Potter & Potter Auctions' April 28 Sale to Feature Over 700 Lots of Magic Memorabilia
Chicago, IL— Potter and Potter Auctions is pleased to announce this upcoming sale to be held on Saturday, April 28th, 2018 starting at 10am CDT at the company's gallery, located at 3759 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60613. All lots are on display and available for public preview on Thursday, April 26th and Friday, April 27th from 10:00am to 5:00pm in their facility.
This auction's selections of magic ephemera are simply spellbinding, with archives and research materials in the spotlight.
The top lot in this sale is #357, a mostly 1922-1925 era, two volume spiritualism scrapbook signed, kept, and annotated by Harry Houdini (1874-1926). Estimated at $30,000-40,000, the first book includes newspaper and news-magazine clippings from the US and abroad pertaining to spiritualism and related subjects. The second book is almost entirely devoted to coverage of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s belief in spiritualism and the supernatural. These scrapbooks offer fascinating, firsthand, and personal insights into the project of “spirit debunking” to which Houdini turned in the final chapter of his life and career.
Lot #360, Elliot Sanford’s Houdini manuscripts and archive, is another astonishing find for magic historians. Estimated at $10,000-15,000, it includes books, clippings, and ephemera, as well as over 100 pages of manuscripts that chronical Sanford's year with the Houdini family in tantalizing detail. Full of unpublished data and anecdotes, the information revealed within this collection is a book just waiting to be written - and its contents easily may realign early twentieth century magic history.
Lot #596, a magic trick archive from "Cardician" Ed Marlo (1913-1991), is estimated at $5,000-8,000. The contents dates from the 1950s to 1980s and include photos and manuscripts detailing Marlo’s magic effects. Many of the manuscripts include corrections, annotations, illustrations, and comments from Marlo in the margins. Our experts note, "This is overall an irreplaceable and significant archive of the great “behind the scenes” card wizard of the twentieth century, one of the true titans of the genre whose output was virtually unmatched."
Magic apparatus is another key category in this sale, with over 150 lots of props, tricks, cases, and trunks taking center stage. Lot #260, an Owen Magic Supreme 1966 Eclipse Vanishing and Appearing Lamp, is estimated at $4,000-5,000. This illusion involves an illuminated lamp disappearing from a table and quickly reappearing on a hand-held tray. Lot #208, a c. 1950's Rabbit Tray from stage magician and illusionist Harry Blackstone (1885-1965), is estimated at $1,000-1,500. One of Blackstone's signature tricks was changing a box of candy into a live rabbit; this wooden framed, canvassed compartment helped make that happen. And it’s all hands on deck for this sale's offering of cards and card apparatus, with 10 fine lots available. Lot #225, an unopened pack of Silver Peau Doux playing cards from 1934 is estimated at $250-360. These bridge-size fanning cards, marked Chicago Walgreen Co., were purchased by master magician Cardini (1895-1973) for use in his famous act.
Collectors are bound to be thrilled with this sale's over 200 lots of magic books on offer. Lot #141, The Vernon Chronicles: The Lost Inner Secrets, Volumes I - IV, is estimated at $3,000-5,000. Only 14 copies of this privately offered, numbered, and signed quartet were produced in the 1987- 1992 timeframe. Each book in this majestic set is detailed with half morocco over marbled boards, raised bands, a tooled spine, and 14-karat gold stamping, and is housed in a matching cloth slipcase. Lot #159, a first edition of Edward Sachs' Sleight of Hand from 1877, is estimated at $1,000-1,500. This early, handsome, and important early 204 page book has gilt edges and is stamped ornamentally in silver, gilt, and black. And two books with Houdini connections are certain to cast a spell over enthusiasts. The first, lot #361, is a Houdini-signed 1913 copy of Knotting & Splicing Ropes and Cordage, estimated at $1,200-1,800. This edition, edited by Paul Hasluck and published in London, contains occasional underlining, annotation, and ink drawing in the text, probably by multiple hands. And the second, lot #380, is Houdini's own Houdini’s Paper Magic, estimated at $1,800-2,600. Published in 1922, this example has been inscribed and signed by Houdini.
This Magic Memorabilia sale closes the loop with fantastic assortments of photos, advertisements, costumes, and other rarities. Perhaps the pinnacle of the 130 posters and artwork on offer is lot #387, The Jail Breaker and Dexerous Handcuff King Houdini poster, estimated at $3,000-5,000. This eye-catching, two color broadside is linen backed and measures 35" x 11". A presidential caliber highlight is lot #369, a spirit photo of Houdini with Abraham Lincoln’s ghost, estimated at $500-750. Lot #602, a wine-colored brocade jacket and white silk shirt worn by Dutch magician Tommy Wonder (1953-2006) is estimated at $1,500-2,000. And how about gifting an emerging young magician in your life with lot #350, a c. 1930 A.C. Gilbert Magic Exhibition Set No. 2005, estimated at $200-300? Its fantastically illustrated box cover proudly promotes it as, "A fascinating collection of the tricks, sleight of hand, illusions etc. of world famous magicians with illustrated book of instructions. A set for boys and grown-ups, too."
According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "We are delighted to offer magic enthusiasts these exceptional and well curated lot selections. The Sanford and Marlo archives are once in a lifetime offerings, and it is thrilling to consider what secrets they may hold. They would be particularly appealing to historians, museums, and academic research organizations worldwide. Sach's Sleight of Hand book is also one of my favorites from this sale. The only other edition I know of is in my personal collection. I recommend it for both its content and stunning presentation."
Potter and Potter, founded in 2007, is a Chicago area auction house specializing in paper Americana, vintage advertising, rare books, playing cards, gambling memorabilia, posters, fine prints, vintage toys, and magicana - antiques and collectibles related to magic and magicians. For more information on this sale and Potter & Potter Auctions, please see www.potterauctions.com. If you can't make the auction in person, bids for these extraordinary offerings can be placed directly on the company's website, by phone by arrangement, or via an absentee bid form, which can be accessed by clicking here.
Image: Lot 360 Elliot Sanford’s Houdini Manuscripts and Archive. Estimate $10,000-15,000.