CHICAGO — A dazzling array of magicana, some of which is coming to market for the first time, enters the stage at Potter & Potter’s Select Secrets sale, scheduled for Saturday, December 9. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Every respectable magic sale manages to conjure material relating to Erik Weisz (1874 – 1926), best known as Harry Houdini. Potter & Potter secured 18 Houdini-related lots, topped by this fantastic stone-lithography promotional poster. The artwork depicts Houdini preparing for his Milk Can Escape routine, with a cutaway view showing him crouched within while assistants pour water and eventually “lock” him inside. The 40 by 30in poster has minor restoration to fold lines and corners, and is estimated at $40,000-$60,000.

Suzy Wandas (birth name Jeanne Van Dyk, 1896-1986) is largely forgotten today, but was considered a star at manipulation magic, using cards, cigarettes, or anything at her disposal to demonstrate classic sleight of hand. Billed as “the lady with the fairy fingers,” she retired in 1959 and married a fellow performer. A collection of items related to her career is another prominent segment of the sale, headed by her touring gear and props, representing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of magic history. It is estimated at $5,000-$8,000.

Famed English magician John Nevil Maskelyne (1839-1917) was an early version of The Amazing Randi (James Randi, 1928-2020) — part skeptic and 100% illusionist. Maskelyne as a youth watched a Gloucestershire performance by the American traveling spiritualist act The Davenport Brothers. Maskelyne immediately figured out the illusion, built a cabinet and gave a presentation showing local townspeople how they had been fooled by the Americans. Randi, of course, became best known late in his career for debunking psychic Uri Geller and other spiritualists. Trained as a watchmaker, this tool kit given by the Maskelyne family to the consigner was the prized possession of the famed magician. It is estimated at $8,000-$12,000.