Horror films are still hot in the movie poster collecting field.
In the first half of our September auction, conducted September 19th, 2015, the rare - and possibly unique - insert poster for the classic horror film Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi, brought a whopping $15,600 at the fall of the auctioneer's gavel, over 50% above the pre-auction estimate. Fierce competition from phone and online bidders helped the unknown poster whizz past the $4,000 starting bid quickly.
Another rare poster, for Roland West's early noir film, The Bat Whispers, also out-performed expectations, bringing in $7,800, against a pre-sale estimate of $4,000/$6,000.
Atlas Obscura at Potter & Potter
We're pleased to announce that the "definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places," Atlas Obscura, is partnering with Potter & Potter on September 17th.
In anticipation of our big Sept. 19th and 20th auction of vintage advertising, posters, toys, and coin-operated machines, we're collaborating with this fun "guide to the unknown" for a sort-of pre-auction party, starting at 7:30 on Sept. 17th.
Here are more details from the AO website:
"Our event will be a casual gathering, and you'll have the opportunity to ask questions about how antiques are valued, how delicate items are preserved, and what quality it is that makes something "collectible" rather than "junk." We'll even get a demonstration of the toys and coin-operated machines as we peruse highlights of the September collection before each item is won by the highest bidders at auction the following Saturday and Sunday.
Some of the items offered include vintage gum advertising, Coca-Cola collectibles, clocks, circus posters, jet-setter travel posters, vintage vending machines, battery operated toys, puzzles, puppets, ventriloquist figures, movie posters, and much more.
There will be no auction at our event, but you'll have lots of time to examine the items and learn some tips and tricks of the auctioneering trade."
Potter & Potter's next sale - on August 12 - takes place at the Magic Live! convention at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. This is the best-attended (and organized) magic event going, and we look forward to attending with eagerness. This year, we are doubling the size of our display in the dealer hall, and will pack our booth with goodies for sale -- as well as the items for our auction.
A range of books, posters, photographs, and apparatus will be offered, including the rare Kellar lithograph pictured here.
You need not attend the convention to bid in the auction, but there will be no online bidding for this auction, so contact us in advance if you would like to participate. You can leave absentee bids with us in advance of the auction.
See you in Las Vegas!
Discoverie of Witchcraft Sets New Record
Our May 31st auction featured a first edition of Reginald Scot's famous work, The Discoverie of Witchcraft, published in London in 1584. We are thrilled to report that the book sold for a final price of $45,600.00, a new world record public auction price for the book.
Unquestionably the most famous book in the history of conjuring, Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft was indeed a landmark publication in the English language – but for more than the fact that it was the first work to expose the methods behind an array of magic tricks.
Written by Scot as a refutation of the popular belief in demons, witchcraft, and associated satanic influences, the book identifies four different categories of supposed sorcerers: the downtrodden, poor and marginalized of society, mostly women; those with genuine mental problems who believed they indeed had supernatural abilities; genuinely evil people who used poison to harm others (as opposed to witchcraft); and conjurers, whose sleight-of-hand and trickery was mistaken for the “real thing.”
King James I was an affirmed believer in witches and their kind, and as such, ordered Scot’s book to be publicly burned. This may have been cause for more copies of the tome to be saved than scorched, but regardless of its history and the King’s public cry for its destruction, The Discoverie of Witchcraft remains an important work by a learned man who used science and logic to explain apparently supernatural feats. In the process, and unexpectedly, Reginald Scot authored a classic book in the world of legerdemain.
May 31st Auction Info
Our May 31st auction is just over one week away. Excitement is building and we have received many compliments regarding the catalog. Thanks for all of the praise!
In a departure from our usual procedure - for those of you who do not know - the auction will take place in Marshall, Michigan on the day following the Magic History Weekend. The sale and preview will be held at the Franke Center for the Arts. The auction begins at 10:00 am, Eastern Standard Time, with previews during the three days prior.
Potter & Potter's Chicago office will be closed during the convention and during the auction, but calls will be answered and responses to inquries will be made in a timely manner. If you have specific inquiries, email us directly for a quick response, or call the office number and we will reply as expediently as possible.
Good luck to everyone who participates, and to those of you attending the convention in Marshall, we'll see you there!
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You
Although the catalog for our April 4th 2015 auction went online a few days ago, this news entry has nothing to do with the sale's contents.
Instead, it's a preview of things to come - a brand new website from Potter & Potter. The launch date and exact nature of the site will be determined in the weeks to come, but let it suffice to say - for now - that anyone who has participated in our auctions or has an interested in used, collectible, and rare magicana will want to stay tuned for the big announcement. Below is a (blurry) photo of things to come. Stay tuned!
Robb Report - Mad about Houdini
The current issue of Robb Report carries a short piece about Houdini - and a mention of Potter & Potter and our recent Houdini auction. Read it by clicking here (or the image below).
Oh, and the scrapbook they mention at the top of the story sold for over $40,000 in our auction - more than double what the reporter estimated! We expect further coverage of the Houdini auction in October and November from two other magazines, so stay tuned.
Oh, and on a separate note, the catalog for our November 1st auction, featuring the collection of James B. Alfredson and personal memorabilia from the career of Channing Pollock is now online. Click here to download or purchase a catalog.
Houdini Industrial Complex - Salon.com
Our Houdini auction continues generating press. Today (Sept. 3, 2014), Salon.com ran a short story about the auction, and the mystique surrounding Houdini nearly 90 years after his death.
Click here (or the image below) to read the article by Rachel Shteir.
Houdini Auction Wrap-Up
Nearly 90 years after his death, Houdini can still pack 'em in.
Our August 23rd sale of Houdini memorabilia - the most significant offering of its kind in a decade - brought bidders and spectators alike out of the woodwork. A packed house of bidders, reporters, and gawkers was complimented on auction day by dozens more who participated on the phone, via absentee bids, and many hundreds more who placed bids online.
After the dust settled, Houdini's Double-Fold Death Defying Water Mystery took the prize as the top-selling lot, bringing in $66,000 (more than double its high estimate). Other items that outperformed expectations included a recently-discovered scrapbook kept by Houdini ($43,200), an unpublished manuscript on the subject of witchcraft ($18,000), and Houdini's "Cologne Papers" ($31,200).
A considerable amount of pre-auction publicity helped generate strong interest in other lots, too. Even non-Houdini material performed well in the auction. A follow-up story in the August 24th Chicago Tribune encapsulates what it was like to be in the room on auction day. (Some users have reported difficulty reading it - the Tribune keeps some of its content behind a subscribers-only pay wall. Sorry!)
Thanks to everyone who participated in the sale to make it a success. We'll see you all again for our next auction, on November 1st, 2014 - and for our next Houdiniana sale, which may take place sooner than you think!
Daily Beast Coverage
Today's Daily Beast contains a well-written and enjoyable story about tomorrow's Houdini auction. Click below to read the entire piece, and browse a slideshow of various lots in the auction.