Video Fridays: Ricky Jay’s History of Magic Collection

Courtesy of Sotheby's

In our spring 2016 issue, we interviewed master magician and book collector Ricky Jay on the occasion of the publication of his magnum opus and a related Met exhibition about seventeenth-century polymath Matthias Buchinger. Since Jay’s death in 2018, however, his collection has been in limbo.

Later this month, that collection finally heads to auction. Below is a one-minute overview, and what can I say? Prepare to be amazed! This is an incredible collection — from sixteenth-century witchcraft to Buchinger’s hand-drawn family tree to vintage Houdini posters (such as the one pictured above, estimated at $40,000-60,000).

Also, don’t miss Steve Martin’s essay on Jay, in which he writes, “Ricky’s legacy reminds us that a collection need not be an amalgamation of stuff, but a scholarly divination of what coheres and what informs, as well as a reminder that the almost unseen can be a valuable and colorful supplement to our human history.” Full text here.