CHICAGO —  Edwin A. Dawes (1925-2023) was a noted English biochemist who spent his career at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom, where he founded its department of biochemistry. But in his after hours, Dawes and his wife Amy were avid magicians, performing as Professor Bluffman and Madame Patrice. Dawes was also a prolific writer on the history of magic, authoring the authoritative works Great Illusionists and The Encyclopedia of Magic.

Amy predeceased Edwin in 2014, and now, with his passing at age 97, the first sale of his lifetime collection comes to market at Potter & Potter, with 448 lots crossing the block on Saturday, February 24. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

According to Gabe Fajuri, president at Potter & Potter Auctions, “There is no one in the magic collecting community whose name, accomplishments, and reputation commands more respect than Eddie Dawes. Perhaps more than anyone in the twentieth century, he has contributed to a wider scholarly knowledge of magic history through his writing and scholarship. I’m honored — thrilled, actually — to offer rarities from his collection at Potter & Potter. This is the first of several sales we will conduct from Eddie’s archives, and therefore the tip of the proverbial iceberg.”

Two lots share the top estimate of $10,000-$15,000. The first is a book printed in 1663 London and represents the sixth edition ‘with many additions.’ Hocus Pocus Junior. The Anatomy of Legerdemain. Or, The Art of Juggling set forth in proper Colours features 32 unnumbered leaves, a woodcut frontispiece, and woodcuts in the text. This is only one of two known examples of this exact edition. Dr. Dawes purchased it at a Sotheby’s auction in 1979.

Known as the ‘Queen of Magic,’ Adelaide Herrmann (1853-1932) began her career as the performing assistant to her husband, Alexander (1834-1896), popularly known as ‘Professor Herrmann’ or ‘Herrmann the Great.’ When he passed unexpectedly, Adelaide continued the act and performed into her seventies, finally retiring in 1928. This stone-lithograph poster dating to circa 1905 shows her solo act, billed then as The Flight of the Favorite. In this illusion, a Geisha character in one cabinet vanishes, only to reappear in a similar box some distance away. According to Potter & Potter’s experts, this is the only known example of this poster. It, too, is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.

American William Ellsworth Robinson (1861-1918) spent his entire magic career performing as Chung Ling Soo, Chinese Conjurer. He met an untimely demise as part of a bullet-catch trick that went awry. Chung Ling Soo. Chinese Conjurer is a circa-1910 three-sheet stone-litho poster from his heyday and is the first such example ever handled or seen by Potter & Potter’s magic experts. It carries an estimate of $8,000-$12,000.

One of the earliest works in English on magic tricks, the copy of  The Discovery of Witchcraft by Reginald Scot (1538-1599) that appears in the sale was printed in London in 1665 as a third edition. It has an estimate of $7,000-$9,000. And an autographed headshot of Harry Houdini (Erik Weisz, 1874-1926) brings up the spirit of the late conjurer for an affordable $1,500-$2,500.