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The Amateur Magician's Handbook

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The Amateur Magician's Handbook
AuthorHenry Hay
PublisherThomas Y. Crowell Co.
Publication Date1950

The Amateur Magician's Handbook was expanded by Hay three times and is currently in its fourth edition.

Originally published in five sections, there were a total of 18 chapters. By the fourth edition it had expanded to seven sections with 22 chapters.

The "Hand Magic" section covers sleight-of-hand with cards, coins, billiard balls, cups and balls, thimbles and cigarettes. Almost half the pages in the book are devoted to this section.

Some of the names behind the material throughout this book are Ross Bertram, Annemann, Cardini, T. Nelson Downs, Nate Leipzig, Paul Rosini, Sid Lorraine, Stanley Collins and John Mulholland.


  • Hugard's Magic Monthly (July 1950): John Crimmins, Jr. said, "Offhand the material...seems to this reviewer to be much too technical for a is an excellent reference book for the advanced amateur and the professional."
  • Genii 1950 November: Dariel Fitzkee praised the book for its value to the beginner.
  • Genii 1985 November obituary by Richard Hatch: "Engagingly written and profusely illustrated with excellent photographs of the author's hands, the book continues to set the standard as a textbook on the fundamentals of magic."


  • 1950, 1951, 1958 (first editions)
  • 1965 (second edition)
  • 1971 (first UK edition)
  • 1972 (with a Canadian edition in 1972 as well)
  • 1974 (third edition)
  • 1982, 1994 (fourth edition)(three different publishers including Canadian)

Editions have been in cloth covers and trade paperback.


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