The McComb Legacy
McCombical™ Memories: The Auction of the Estate of Billy McComb™ Post-Auction Report Sunday morning, 9:30 am, September 7, 2008. Thank you all absentee and internet bidders, but I wish you'd been there to drink in the live atmosphere which was quite intoxicating. Not too practical for those of you who were bidding from other parts of the world, but at least it was the next best thing. As everyone took their places, the Inner Circle at the Magic Castle was transformed into a major auction house and the air was charged with trepidation and excitement. David Goodman, our legacy auctioneer, perched himself on a well-placed bar stool (only a few feet away from the live internet operator and recording clerk) and launched into a fast-paced, hilarious auction patter. Immediately audience paddles started to wave up and down and internet bids poured into the room. As David continued his auction gabble, the floor responded with cheers and laughter while, open-mouthed, I began to imagine I was in a bingo hall, a carnival and a cattle sale all rolled into one. But it wasn't all levity. There were serious deals being closed in the room and out in cyberspace. The collectors bid furiously for Roy Benson's 'Oh See The Pretty Thing', T. Nelson's Downs Coin on Pole, Billy's money grab bag, 3 lots of cups and balls, Robert Harbin's coin wand, birdcages and pulls and reels. Anything to do with Dai Vernon was very popular and many were disappointed to lose these lots. There were two exquisite silhouettes of Billy by Dai. The first was well-represented by bidders and went for the respectable price of $450, but when it came to the second (& the only other one left in the world) the tension mounted and you could be fooled into thinking you were watching championship tennis when all heads switched from bidder to bidder, as if following the ball, until finally the gavel dropped at $2050 to one lucky bidder! Another spectacular win was Chung Ling Soo's wig, which was just discovered a week before the auction, languishing in a box in the corner of my sitting room. David Copperfield was the envied winner at $2750 when he phoned in his bid and tirelessly kept going until ownership was confirmed to him. Within seconds after the hairpiece was sold, David Regal called out to Max Maven, "Hey Max, when you die, can I have your ponytail?" In addition to these stellar items, there were also great bargains to be had, particularly from Billy's library and his personal collection of props. My own favorites were Billy's socks and thumbtips. Many had politely advised me to remove these before the auction, but I stubbornly left them in the sale. I put in his 'card socks' which he used to joke about on stage & then magically the chosen card would be woven into the sock - a gag lot for $5, but someone wasn't messing about and paid $60 for them! The other gag lot was 25 thumbtips for $5, but these were taken even more seriously and went for $150 as the auctioneer said, "let's give him a hand!" Very many thanks to all who participated and helped. The floor staff were wonderful and even moved in a portable office with extra computers and printers generating invoices as the auction proceeded, thereby easing checkout. Jim Bentley did a fabulous job supervising all the security, runners and spotters, and brought in his colleagues from the Sheriff's Department who, in full uniform, ensured order and success. Thank you Milt, MFB and Castle Knights for making this terrific event possible This was one Sunday it really was worth getting out of bed early.
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