The Strange Case of the Missing Abra-Melin Picture...
Over the past 9 years of full time book dealing I have been fortunate to have viewed or bought and sold around 8 or 9 copies of the 1898 first edition of Mathers' Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage. The strange thing is all but two of them have had the famous illustration by Moina Mathers, (www.harringtonbooks.co.uk/images/Abra-Melin.gif) showing the Mage with Angels above and Demons below him, found just before the title page, neatly torn out.
At first, I thought a couple of owner's had prefered to have the image on their wall, but after seeing so many copies like this I'm beginning to wonder.
Does anyone know anythig about this? Was the picture censored for some reason? Was there a copyright issue or perhaps Mathers himself was not happy with it and had the picture removed from as many copies as possible?
Actually, I don't think the first edition - nor the second for that matter - had that illustration. At least not the copies I have....
Thanks for your reply. If you look closely at the inner margin of the title page of your first edition, you will probably see the torn remains of the page that had the picture. As I said, I have dealt with two copies of the 1898 first edition that had the picture - the others just have the torn remains.
I can confirm that my experience has been similar. Perhaps worth mentioning that on the copies which I've seen, the plate had evidently been removed with some care - suggesting a considered and deliberate action?