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Burton Sperber

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Burton Sperber
BornBurton Seymour Sperber
May 14, 1929
Los Angeles, California
DiedSeptember 30, 2011 (age 82)
Malibu, Los Angeles County
Resting placeMount Sinai Memorial Park, Los Angeles
CategoriesBooks by Burton Sperber

Burton "Burt" Sperber (1929-2011) was a amateur mentalist and magic collector.[1]


Sperber was inspired at a young age by his uncle Maury Leaf (a Hollywood magician who later became one of the first and most frequent performers at the Magic Castle). He started out specialized in escapes and then moved into mentalism.

By profession his was a landscape contractor, a business which he grew into a $1 billion in annual revenues as ValleyCrest Corporation.[2]

Shortly after starting up ValleyCrest in 1949, Sperber went into the army and saw military service in Japan and Korea.

At the insistence of Uncle Maury, he applied for his membership at the Magic Castlein 1965 and became a frequent visitor.

Later in the 1960s, Sperber joined the Delta Group, an informal club of mentalists in Los Angeles. He later joined the Psychic Entertainers Association and contributed articles to Magick. He was also a contributing editor for the Sorcerer's Attic.

He became a member of the Inner Magic Circle of the Magic Circle in London.

He was a renowned collector of magic books, catalogs, periodicals, automata, and ephemera. He had one of the nation's largest collections of magic books, dating to the 1500s.[3]

His daughter, actress Wendie Jo Sperber, died in 2005 after losing her battle with cancer.[4]


  • Miracles of My Friends (1982)
  • A Checklist of Conjuring Catalogs and their Dealers or Magic Shops in English from 1843-2006) (2007)
  • Duke Tricks with Cards (2009)
  • Miracles of My Friends II (2011)
  • A Real Miracle series: The Wee Book II (1994)
  • A Real Miracle series: Cartophily (1995)


  1. LA Times Obit
  2. Cover, M-U-M, Vol. 98, No. 4, September 2008, How to Cultivating a Collection, by Richard Hatch, page 50
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 91, No. 11, November 2011, Broken Wands, Burton S. Sperber, page 111
  • Genii, Vol. 74, No. 12, December 2011, In Memoriam BURTON S. SPERBER by Clay Shevlin, page 15
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 105, No. 1145, December 2011, Obituaries, Burton Sperber, page 356