About Mark Jensen
I got my start collecting coins at the ripe old age of 9. My great grandfather gave me a handful of change which included several Indian Head pennies and a couple of Buffalo nickels. With that simple gesture, a budding collector was born. We would gather at my great grandfather's farm every Sunday for the family dinner. While I spent plenty of time playing with my cousins, I would spend part of the time going through that week's egg money, swapping out coins from the money I'd earned during the week collecting empty pop bottles from the ditches around town. As I would finish up, my great grandfather would always reach over and slide an extra coin or two into my new additions to my collection. I continued collecting coins through my high school years, adding proof sets and commemorative coins along the way. I still have that coin collection.
My passion for collecting lay dormant through my college and early working years until the early 1990's when comic books and toy action figures caught my attention. I soon had several comic book subscriptions at the local comic store and would spend hours combing our local toy stores for DC, Marvel, Power Ranger, and Star Trek action figures. I also started collecting Steinbach Nutcrackers imported from Germany.
Up until this time, all the additions to my growing collection were just a few pieces at a time. That was about to change. While I'd had an interest in magic since I was a young boy, it was on Halloween 1980 that I took the step onto the path of becoming a magician. I was in college and had a costume party to go to that night. I stopped in a small costume/magic shop and found that Andy Dallas owned the shop. I had met Andy while performing martial arts at Chicago Fest earlier that summer. We got to visiting, and Andy "killed" me with a trick. I slapped my money on the counter and walked out knowing my first piece of magic.
Now fast-forward to the early 90's. I was living in the Dallas area, and one of the local magicians had decided to move west to pursue his dream of becoming a photographer. Up until this time, all of my magic "stuff" would fit in a couple of suitcases and on one book shelf. I ended up buying several boxes of magic books from that magician. With that one simple action, my passion for collecting magic was born. My magic collection started primarily with books, and it has now grown to include over 3000. I love the feel of a book, and I love to read. I have books on magic history, various types of tricks (ropes, coins, cards, etc), mentalism, and presentation skills. While many of the books were acquired one by one, I did purchase three collections that added many books to my magic library.
As I read more and more of my library, I became more knowledgeable. I started to collect magic props and memorabilia. One of my first big additions to my budding magic collection was a John Rogers Traveling Magician statue. The statue is from 1877 and only 62 are known to exist.
As I expanded the scope of my magic collecting, I started to collect in specific categories and items related to specific magicians. I was fortunate enough to become friends with three of those magicians. The first were John Calvert and his lovely wife Tammy. John lived to the age of 102 and was one of the most vibrant people I have ever met. He was an actor in Hollywood in the 40's and 50's and also toured a full stage magic show around the world several times. You will learn more about John and Tammy in the "Tour of my Collection" section of this website.
The next magician was Harry Anderson. Harry is best known for starring as the Judge Harry Stone in Night Court. He also has appeared in several movies, the Dave's World television series, and several specials. Harry is a very talented magician, especially known for his Harry the Hat con artist character.
The final magician I'll mention here is Marshall Brodien. Marshall is well known for appearing as Wizzo the Wizard on the Bozo Show in Chicago for 26 years and as the creator of TV Magic Cards. I grew up in Northern Illinois watching the Bozo Show as a kid and am thrilled to have Marshall Brodien as a friend. I had collected a few of the TV Magic sets Marshall produced and then started to collect them with a passion. I now have all but three of the over 250 individual sets that Marshall produced. Over the years when I would visit Marshall while on holiday, he would generously give me several sets for my collection. I recently acquired Marshall Brodien's personal museum which consisted of over 250 boxes that filled a third of a semi. I now own the world's largest collection of Marshall Brodien memorabilia and possibly one of the world's largest collections of Bozo Show memorabilia.
By now you may be thinking that this is all I collect, but there are a few more items I would love to tell you about. Growing up I was a fan of the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys. Living in Dallas in the 1990's was the perfect opportunity to feed my collecting appetite by starting to collect sport memorabilia. Starting with trading cards, I soon found myself driving around with a couple of white panel footballs and mini-helmets in my trunk. A weekend hardly went by when I didn't hear of a Dallas Cowboy signing and would head that way. I also started attending sport conventions, where one of the highlights was meeting Muhammad Ali and having him sign a pair of boxing gloves.
I also collect items from television shows and movies that have a magic tie-in. I own most of the key screen-used props from the movie The Great Buck Howard (a fun movie, by the way) and several screen used props from the television show The Cape, which lasted one season. One of my favorite television series was Warehouse 13, and I own several of the key screen-used props from that show. Another favorite show of mine is Firefly, and while I have yet to add any screen-used props from the show to my collection, my most recent addition is a page of original comic book art from the Serenity: Leaves On The Wind comic. This page is signed by both Georges Jeanty, the comic book artist, and Nathon Fillion. I obtained both signatures in person at the Dallas Fan Expo. I will talk more about my thoughts on autographs in the "ABC's of Collecting" section.
I could go on and on and on, but Kim (my wife) tells me if I did that I wouldn't have anything left to talk about in the "Tour" and "ABC's" sections. I hope this gives you a bit of insight into my passion for collecting and that you enjoy your visit to Jensen Collector.