Vanderbilt Hall at New York’s Grand Central Station was crowded with media personal, stamp collectors, magic aficionados and the just plain curious, on Thursday October 19th at 11am, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority kicked off the Celebration of Grand Central’s 87th year with a promotional tie-in with the first ever series of magic themed stamps Houdini, Kellar, Thurston and David Copperfield are the conjuring legends honored on these commemorative issues from Grenada, Nevis, Dominica, and St. Vincent. Copperfield is depicted on several of the stamps and also appeared in person to promote both the stamps and his philanthropic effort, Project Magic. Project Magic will receive a portion of the proceeds from sales of these postal collectables.
The Inter-Governmental Philatelic Agency issues the stamps. They have been responsible for the depiction of Disney characters, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe as well as living celebrities with, “Iconic status” on foreign postage. Lonnie Ostrow of the IGPA said in his opening remarks that magic and stamps have a universal appeal. He went on to say that due to David Copperfield’s “legendary” career, this campaign and this inauguration event would not be complete without him. After being introduced Copperfield stated that he was, “honored to be included” with his magical heroes in this first ever recognition of the art of magic on legal tender postage Stamps.
Casually dressed in white tee shirt, tan long sleeve shirt and black pants, Copperfield presented a short selection of historic film clips of Houdini, Kellar and Thurtston; video tape of flat art such as photo’s and lithographs from the artists careers as well as videos of Copperfield’s own performances. Then, making good use of large projection screens and hand-held cameras to highlight what was essentially a close-up performance, Copperfield commenced a short performance with a series of rubber band effects. He mentioned utilizing effects such as this in the therapeutic work conducted by Project Magic to teach dexterity and coordination. Next he displayed some hand twisting gags and effects as popularized by Meir Yedid. The audience responded well as Copperfield concluded with a bit of nonsense with a singing crystal glass filled with water and a “moon rock.” The water disappeared, reappeared and then provided a place for several goldfish to materialize.
Copperfield then unveiled large reproductions of the stamps and their accompanying display text. Despite a liberal usage of historic phrases associated with other magicians not recognized in the stamps or presentation, the overall event is a fine piece of promotion for both magic and David Copperfield. After the presentation Copperfield stayed to autograph the stamps for the many in attendance.The complete collection can be purchased online from Stampville.com by clicking: HERE.
–Richard Steven Cohn
–Photographs supplied by Lonnie Ostrow from IGPA
–Stamps from the MagicTimes archives
Richard Steven Cohn has written for Genii, Magicol, M.U.M., The Yankee Collector, MAGIC, as well as magic themed articles for Brooklyn Bridge Magazine and Stagebill. He is a magical consultant for television and theater and performs both as a single and with his wife Alexandra.