CHICAGO – Potter & Potter Auctions will hold a 504-lot Winter Magic Auction on Saturday, December 10, starting at 10 am Central time. The auction house’s final magic sale of 2022 also features strong selections of Houdiniana, posters and antique books. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Of course, the sale features posters promoting some of the best known early 20th-century magicians. Chief among them is a circa-1928 linen-mounted broadside, known as Thurston Master Magician, Million Dollar Mystery. Estimated at $4,000-$6,000, it shows the magician performing this classic stage illusion.
Another magic poster must-have is Kellar the Great Magician, printed in Cincinnati and New York by The Strobridge Lithograph Co. in 1894. This linen-backed example depicts Kellar in a tuxedo with two red devils on his shoulders whispering into his ears. It is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.
Apparatus with ties to legacy magicians and makers of yesteryear include a pair of Tower Bean Pattern handcuffs believed to have been owned by Harry Houdini and estimated at $3,000-$5,000. This pair dates to 1909, is in working condition, come from the Radner collection and was formerly on display in the Houdini Historical Center in Outagamie, Wisconsin. The handcuffs measure 9-½in long when extended and retain the original museum tags and key.
Magic-related ephemera lots are led by a collection of about 59 bookplates from magicians, magic shops and magic collections, including one from Houdini’s library. The collection has an estimate of $400-$600.
Lot #27, a circa-1920 framed and matted bust photo portrait of Harry Houdini, is estimated at $3,000-$4,000. It is signed and inscribed, “To Harry Bussell / Love Laughs at Locksmiths / so does Houdini Leeds March 13/1920.”
Rounding out the December 10 sale are decorative items, automatons and other relevant antiques that bridge auction categories, such as a Robert-Houdin mantel clock. Estimated at $1,500-$2,500, this enameled iron and brass example was produced in France in the 1860s-1870s era. It features figures on an enameled stone base with brass feet, a black Roman numeral face and a hinged plate glass front door. It is marked “E. Robert-Houdin” and “94” on the movement and “Robert-Houdin” on the clock’s face.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/