Potter & Potter’s magic auctions have covered some wide ground, including one-sheets from the golden age of magic and props and accessories once used by the late great Harry Blackstone, Sr. Their upcoming Spring Magic Auction promises to offer the same variety and quality of prestidigitation peculiarities, only this time, it’s all about Houdini.
The great conjuror and escape artist is the focal point for the upcoming auction, which takes place on April 28 at 10am Central. The highlight of this collection is easily a two-volume collection of spiritualism scrapbooks, written and compiled by Houdini and later bound into leather books by Joseph Dunninger. These volumes offer a glimpse into Houdini’s obsession with debunking spiritualists, with the second book almost entirely devoted to notes and newspaper clippings about author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s own belief in the supernatural. If you’re interested in snagging this stunning set for your own library, get ready to pay a pretty penny: the listing starts at $30,000, and is expected to sell for at least $40,000, if not more.
Another highlight includes a trove of unpublished Houdini history, including a manuscript for a Houdini biography written by his assistant and secretary, Elliot Sanford. Sanford followed Houdini around for years, and kept over 100 pages of records and notes on the magician’s exploits, including details about Houdini’s home and never-before-revealed info on the final year of his life. This one will run you at least $10,000.
There are, of course, loads of other, non-Houdini-related items up for auction, including an assortment of issues of The Sphinx (including the first volume!) starting at $250, a variety of vintage comedy “Bang” guns each starting at $150, as well as an assortment of old-timey posters for Carter the Great and Chung Ling Soo.
Like previous Potter & Potter auctions, you can check out a full PDF catalog of the available items here, or you can visit the Potter and Potter gallery in Chicago on April 26 and 27 to view items from the collection in person. For more info on the auction schedule and how to bid online or via phone, check out their website here.
The estate of Tommy Wonder has one final item for sale: the original trick Tommy used when performing Ring, Watch & Wallet, as seen in the above video. The current bid is resting at $405 US, with a little over 9 days remaining in the eBay auction.
To be very clear, this is an item best seen as a collector’s item as the description explains:
This trick has not been used for ~12 years. In my opinion, you should see it as a collectible rather than a trick you could actually use and perform. The pull feels a bit jerky and perhaps need to be serviced or replaced.
It comes with a certificate of authenticity, printed on Tommy Wonder stationery. Happy hunting!
Pawn Stars is the show that makes you wish your grandparents had an enormous attic, as it frequently features folks who find some intriguing tidbit lurking forgotten in the dust, only to discover it’s worth a small fortune. Such is the case when Murray SawChuck introduces Eric, his showroom manager, to the guys. Eric found an antique automaton that performs several different magic tricks in his grandma’s attic, and not only is it all original, it’s in spectacular working order. It’s a seriously cool piece.
Give the video a watch to learn some interesting facts about how automatons were crafted, why shiny silk degrades over time, and how much of a payday Eric can expect.
This stunning vintage fan from Abbott’s Magic is all wood and comes with the original instructions. Condition is listed as very good.