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Tom Selwyn

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Tom Selwyn
BornMay 22, 1878
Lowell, Massachusetts
DiedJanuary 26, 1950 (age 71)
Hobart, Tasmania

Tom Selwyn (1878-1950) toured the world with major companies including Dr. Bigelow's Medicine Show, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and on his own. Settling in Australia he help many other magicians get their start.


Born of British parents in the United Stages and made his first performance as a 9-year-old amateur in Manchester, England. At the age of 16 he made his first professional appearance at Huber's Dime Museum on 14th Street in New York City. He later worked for many other American museums. [1]

Selwyn also traveled with Dr. Bigelow's Medicine Show, Robinson's Circus and Buffalo Bill Cody's Show. Selwyn also worked briefly with "Hanco the Handcuff King" until they had a disagreement.

His first professional show in England was at Raynold's Waxworks in Liverpool. Selwyn toured England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

He was still very young when he enlisted for the Boer War where he was wounded twice.

After the Boer war, he toured South Africa and in 1903 he went to India then Burma, Malay States, China, Indo-China, Philippines, Java, and Sumatra. Selwyn eventually arrived in Australia around 1908 where he performed as well as in Tasmania and New Zealand.

In Australia, Selwyn met a young Les Cole and became his protégé. Selwyn gave him the stage-name 'Levant', later he added an "e" to the end and became well known as The Great Levante.

When the next war in 1914 broke out, Selwyn was in Tasmania. He enlisted with the Tasmanian battalion, and was wounded at Gallipoli. After this war, he returned to Australia via England.

He went back to touring until periodic voice failure, the result of war gassing, forced him into Sydney commercial circles in 1928. He retired because of ill health in 1940.[2]

You can see many letters to the editor with pictures he sent to the Linking Ring magazine starting in mid 1940s. Hugard's Magic Monthly of December 1951 reported that Selwyn gave Sydney Piddington his first insight into mental magic who went on to become a sensation with his wife as the Piddingtons.


  • Wife was named Belle and they had no children



  • Double Prediction By Tom Selwyn, Sphinx August 1943


  1. "Tom Selwyn - Magician and Gentleman" by Charles Waller in Linking Ring, March 1950
  2. Obit Abracadabra February 18, 1950