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Ricky Jay, Matthias Buchinger

Limited Edition Set of Book & Cards featuring Matthias Buchinger - 2015

A most unusual—and now virtually impossible to find—numbered (#197/500), limited edition book and playing card set that sold out within days of its release, Matthias Buchinger: The Greatest German Living by author Ricky Jay is a posthumous tribute to one of the most interesting entertainers of the late 17th and early 18th century.

Matthias Buchinger (1674-1739) performed on more than a half-dozen musical instruments, some of his own invention. He exhibited trick shots with pistols, swords and bowling. He danced the hornpipe and deceived audiences with his skill in magic. He was a remarkable calligrapher specializing in micrography-precise handsome letters almost impossible to view with the naked eye-and he drew portraits, coats of arms, landscapes and family trees, many commissioned by royalty. Amazingly, Matthias Buchinger was just twenty-nine inches tall, and born without legs or arms. He lived to the ripe old age of sixty-five, survived three wives, wed a fourth, and fathered fourteen children.

Matthias Buchinger - The Greatest German Living

Strictly limited to a production of 500 of which fewer will be sold, each set has been numbered and the deluxe folding box secured with a special numbered Buchinger seal. Included in the set is a copy of the book, two different limited edition decks of cards (the seals of each deck will have matching numbers and they will also match the set number) and a hand letterpress-printed special keepsake created especially for this boxed edition and signed by Mr. Jay.

The 160-page hardbound book has color illustrations throughout, and each numbered set includes:

  • One copy of Matthias Buchinger, The Greatest German Living by Ricky Jay.
  • Fancy Folding box with deluxe interior tray that holds the two decks. The box will be sealed with a seal that matches the decks of cards and has the same limitation number as they do.
  • One numbered Buchinger "Wig" deck. Designed by Ricky Jay, Produced by the Expert Playing Card Co using their Master Finish. The deck's tuck case is made of Expert's synthetic stock that is waterproof, tear resistant and doesn't wear out. Each deck is sealed with a custom numbered seal.
  • One numbered Buchinger "Fruit" deck. Designed by Ricky Jay, Produced by the Expert Playing Card Co using their Master Finish. The deck's tuck case is made of Expert's synthetic stock that is waterproof, tear resistant and doesn't wear out. Each deck is sealed with a custom numbered seal.
  • A hand letterpress printed keepsake initialed personally by Ricky Jay and enclosed in an archival Mylar sleeve. This piece is suitable for framing.

Accompanying the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition "Wordplay: Matthias Buchinger's Inventive Drawings from the Collection of Ricky Jay," this book is a cabinet containing a single, multi-faceted wonder, refracted through acclaimed sleight-of-hand master Ricky Jay's scholarship and storytelling. Alongside an unprecedented and sumptuously reproduced selection of Buchinger's marvelous drawings and etchings, Jay delves into the history and mythology of the "Little Man," while also chronicling his encounters with the many fascinating characters he meets in his passionate search for Buchinger.

Acknowledged as one of the world's great sleight-of-hand artists, Ricky Jay has received accolades as a performer, actor, and author. He has been profiled on the series American Masters and is the subject of the film Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay. Jay has written frequently on unusual entertainments, and his Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women and Jay's Journal of Anomalies were both New York Times "Notable Books of the Year."