THE BEGINNINGS OF A COLLECTION
An Introduction by Jason England
I didn’t set out to collect all the editions of The Expert at the Card Table.
My job, however, had me traveling frequently and I often found myself settling into my seat on a plane only to realize that I’d not brought along a magic book to read. Upon visiting the local magic shop in whatever city I had arrived, I invariably passed on the “latest and greatest” and simply bought another copy of The Expert. One day, as I went to place the fifth or perhaps the sixth copy of the book on my shelf after returning home, I realized that I had the beginnings of a small collection. Thus, the race to get them all had begun.
Although this admission might seem odd coming from a guy who wants to collect every known variant of Erdnase, I don’t actually have any idea how many different variants there are. I don’t believe anyone does.
What we do know is that the book has never been out of print in over one hundred years, and that well over fifty variants have appeared in that time. I’ll cover the major variants in this article and provide what bibliographical information I can.
As I looked over the copies of The Expert on my shelves, a very satisfying thought occurred to me. I may not have begun my Erdnase collection in a purposeful manner, but I continue collecting, researching, cataloging and digging for new acquisitions for one reason: I learn something new just about every time I pick up the book. Not bad for a 100-year old tome that I’ve read dozens of times, eh? A book that rich in history, information and indeed, mystery, deserves to be studied and collected.
This online exhibition will cover the major variants I currently hold and include what bibliographical information I can provide. If you have variations you would like to share, please feel free to email us.
First Edition Project
We are also interested in determining just how many First Edition copies of The Expert are still in existence. If you own a First Edition copy, please let us know so we can add it to our First Edition Project, counting the number of First Editions and in which city they currently reside.
Now, we invite you to explore our galleries. While you can visit any gallery in any order, we recommend starting with the American Variations Gallery. You can read the Exhibition Notes for a quick overview, and there, we have also created an exhibition map, to suggest a path for your Erdnasian journey.