Auctions!

Fujari, Gabe. Rare Posters.Auctions abound this month. First up, the new Potter & Potter auction catalog for their March 26, 2001 “Rare Posters” Sale arrived early last week (Full PDF here).

  • Fujari, Gabe. Rare Posters: Conjuring, Circus and Allied Arts. Chicago: Potter & Potter Auctions, Inc. 2011. 55 pp. Cover | Full Title | Complete Text

I don’t have the wallet to be a poster collector, but a few things things caught my eye:

1 – Introductory Essay.  An “adapted reprint” of the Introduction from 100 Years of Magic Posters from the late Charles Reynolds and Regina Reynolds appropriately starts off the catalog.  It’s great to see these Potter & Potter take a page or two, as they consistently have over the years, to honor the subject or collector at auction.

Their January auction Card Table Artifice & Legerdemain was no different, and cleverly paid homage to Erdnase (the cover auction) in the catalog title page and also in the preface.  A side-by-side of the auction catalog (left) and Erdnase:

At left, Fujari's auction catalog preface. At right, Erdnase's classic text.

2- Full color publications seem to have finally become cost effective for the low print runs of conjuring books over the past year (think the Taschen book, Beating a Dead Horse, Classic Correspondence I…) but gets put to no greater use than here with full color reproductions of every single poster in-line with the lot descriptions.  I believe that’s a first for magic auction catalogs.

3 – The now-customary final page previewing the next upcoming auction.  In this case, “Tom-Foolery, the personal property and collection of Tom Mullica, including memorabilia from his legendary Tom-Foolery magic bar in Atlanta, the tricks that made him famous, and the props from the Nicotine Nincompoop cigarette act that took him around the world.” Tom briefly discusses auction his gear towards the end of a Dec 2010 Magic Newswire interview

4 – The cover image of Houdini’s “Ehrenklärung! Im Namen des König’s Wilhelm II. Kaiser v. Deutschland” (misspelled here in the lot description) has always been a favorite of mine.  It’s been reprinted before – you’ll find a black & white reproduction in 100 Years of Magic Posters and a very poor reproduction on page 45 of Milbourne Christopher’s Houdini: A Pictorial Life, but here enlarged and wrapping around the cover with full bleed – it looks fantastic!  Too bad, as the lot commentary claims, only five copies are known to exist and the estimate is $15,000-$20,000!  John Cox discusses the poster a bit more over on his blog Wild About Harry

Potter & Potter have developed quite the knack for auctions over the years and their catalogs are first-rate.  They appear to have effectively bumped Swann Galleries out of the business; presumably the pool of quality collections is too small for two companies to make a living.  We haven’t seen the once-annual October Swann Magic auction since 2007, the same year Potter & Potter scored their first Jay Marshall auction, though Swann’s website still lists Magic “specialist” Gary Garland on staff…

  • Christopher, Milbourne. Houdini: A Pictorial Life. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company. 1976. 218 pp. Cover | Full Title
  • Erdnase, S. W. Artifice Ruse and Subterfuge at the Card Table: A Treatise on the Science and Art of Manipulating Cards. N.P.: Published by the author. 1902. 205 pp. Cover | Full Title
  • Fujari, Gabe and England, Jason. Card Table Artifice & Legerdemain. Chicago: Potter & Potter Auctions. 2011. 60 pp. Cover | Full Title
  • Reynolds, Charles and Reynolds, Regina. 100 Years of Magic Posters. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. 1976. 112 pp. Cover | Full Title
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