Collection of master magician Dai Vernon in Jan. 30 Potter & Potter sale

Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.
Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.
Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.

CHICAGO – Lovers of sleight-of-hand and collectors of magicana are already abuzz about Potter & Potter’s Jan. 30, 2010 sale featuring the collections of master magicians Dai Vernon and his student Bruce Cervon. Faster than you can say “Presto, change-o,” online bids on any item in this sale can be lodged absentee or in real time as the sale is taking place through LiveAuctioneers.com.

Dai Vernon (1894 -1992) was widely regarded as one of the most influential magicians of the 20th century, a revolutionary figure whose long life and career touched nearly every important magician of the century. Many of his personal effects will be included in the auction. Highlights include:

-Vernon’s prop case, including apparatus (cards, coins, Malini Egg Bag, Holdout, gaffs, silhouette shears and more) and tricks used by Vernon.

-Vernon’s first and most personal scrapbook, begun upon his immigration to New York City in 1915. Jammed with images of Vernon and his contemporaries, it serves as a unique archive of mostly unpublished images from magic’s golden age and beyond.

-In 1933, Vernon was one of an elite group of magicians elected to membership in the Academy of the Art of Magic. The medallion bearing Vernon’s initials and the academy’s logo will be offered in the sale. Recently cited by Magicol, journal of the Magic Collectors’ Association, as one token “you will never see,” this medallion is one of three examples known to exist.

-Many association items from Vernon’s collection will be offered. Among the vintage photographs signed and inscribed to Vernon are images of Cardini, Malini, Roy Benson and David Bamberg (Fu Manchu). Especially interesting is an early one-page letter from a young Doug Henning asking to become Vernon’s student.

-In 1922, Vernon flummoxed Houdini by performing close-up for the great escape artist. This earned Vernon the title of “The Man Who Fooled Houdini.” Houdini images from Vernon’s collection will be included in the sale, including a handsome, early photo, circa 1906.

-Bruce Cervon (1941-2007) moved to California from Ohio in the mid-1960s to study with Vernon. His long career included appearances before Hollywood’s elite, as well as prestigious corporate clients. Items from his private library, including unique annotated manuscripts, “underground” texts on sleight-of-hand (privately circulated, limited editions), and apparatus from his 40+ years as a professional entertainer (including his parlor and trade show acts) will be offered.

-Of specific interest to scholars will be the sale of Cervon’s correspondence. Countless letters from magicians detail not only gossip and personal information, but the finer points of various tricks and magic routines.

-The sale will also include over 150 lots of genuinely rare and collectible books and apparatus. Among them are a T. Nelson Downs-style Coin Ladder, props owned and used by Nicola, his father Nicoli, a large selection of limited-edition signed books from L&L Publishing, unusual Thayer-made apparatus, rare Mysto Magic sets, as well as texts on gambling, spiritualism and stage magic.

For information on any item in the Jan. 30 auction, call Potter & Potter at 773-472-1442 or email info@potterauctions.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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Click here to view Potter & Potter Auctions’ complete catalog.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.
Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.

Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.
Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.

Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.
Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.

Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.
Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.

Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.
Image courtesy of Potter & Potter.

Specialists of the South to auction estate of oilman Gordon Atwater, Jan. 30

Gorgeous six-drawer bird's-eye maple chest. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
Gorgeous six-drawer bird's-eye maple chest. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
Gorgeous six-drawer bird’s-eye maple chest. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – The estate of the late Gordon Ingham Atwater – the renowned petroleum pioneer who was an expert in oil and gas reserves in the United States and accurately predicted the first gas shortage prior to his death in 1973 at age 66 – will be held Saturday, Jan. 30, starting at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. Internet live bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com.

The 400-lot auction is being conducted in Panama City, not far from the upscale estate known as Osceola Lodge in nearby Lynn Haven, where Atwater and his wife, Emogene, lived from the early 1960s until their deaths.

For nearly 50 years, Osceola Lodge served as a showcase for the many wonderful furniture items and fine decorative accessories brought by the Atwaters from New Orleans – where Mr. Atwater cut his teeth as the city’s first consulting geologist, setting up his own business in 1945 – to Lynn Haven, where they fell in love with the area’s New Orleans-like environs. Osceola Lodge overlooks Anderson Bayou.

“It’s truly a privilege to be involved with this type of estate, one that’s so rich in history and local tradition,” said Logan Adams of Specialists of the South. “Mr. Atwater, his wife and family have all been forces in this community, enormously respected as people with taste and style. And their many possessions reflect that.”

The auction will feature beautiful period furniture items, to include a pair of fauteuil chairs with carved crests, a burl decorated slope-lid parlor desk, a set of six balloon chairs with cabriole legs, a walnut shelf-back sideboard with spool legs, a 5-shelf carved étagère, an “X”-style gout stool, and a diminutive circa-1840 Empire settee, 43 inches wide and in overall good condition.

Other furniture pieces include a walnut marble-top table with burl decoration, a 6-drawer bird’s eye maple chest, a gorgeous cane rocker, Hepplewhite-style sideboard, beautiful twin bed headboards, footboards and rails, a nice cedar chest, and a folding table with mother of pearl inlaid top. Also, an Empire sofa by the famous maker Francois Seignouret will be sold. Mr. Seignouret was a New Orleans furniture maker and wine merchant around 1808.

Decorative accessories include a Cybis porcelain figure collection, a ceramic jug with colorful corn design and cork base stopper, a George Washington glazed figure, carved soapstone bookends, a hand-painted Sevres Bavarian coffee pot marked “Marechal Niels” (signed A. Grenier), a Chinese vase with 3-dimensional flowers, a nice brass umbrella stand, French oyster plates (MR, France), a Haviland oyster plate, four hand-painted porcelain plates marked “Titanic Austria”, several detailed porcelain figures, a European bisque boat, and a cranberry cruet.

Additional decorative accessories will include early 20th century oak wall phones, Cambridge Statuesque glass, covered milk glass dishes (depicting a camel, swan, lion, horse and more), Hummels (to include Angel Serenade, Festival Harmony and Little Goat Herder), a collection of Boehm plates, a beautiful spool bed, Italian terra cotta figures, silver pieces (to include a large sterling bowl and plated meat platters), wood carvings, Oriental rugs (to include a colorful circa 1970 9′ x 12′ Sarouk, a 4′ x 6′ circa 1960 Jozaen, and a circa 1920 5′ x 7′ English rug), and a German wooden cuckoo clock with two birds to chirp the time.

Other decorative accessories include Irish Wade miniatures, Royal Worcester egg coddlers, 1854 Doulton Burslem dishes, Johnson Brothers Old Mill dishes, Copeland Mansard flower plates, a Haviland china dinner set, clear glass squirrel bookends, a folding fire screen with ormolu, sterling silver goblets, large and small bisque figures, a Steuben bowl, and a boxed carving set with stag horn handles. Also offered will be Eisenberg jewelry, a sable fur coat, a Gulbransen grand piano, and vintage books, to include children’s books such as a 1933 edition of Winnie the Pooh, with detailed black and white illustrations.

In the fine art category, anticipated top lots will include Italian carvings, such as a painted Madonna and Child figural work (signed M.K. Kaslatter), a lithograph of a countryside landscape, a kneeling nude bronze bookend (marked “J B 8036”), a framed still life or watercolor rendering of wine and fruit, and other notable works. Also offered will be a group of Native American and American Frontier art books.

Gordon Atwater was born in Milwaukee, Wis., but grew up in Iowa City, Iowa, where he went on to complete a Master’s degree in geology. He won the coveted Emmons Scholarship to Harvard, Yale and Columbia and actually worked on his Ph.D. at all three schools, finally completing it at the University of Wisconsin. He moved to New Orleans during Word War II to be part of the emerging gas and oil boom.

By the time he arrived in Florida, Atwater was already known worldwide for his advanced work in gas reserves and geology. His wife, the former Emogene Chapman, was also worldly and wise. But after their only child, Mimi, died of a brain aneurysm at age 29, the Atwaters made Osceola Lodge their haven. When Mrs. Atwater passed away in 1978, Osceola Lodge remained in the family.

Today, Osceola Lodge is the centerpiece of a gated community called Osceola Point. And true to what the Atwaters would have wanted, the area recalls City Park and Audubon Park in New Orleans. New homes are unmistakably Southern, and the streets have names like Rue Bocage and Rue Esplanade.

For additional information on any item in the Jan. 30 auction, call 850-785-2577 or e-mail specialists@knology.net. View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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Click here to view Specialists of the South’s complete catalog.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Handsome folding fire screen with ormolu. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
Handsome folding fire screen with ormolu. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

More than 300 lots of period furniture, decorative accessories and fine art will cross the block Jan. 30. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
More than 300 lots of period furniture, decorative accessories and fine art will cross the block Jan. 30. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

Italian carved and painted Madonna and Child, marked M.K. Kaslatter. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
Italian carved and painted Madonna and Child, marked M.K. Kaslatter. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

Diminutive Empire settee, circa 1840, 43 inches wide and in overall good condition. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
Diminutive Empire settee, circa 1840, 43 inches wide and in overall good condition. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

One of a collection of Boehm bird plates. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
One of a collection of Boehm bird plates. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

Hummel figurines (l to r: Angel Serenade, Festival Harmony, Little Goat Herder). Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
Hummel figurines (l to r: Angel Serenade, Festival Harmony, Little Goat Herder). Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.