International Magicians Society

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The International Magicians Society (IMS) is the world's largest magic society as recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.[dubious ] The IMS began in 1968 and now has over 41,000 members worldwide. It was created to help promote and preserve the art of magic and provide a format where magicians could share their secrets and ideas. The society gives a Merlin Award to magicians each year in recognition of their achievements.[dubious ]


The IMS named Siegfried & Roy as the Magicians of the Century in 2000 and named David Copperfield, Doug Henning, Harry Blackstone Jr., Criss Angel and David Blaine as the most influential magicians of the past 25 years. The organization awards the Merlin Awards, every three years. "Every three years, the International Magicians Society hosts a banquet dinner, where those magicians who have achieved the highest level in their craft are awarded the coveted Merlin Award. The voting members begin with approximately one hundred names and narrows down to a handful. The criteria that the voting members consider are talent, showmanship, originality, skills, and above all the rare ability to entertain under any conditions."[1]

Merlin Award[edit]

The Merlin Award is given to magicians in recognition of their contributions to the performance and creation of magic around the world. While sometimes called the Academy Awards of Magic, the Merlin Award lacks much of the oversight that enhance the credibility of awards in other industries.[2]

The award was created by Tony Hassini and his International Magicians Society and is given out to invited guests at triennial banquets as well as in person by Hassini himself with greater frequency.[3]

[4] The award is intended to be a recognition for magicians who perform at the highest level of skills on national and international stages. Merlin award can be obtained in three ways. One is to attend Merlin Award banquet dinner on invitation, after being voted to receive the prize. Another is by participating and winning a Merlin Award competition organized by the IMS and held in different countries. Third way is for the organizers to travel to the magician's country to present the award there. The criteria considered are talent, showmanship, originality, skills, and an ability to entertain under any conditions.

The award statue was commissioned to over 100 art students in a nationwide search. The winning design was created by Carol Michaud, a New York University art student, in 1968.

List of Merlin Award recipients[edit]

Below are the list of past recipients of the award.[5]

2010 Awards[edit]

Below are the details of 2010 edition of Merlin Awards:[6]

  • Florian Zimmer- Most Creative Magician
  • Lu Chen- Most Original Magician

2011 awards[edit]

Popular magicians and illusionists like Morgan Strebler, Dekhati Magin and Gopinath Muthukad are among the winners of 2011 awards.[7][8][9]

2012 awards[edit]

Cripton and Renata were honored with the prestigious Merlin Award aboard the cruise ship "Spirit" of the Norwegian Cruise Line at the end of them show. Tony Hassini, the Captain, the Hotel Director, the Cruise Director were on stage for the Merlin Award ceremony for "Best Illusionist of the Year" and "Best Magical Assistant of the Year".

2013 awards[edit]

In August 2013, several magicians were honored with the coveted Merlin Award in Las Vegas. Johnny Thompson, juboraj, Paul Vigil, and Morgan Strebler, were among those that received the award.

In November 2013, Luca Volpe was the first Italian mentalist to receive the prestigious Merlin Award with the title of "Mentalist of the Year Europe".

2014 awards[edit]

In May 2014, Romanos was the first Greek mentalist to receive the prestigious Merlin Award as "Mentalist of the Year Europe 2014".

In May 2014, Moustapha Berjaoui was the first Egyptian illusionist ever to receive the Prestigious Merlin Award as "Best Illusionist Egypt 2014".

In November 2014, Antonio Arredondo a.k.a. Tonny Poker was awarded with two Merlin Medals for his original performance, one of the awards he received was for "Best Close-up Magic" and another for "Best Comedy Magic". He was the only double-recipient of this award in the Cali-magico competition held in Colombia.

2015 awards[edit]

Zenia Bhumgara. Her passion and enthusiasm for this offbeat career paid off on the third week of September when she was awarded the prestigious Merlin Award by the International Magicians Association in Mumbai, India.

Handy Altan. He is known for being one of the outstanding close-up magicians in Indonesia. His passion and enthusiasm in teaching magic to the lay people, developing the art itself, and his art-movement to unite magic art enthusiasts in Indonesia has been an excellent example. For this, in October 2015, he was awarded the prestigious Merlin Award by the International Magicians Society for the Best Magic Movement.

Cripton Magic. For the second time the Board of Directors of the International Magicians Society has chosen Altan to receive the Merlin Award for "Illusionist of the Year 2015" which is the highest title.

2016 awards[edit]

In October 2016, B. S. Reddy the illusionist from India received the International Merlin Award as "Most Original illusionist India 2016" from International Magicians Society (USA).

In May 2016, Hany Show received the Prestigious Merlin Award as "Best Stage Magic Middle East 2016".

2017 awards[edit]

In April 2017, The Italian Mentalist Luca Volpe has received his second Merlin Award as "Best Mentalist Europe".

The distribution of Merlin Awards to virtually unknown magicians in countries like Thailand, India and Vietnam and unethical[10] dealers like Tora Magic who received the "First Producer and Best Designer of Magic Items" Merlin Award has also caused many prominent magicians within the industry[11] to question the authenticity of the award as well as industry journalists. "A YouTube promotional video...also touts the Merlin Awards, which are handed out by a frizzy-haired Marty Allen look-alike named Tony Hassini. Casanova, meet every other magician in town!" - Mike Weatherford, Las Vegas Review Journal[12]

2018 awards[edit]

Tony Hassini visited Guam on January 4, 2018 to present magicians Chris & Ryan Zubrick the famed Merlin Award for “Best Family Magic Show” for their show “Zubrick”, currently running at the SandCastle Dinner Theater.

During the presentation ceremony Toni Hassini was quoted saying, “We look for originality. We look for showmanship and above all we look for magicians who can perform under any circumstances. And for the first time we are presenting the Merlin Award on Guam and to very fine and very talented two magicians, [The] Zubricks,” said Hassini.[13]

2020 awards[edit]

Luca Volpe (UK) - Mentalist of the Year for Europe, this is the third Merlin given to Luca.

Michele D’Auria (Italy) - Hypnotist of the Year

Renato Cotini (Italy) - Card Magician of the Year

Stefano Cavanna (Italy) - Bizarre Magician of the Year

On the 15th October the ceremony for Italy was broadcast in live streaming on the official facebook page: /merlinaward and the video is still available in the posts.

Yan Zhuang- Was awarded the Prestigious Merlin Award for Best Theatrical Artist.

Colin Eleazer - November 19, 2020, due to Covid-19 the Merlin was awarded virtually, by IMS President, Tony Hassini, for "Youth Magician Of The Year", and personally presented by the 2000 Merlin Award Winning Magician, Terry Evanswood, in his historically elegant home in Pigeon Forge TN. At the age of 15, Colin became one of the youngest recipients of this prestigious award.


  1. ^ "Merlin Awards", Retrieved 2 Oct 2010
  2. ^ Ellis, Tim. "Merlin Awards: Controversy". The Unofficial Archives of the Merlin Awards. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  3. ^ Hassini, Tony. "Merlin Awards". International Magicians Society. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Merlin award Criteria- IMS". Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  5. ^ "Merlin award recipients- IMS". Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  6. ^ "Merlin awards 2010- IMS". Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  7. ^ "Merlin award winner announced". Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  8. ^ "Merlin Award 2011". Archived from the original on 2011-08-22. Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  9. ^ "International award for Muthukad". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2011-04-05. Archived from the original on 2011-04-09. Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  10. ^ "Tora Magic Company's Modern Art- Magic Cafe". Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  11. ^ "Pat Fallon wins Merlin AWard- Genii". Retrieved 2009-04-27.
  12. ^ "Construction may keep tourists away - Las Vegas Review Journal". Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  13. ^ Ridgell, Clynt. "Sandcastle's Zubrick illusionist duo win magic industries most prestigious honor | PNC News First". Retrieved 2018-01-04.

External links[edit]