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  • Henry Dean's Legerdemain first edition to sell at magic auction
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • Dean'sfirstHenryLegerdemain

Henry Dean's Legerdemain first edition to sell at magic auction

A 1722 first edition of Henry Dean's The Whole Art of Legerdemain is to star at a Potter & Potter sale in Chicago on February 8.

It will lead the Magic Books and More auction with an estimate of $30,000-35,000.

The manual offers training in close up magic, with the majority of the work compiled from Reginald Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584) and a book by an unknown author titled Hocus Pocus Junior (1634).

Legerdemain Hocus Pocus Potter
The Whole Art of Legerdemain is one of the earliest comprehensive manuals of magic

The book remained a bestseller for over 150 years, with multiple editions issued on both sides of the Atlantic up until the end of the 19th century.

Only five examples of the first edition are known to survive, with three held in permanent collections and one incomplete - making this the only complete example on the open market.

It is in good condition, having been expertly restored and rebound in modern calf in a period style. It sold at Swann Auction Galleries in New York in 2002, where it achieved $39,100.

Also featured in the sale is a first edition copy of Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft, valued at $10,000-12,000.

The book was not written as a manual, rather as an expose of the methods of supposed witches and other "consorts of Satan", and describes a range of common tricks in detail.

King James I, a strong believer in witchcraft, was so outraged by the publication of the work that he ordered every copy to be burned.

We have a range of books and manuscripts available, along with this signed photograph of Harry Houdini.

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • Dean'sfirstHenryLegerdemain