Magic Collecting is a relatively recent phenomenon. While there were a few collectors 100 years ago, there were so few that they were known to everyone: Saram Ellison was one. When he tried to eventually sell his collection through The Sphinx, there were no takers so he left it to the New York Public Library. Is it still there?
Chung Ling Soo posters which now bring thousands of dollars were, only 40 years ago, being used by Davenports of London to wrap parcels of magic being shipped to mail-order customers.
The field of magic collecting has exploded in the last few decades. Although there is a growing group of collectors that are actually investing in magic collectibles, the majority of collectors have a love of magic history at the core of their interest. This group has taken up the mantra: Collect, Collate and Communicate. The following of this collecting philosophy and the rising prices of magic collectibles has tended to cause most serious collectors to specialize in a particular area. Some of the most common areas of specialization are periodicals, books, posters, apparatus and ephemera. Some collectors are specializing in a subcategory of one of these main areas. For example, in the area of ephemera, a number of collectors have focused on 8 x 10's or business cards or programs.
It should be noted that the result of this specialization and the above listed collecting philosophy is the production of a massive amount of new conjuring literature which includes many wonderful biographies, for example.
MAJOR collections in the United States are:
- BOOKS: Ray Ricard, Byron Walker, Clay Shevlin( specialty: magic bibliographies, Robert-Houdin and magic history)
- PERIODICALS: George Daily (also posters, books, special collection of FORCE BOOKS,as well as, WEE BOOKS and Houdiniana), Steve Fernandes and Jim Alfredson(also magicians bookplates)
- POSTERS: Norm Nielsen, George Daily, Charles Greene
- EPHEMERA: Michael Claxton(specialty: female and minority magicians)
- APPARATUS: Phil Schwartz, Nelson Nicholson, Ray Goulet (P&L, and Ray has a wonderful museum in Watertown, Mass.), Nelson Nicholson
- WANDS: Bill Spooner
- CUPS & BALLS: Bill Palmer
- MAGIC COMICS: Mark Horowitz
- HOUDINIANA: Steven Sparks, Bernard Reid, Roger Dreyer
- GIMMICKED CARDS: Richard Kaufman (Theodore DeLand)
- MAGICIAN TOKENS: Randy Forgaard
Other collectors include Tad Ware (illusions), Ken Klosterman (general), Bill King (20th century magic), Chuck Caputo ( Anverdi -electronic ), among many others. (Feel free to edit this list and add more names and their specialties).
The largest collection in the United States belongs to David Copperfield, whose collection should rightly be called The Metropolitan Museum of Magic. It is a staggering collection encompassing every type of collectible in the field of magic, all in massive quantities.
This category has the following 3 subcategories, out of 3 total.
Pages in category "Collecting"
The following 26 pages are in this category, out of 26 total.