Dealer Replies

I hope Coodliffe will not mind me answering a correspondent, W. Hutton Scobie, who writes in his Jan. 5th (No. 310) Edition, lamenting the fact that dealers catalogues often list similar items. He feels that what is required for performers, dealers, historians, collectors, etc. is a standard reference book, an index of depot tricks, giving effect, inventor, maker, price, year of release, whether exclusive or general, year of withdrawal or reissue, copyright, brief indication of principle, etc., etc. He says that effects may be duplicated, especially in the realm of card magic, and quotes the case of the Instanto Deck and the Landerschute Deck.

So far as these trick packs are concerned the former is marketed by Davenports, and the latter by Max Andrews, and by different methods both achieve a similar effect, that of being able to cut at any card called for. So what! Effects are bound to be duplicated to a certain extent. There are for instance several different types of Dove Pans on the market at the present time, and the discriminating purchaser will carefully compare all the details catalogued, and even take the trouble to view some of them before he buys, if he wishes.

The more I think of what is implied in this letter, the less I can visualise someone sitting down after having spent years collecting the necessary data, and then spending the rest of his life collating, segregating, cataloguing, referencing ail the dope, only to find that as fast as he did so, it was always out of date !

Personally, I cannot see that the practicing magician would benefit by all this; for one thing he is always too busy to bother. The dealer does not need it for he knows it all by heart, it is our stock in trade. I feel that the writer falls into the remaining two categories of historian and collector, and I cannot imagine anyone doing all this work for that exclusive band of individuals. From what I can see the cost of recording and publishing would be fantastic, but if Mr. Hutton Scobie stiil feels that there would be a good market for such a work, I suggest he would be the best man to deal with it.

You are invited to write to the Editor on any subject on which you require information, or on which you wish to give your opinion or comment.

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