Monday, March 20, 2017

In Honor of Burt Sperber

A digital throwing card created for Burt's throwing card project
In this post, we honor the magic collector whose vision and drive led to the creation of Propelled Pasteboards.  Burton Sperber was a generous and enthusiastic magic collector who, in or around 2011, set out to create a published checklist of throwing cards, which he intended to distribute for free to interested collectors.  He acquired a remarkably large collection of cards and contacted a group of historians and collectors -- including the three contributors to this site -- to help create his ambitious project. The selfless nature of this effort is reflected in his proposed copyright notice:

"No Copyright © 2011. 
All information in this checklist may be reproduced or transmitted in any
form or by any means whether electronic, mechanical, or photocopied hand typed or
written without permission from anyone.
No Rights Reserved"

Sadly, Burt's untimely death ended the effort -- but his vision and inspiration drove the creation of this site.

Burt wrote his own bio in a draft version of his throwing card checklist:

"Burton S. Sperber, MIMC – Los Angeles, California b.1929 BSS. Interested in magic since the age of 10. His uncle Maury Leaf, a Hollywood magician taught him many principles of magic. He did magic while in the Army and wrote a number of articles for Bascom Jones periodical Magick. He wrote Miracles of my Friends in 1982 and Miracles of my Friends II in 2010. He is known for developing some of the more popular well known effects in his books Miracles of my Friends I and II.  He also wrote mini periodicals from 1993-1995, called A Real Miracle and published under the same name. Member S.A.M., I.B.M., Order of Merlin, Magic Castle, Lifetime Membership and Magic Circle, MIMC and Magic Collectors' Association. Extensive magic collection which includes, catalogues, tokens, mirror cards, trade cards, books and periodicals. For many years he had the largest known catalog collection."

A draft cover for the throwing card checklist proposed by Burt Sperber.
Fortunately, in that same draft, Burt authored a Preface which captures his vision for the project:

"As most collectors of magic memorabilia, I always had a few throw-out cards – it was never the most important part of my library of books, catalogues, tokens, tobacco cards, mirror cards, periodicals and other magic items. And, as I talked to fellow collectors of throw-out cards, they mostly said the same thing. They all said their cards were not organized or alphabetized, so now we can at least get some of the large throw-out collections in better order and thank you to them for all of their help in putting this checklist together. I had over 350 cards, through the years I had an opportunity to get more from Ted [Bogusta]. His collection that he built up over the years included Jay Marshall, Al Flosso, Egyptian Hall, Paul Noffke and over the years collecting more to add to my collection it nearly doubled.  I have a bio on each of the contributors and the checklist shows all of the cards from all of our collectors."

Sample page from the proposed throwing card checklist.
"As the years went by my throw-out card collection grew and grew and as you will see in this checklist, through the years I have printed a number of reprints and lists from my library (known as publication of “A Real Miracle”) on mirror cards with Randy Forgaard – “Magicians Pocket Mirrors” (2003) with over 100 mirrors, “A Checklist of Conjuring Catalogs”(2007) with 3,800 listings, “Duke Tricks with Cards”(2009) and “Cartophily” (1995) on magic tobacco cards. I told my fellow collectors too bad there is no checklist of throw-out cards, I would like to do one someday. Well, as I am getting older and no one has done one – here goes. I know there will be lots and lots of new ones, not in this checklist as in all my “A Real Miracle” publications, please feel free to use anything that you want without permission that you feel can help our collectors of the future." 

We here at Propelled Pasteboards wish to honor Burton's memory, vision and generosity, and hope that the information and images contained in these pages will assist and inspire historians and collectors.

A logo prepared for the proposed book

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