seen copies sell for $5,000.
As the book was published originally in Chicago in 1902, and its illustrator, Marshall D. Smith was from the Second City, and made an appearance at the 1947 SAM Convention in the city, we thought it is now time to focus our attention at the MCW on this perennial favourite. To that end, we have invited several of the world’s foremost authorities on Erdnase to Chicago to discuss the book at the 42nd Annual Magic Collectors Weekend.
Our first presenter Saturday morning (May 21) will be Jason England. In addition to being one of the world’s foremost authorities on advantage play, Jason is also obsessed with Erdnase. He has collected almost every edition of the book, and he will be bringing them with him to Chicago to show – as a display in the Dealers Room – and tell, with a keynote presentation in our theatre.
We are also pleased announce a new name on the Erdnase-scene: Hurt McDermott. A writer/director by trade, Hurt has many new and interesting ideas about the book and its author. His focus at the MCW will be on why the book was published in Chicago. It is a fascinating story, and one that will shed new light on a host of other publications.
For many, the seminal question regarding the book is the identity of the author. Seasoned history conference attendees will recall the spirited debate on this subject at the Los Angeles Conference on Magic History some ten years ago. Although David Alexander is no longer with us – he had been scheduled to present an update for us at the 42nd MCW – we are pleased to have Richard Hatch and Todd Karr on hand to provide both an overview of the candidates and their considerable insight on the subject. A lot has changed in the past ten years as technology has given Erdnase-scholars the opportunity to access an unparalleled amount of records and data. These sessions will bring us up-to-date.
The morning session will conclude with a panel discussion and Q & A session with our presenters on this most elusive subject.
You won’t want to miss this special session!
The 42 MCW is scheduled for May 19-21, 2011. To register, click here.