Logan Magic Collector's Rare Book Featured in Chicago Auction

Deceptionist Richard Hatch's copy of the 1902 first edition of THE EXPERT AT THE CARD TABLE expected to fetch more than $2,000 at a Chicago auction on January 29th.
By: The Hatch Academy of Magic and Music
Potter Auction Cover
Potter Auction Cover
Jan. 4, 2011 - PRLog -- Chicago auction house Potter & Potter have just released the catalog of their January 29th sale of crooked and "square" gambling devices and related books and ephemera and have chosen to feature Logan "deceptionist" and magic collector Richard Hatch's copy of the rare first edition of S. W. Erdnase's classic THE EXPERT AT THE CARD TABLE on the cover. Regarded as the "Holy Grail" of many magic and gambling book collectors due to its historical importance and scarcity (less than 100 copies of the first edition are know to exist), the book was the first to provide sophisticated and detailed descriptions of the sleights necessary to cheat at cards as well as to entertain audiences with card tricks. Self-published in Chicago in March of 1902 by the author under the pseudonym "S. W. Erdnase", his real identity remains a subject of debate more than 100 years later. Famed author Martin Gardner tracked down the book's illustrator, Marshall D. Smith, in Chicago in 1946 and gained valuable clues regarding the author's identity. It had long been noticed that "S. W. Erdnase" reverses to "E. S. Andrews" and Gardner proposed that the author was a card cheat and accused serial killer named Milton Franklin Andrews who died in an apparent murder-suicide in Oakland, California as police were about to enter his room in 1905. Hatch, however, has argued that the artist's description of the author (40 to 45 years old in 1902, 5' 6" in height) are at odds with the known facts regarding M. F. Andrews (who was just 29 in 1902 and stood over 6'1" in his stocking feet). Hatch has proposed that the author might have been a Chicago based railroad employee named Edwin Sumner (a.k.a. "E. S.") Andrews who fits the artist's description and other known facts. Several other candidates have also been proposed, leading to a front page story on the controversy in the Wall Street Journal of August 16, 2000. The auction house conservatively estimates that Hatch's copy will sell for between $2,000 and $2,500. Early in 2000 Hatch brokered the eBay sale of Martin Gardner's first edition copy which fetched more than $10,000. Hatch's copy is in much better condition than Gardner's, but that one was signed on the title page by the book's illustrator and other ephemera relating to the mysterious author's identity were included in the sale.

Hatch has several other items from his collection in this sale, including a two volume French Encyclopedic Dictionary from 1792 that inspired a French clockmaker named Jean Eugene Robert to become a magician. Under his married name, Robert-Houdin, he became world famous and inspired a young American immigrant from Hungary named Erich Weiss to change his name to Harry Houdini!

Less well known but no less interesting is a book from Hatch's collection published in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1914 by H. K. James entitled THE DESTRUCTION OF MEPHISTO'S GREATEST WEB, an expose on the evils of gambling. This particular copy is inscribed by the author using his real name (J. H. Keate) to Mayor Bowman of Salt Lake.

Hatch decided to sell these items to help finance his move from Houston, Texas to Logan, Utah this Fall, where he and his wife, violinist Rosemary Kimura Hatch, are opening the Hatch Academy of Magic and Music in the historic 1878 Thatcher-Young Mansion this month. Conceived as a combination of "Hogwarts and Juilliard", the school will offer group and private instruction in sleight-of-hand and violin performance.

About Potter & Potter Auctions:

Potter & Potter Auctions, Inc. is a Chicago-based firm. Specializing in the sale of magicana ― antiques and collectibles focused on magic and magicians ― as well as rare books, gambling-related collectibles, and paper Americana. For more information, see their website http://www.potterauctions.com or call them at (773) 472-1442 or email info@potterauctions.com

About Richard Hatch:
Although Richard Hatch holds two graduate degrees in Physics from Yale University, he finds it easier apparently to violate the laws of nature than to discover them. He has been performing his unique brand of magic full time since 1983. In 1985, shortly after winning first place in the annual New England Close Up Competition in Worcester, Massachusetts, Richard moved with his wife, violinist Rosemary Kimura, to Houston, Texas where they were based until moving to Richard’s hometown of Logan, Utah this Fall. For several years he honed his craft entertaining the guests as one of the house magicians at Houston's Magic Island Nightclub before devoting himself exclusively to private and corporate work, traveling internationally on behalf of his clients. Hatch is a member of the Academy of Magical Arts, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and is a lifetime member of the Society of American Magicians. Among magicians he is known as the translator from German into English of works about Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser (1806 – 1875), Paul Potassy, and the first four volumes of Roberto Giobbi’s acclaimed “Card College” course of card manipulation. This past year he was a featured performer at the exhibit "Magic: The Science of Wonder" at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. He and his wife will open the Hatch Academy of Magic and Music in the historic 1878 Thatcher-Young Mansion in Logan this month. For more information see their website http://www.hatchacademy.com or call 435-932-0017 or email info@hatchacademy.com

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The Hatch Academy of Magic & Music is an educational institution in Logan, Utah offering private and group instruction in sleight-of-hand and violin performance.
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Tags:Richard Hatch, Logan Utah, Erdnase, Auction, Magic, Magician, Cheating, Chicago, Card Tricks
Industry:Entertainment, Books, Event
Location:Logan - Utah - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Jan 05, 2011
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