Gambling Memorabilia featuring The Collection of Tom Blue
Over the course of several decades, Tom Blue has assembled one of the most impressive gambling collections in the United States. Tantalizing selections of rare and antiquarian volumes from his library will lead off the auction, including titles on poker, playing cards, cheating and advantage play, notorious gamblers, cons, criminals, and related subjects. Complementing the books, the sale will feature scarce supply catalogs, antique prints, collectable playing cards, and posters.
A fine array of the appurtenances of old-time gambling halls—dealing shoes, check racks, case keepers, layouts, and more—will also come up on the block. Crooked and square equipment, Bakelite, bone, and mother of pearl chips, dice, and antique gaming sets will round out the day.
Catalogs ship approximately three weeks before the auction. Previews will be held in our gallery March 27-29, 10-5pm.
The Rawlins Magic Collection I
Our inaugural magic auction of 2019 was the first of four sales from the collection of Jim Rawlins, a devoted student of magic and its history, who spent nearly three decades building an impressive, important, and diverse collection. A finely curated selection went on the block, including choice objects in every collecting category. Association items from the careers of modern master magicians - Germain, Joseffy, Thurston, Blackstone, and more - was offered side-by-side with vintage apparatus (including many Thayer and Owen-made props), signed photographs, posters, and ephemera. Click below to view prices realized.
Catalogs ship approximately three weeks before the auction. Previews will be held in our gallery Feb. 20—22, 10—5pm.
Fine Books & Manuscripts • Chicago
We start the new year with an auction of books and manuscripts focused on Chicago, celebrating the city’s art and architecture, literature, sports, notable inhabitants, and historic events from the Great Fire to the present. Highlights include scarce pre-Fire imprints, early Chicago Cubs sheet music, and a vintage model of Fort Dearborn. Other sessions in the sale will feature comic books, children’s literature, Americana, fine prints, vintage photography, and posters.
Winter Magic Auction - Online Only
On December 15th Potter & Potter offered some 200 choice magic collectibles in an online-only auction. Posters, books, ephemera, and magic sets - perennial holiday favorites of yesteryear - were included. The auction was conducted exclusively on Potter & Potter's online bidding platform.
Vintage Travel Posters
Our December auction featured hundreds of important vintage travel posters. From the works of famous designers - Galli, Klein, and their contemporaries - to the jet-setting advertising of TWA, United, and American Airlines, the sale was made up of scenes and scenery as depicted by the great graphic artists of the travel industry over the last century. The sale included a broad range of categories: ski, railroad, airline, and ocean travel.
Freakatorium: The Collection of Johnny Fox
Alive! On the Inside! Potter & Potter was pleased to present the over-the-top, one-of-a-kind Barnumesque collection of renowned sword swallower, comedian, magician, and curiosity seeker Johnny Fox.
Fox amassed an amazing assortment of natural and unnatural curiosities which he displayed at The Freakatorium, "El Museo Loco," a singular establishment he operated from 1999 - 2005. The entire contents of the collection went on the block, including sideshow banners, Johnny Eck memorabilia, circus posters, Fiji mermaids, and even the disembodied wax head of Mao Zedong.
Catalogs have been reprinted and are available in limited quantities.
Our October 2018 sale featured the Houdini collection of John Bushey. Known as a true scholar and student of all things Houdini and escape related, John assembled one of the best collections of Houdini pitch books and related items in America. Bushey's collection was be complemented by a strong selection of magic memorabilia, books, and posters. In addition, the auction featured a selection of choice antique apparatus, and the largest collection of Mikame Craft-made props to ever come to market. A collection of original props, books, and decorative objects from the collection of Kalanag, the famous German illusionist, were also offered.
Coin-Op & Advertising Auction
Our annual coin-op and advertising auction featured jukeboxes, vending machines, arcade games, signs & figural advertising, slots and gambling machines, vintage toys, and much more. Some 400 vintage machines went on the block. A strong selection of beer advertising was also included. Among the strong results were a Charles Fey countertop high striker which commanded over $40,000.
Summer Magic Auction
Our summer sale of magicana is set to included collectibles in all familiar categories, including vintage posters, apparatus, antiquarian books, and ephemera. Highlights included rarities advertising the shows of the Hanlon Brothers, early and uncommon conjuring catalogs, and relics from the career of Howard Thurston. A strong selection of nineteenth century conjuring-related prints, along with a large offering of German-made micro-magic will also be included. The cover lot, a three-sheet Thurston levitation lithograph, brought over $22,000.00.
Fine Books & Manuscripts
Our summer book, manuscript, and memorabilia sale featured several categories: historical documents and Americana, modern literature, science, math, and children's books, autographs, and periodicals. Featured categories included travel books, political memorabilia, aviation, and American history objects. Accompanying the artifacts, books, and manuscripts were a selection of vintage prints, maps, and posters.
The David Baldwin Magic Collection II
The second offering from David Baldwin's collection featured automatons, magic apparatus (both vintage and modern), ephemera, Houdiniana, stone lithographs, broadsides, and mystery clocks.
Selections from the famed Raymond/Gibson collection, including personal property of Maurice "The Great" Raymond went on the block. Choice examples of props manufactured by Okito, Thayer, Klingl, Willmann, Williams, Beadle, and others, rounded out the sale.
Our May Gambling Auction featured the collection of Bob Rosenberger. The sale included an array of truly scarce and rare material related to gambling, poker, playing cards, and other games of chance. A strong selection of books and periodicals, cheating devices (holdouts, crooked dice, etc.), vintage gaming tables, and faro equipment were also offered.
Sale highlights included Lot 151: Faro Exposed selling for $24,000, Lot 126: Advantage Card Playing and Draw Poker selling for $14,400, and Lot 249: Will & Finck Brass Sleeve Holdout going for $12,000.
Spring Magic Auction
Our spring sale of magic memorabilia featured two recently-rediscovered Houdini scrapbooks, never before made available for public sale. In addition, the auction will included Houdiniana in a range of categories - glass slides, autographs, books, and photographs. The Houdini memorabilia was complemented by a diverse offering of vintage and antiquarian magic books, posters, broadsides, ephemera, and vintage magic apparatus
From hundreds of movie posters, to signed and glamour photographs, rare documents (including one of Katherine Hepburn's first contracts), to costumes, props, and personal relics (from the careers of Garbo, The Golden Girls, Elvis, and more), our April 7th sale featured something for collectors at all levels, beginning and advanced alike. Offerings included collectibles from the worlds of film, television, music, the stage and even the circus big top.
The Magic Collection of John Daniel
Our first magic auction of 2018 featured the collection of John Daniel. The consummate collector, Daniel was also a formidable performer, builder, mover and shaker in the magic world for decades.
His collection includes rarities from the shop and lathe of Floyd Thayer (for a time, Daniel owned the Owen Magic, successor to Thayer), vintage magic posters, spook show memorabilia, personal artifacts and relics from the show of Dante (Harry August Jansen), and illusions, tricks, trunks, theatrical material, and costumes from the Virgil & Julie show, among other curiosities.
Fine Books & Manuscripts
A previously unknown archive of documents, books, and photographs related to the life and presidency of Harry S. Truman led the sale, including many treasures drawn directly from the files of one of his closest associates, Matthew Connelly.
The sale also featured high spots in several broad categories: literature, science and math, children's books, autographs, pulps and monster magazines. A large and diverse selection of private press publications was offered. Accompanying the books and manuscripts was a selection of vintage prints and posters.
Winter Magic Auction
Our December sale featured magic collectibles in a wide range of categories. From uncommon Chung Ling Soo posters to early broadsides, a selection of rare and unusual Taytelbaum-made tricks, choice ephemera, collectible apparatus, and antiquarian books, the auction featured "something for everyone," beginning and advanced collectors alike.
A selection of escape artist-related items, including handcuffs, locks, keys, and memorabilia, was auctioned, along with a selection of marionettes, Punch & Judy puppets, and ventriloquist's figures.
Circus - Sideshow - Wild West
From Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey to Buffalo Bill, sideshow banners, carnival rides, carousel horses and more, our November sale will feature relics from the "greatest shows on earth." The auction will include posters, broadsides, costumes, personal memorabilia, carousel horses, carnival rides, Kelty photos, and more.
Catalogs ship three weeks before the auction. The auction takes place at 10:00 am on Saturday, November 18th in our Chicago Gallery. Previews take place in the gallery from November 15-17 from 10am-5pm, CST.
Blackstone Magic Auction
Our October sale featured relics from the career of Harry Blackstone, Sr. In a career spanning some five decades, Blackstone cemented his reputation as the leading stage magician of his generation. He filled theaters from coast-to-coast, became a comic book hero, endorsed products, and cast a magic spell over theater patrons for nearly half a century.
From Blackstone's own scrapbooks, to paintings, original cartoon art, and even Houdini memorabilia, the sale set records in many categories. Blackstone's stage-worn tuxedo brought $45,600, and a scrapbook of original cartoon art made for him sold for $33,600. Houdini photos, handcuffs, and other items also set records.
Coin-Op & Advertising
Our September 2017 auction featured choice coin-operated machines and vintage advertising, including the collection of Doug & Nancy Cain. Over 250 vintage machines in a wide variety of categories went on the block, including vending, slots & gambling, vintage arcade machines, and more. Vintage advertising items offered included posters, lithographs, and trade signs. The auction was rounded out by a selection of quality vintage toys and general antiques.
Sleight of Hand - The Jeff Busby Collection
Our August 19th auction featured the extensive magic collection of Jeff Busby. Highlights of the sale included written correspondence between Dai Vernon and Faucett Ross selling for over $50,000, as well as an archive of correspondence between Ross and Charlie Miller selling for $48,000. Click to view prices realized.
Fine Books & Manuscripts
The inaugural Fine Books and Manuscripts auction at Potter & Potter auctions will feature high spots in a number of collecting categories, including printed and manuscript Americana, modern first editions, travel and exploration, natural history, fine bindings and continental books from the 16th century to present day.
Pulp comics, science fiction and fantasy will lead the literature session, including a rare complete run of The Shadow, being the author, Walter B. Gibson's, own set, his names lettered in gilt on the spines of each volume.
Catalogs ship three weeks before the auction. The auction takes place at 10 am on Saturday, July 8th in our Chicago Gallery. Previews take place in the gallery from July 5-7 from 10am-5pm CST.
Grossman/Nicholson Magic Collection II
Our June auction featured rarities from the Grossman/Nicholson magic collection. Among the auction highlights were objects related to great magicians of yesteryear: Houdini, Robert-Houdin, Thurston, Herrmann, Kellar, and Frederick Eugene Powell. Association items, antiquarian books, and unusual apparatus went on the block, along with scarce lithographs, broadsides, and advertising from the "golden age" of magic.
The catalog featured a special translucent cover design showcasing a series of lantern slides used by Houdini in his spiritualism lectures. A few copies remain.
Gambling Memorabilia Auction
Our May auction featured gambling memorabilia in a wide range of categories, from a first edition of Erdnase's famous book (sold for $10,200.00), to slot machines, trade stimulators, and a world-class playing card collection. Also on the block were unusual cheating devices, books on cons, horseracing, and poker. The sale additionally featured poker chips, artwork and posters with a playing card/gambling theme.
Spring Magic Auction
Of special import were a strong selection of Houdini-related material, including personal family photographs, documents, and letters.
A crown-shaped jeweled brooch, formerly property of Mrs. Harry Houdini and gifted to her by Russian royalty, sold for $72,000.00.
Movie & Music Memorabilia
Our March auction featured entertainment memorabilia: autographs, instruments, posters, rock & roll, and KISS collectibles.
An assortment of movie posters and memorabilia - from the silent to the modern eras - was offered. Contracts, personal photographs, costumes, signed instruments, a collection of 16mm films, and more went on the block - some 700 lots in all. A large collection of Hollywood photos brought $22,800.00.
The Golden Age of Magic Posters - Part II
The second auction of the Nielsen Magic Poster Collection proved highly successful. A Houdini three-sheet Water Torture Cell poster sold for $114,000.00, a new world record price for a magic poster sold at public auction.
Deluxe hardbound special edition catalogs are available - as a companion to the previous volume (which can still be purchased by clicking here).
A combined edition of the auction catalogs - with a large number additional images and information not published in either volume - will be published in 2017. Contact us now to reserve your copy.
Winter Magic Auction
Highlights from out final sale of the year included a Chung Ling Soo poster selling for $18,000, The Discoverie of Witchcraft going for $16,800 and a Clown Automaton selling for $10,200.
The Magic Collection of David Baldwin
Our annual Halloween auction included the sale of a Robert-Houdin Electric Pendulum Clock for $60,000, as well as The Great Raymond's Hand of Fate - made by Okito - selling for $36,000.
Advertising, Toys, CoinOp
The first day of our annual summer antiques sale featured vintage toys, a wide array of antique and vintage advertising including tins, pocket mirrors, signs, radios, trays, and much more.
Illustration Art & Posters
The second day of our annual summer antiques sale featured hundreds of pieces of original illustration art from the early to mid twentieth century. The vintage posters and prints in the section part of the day covered many subject areas including travel, theatrical, automotive, music and entertainment, and more.
Magic Old & New
Our Magic: Old & New auction featured antiquarian and modern books, magnificent prints, engravings, and posters, fine pieces of conjuring apparatus, and automatons. A Dai Vernon silhouette of Houdini sold for $10,200.
Three Ring Auction!
Included in our 3 Ring Auction were a vast array of circus, side show and wild west memorabilia, including photographs, autographs, wagons, banners, wood carvings, signs, and other objects. Three separate Buffalo Bill's Wild West billboards sold for $12,000.
The Nielsen Collection Part I
Included in the first part of the sale of Norm Nielsen's magic poster collecton were vibrant stone lithographs representing nearly every great magician of the 20th century. A three sheet Houdini poster went for $45,600 and an Okito portrait poster sold for $26,400.
Two of a Kind
Our 2016 spring gambling auction included a wide array of vintage poker chips, truly rare books on cheating at cards, unusual holdout devices, many ivory objects, salesman's samples, slot machines, prints & graphics, and more. The top sale of the auction was Frank Bonville's The Little Secrets at $20,400.
The first section of this auction featured choice memorabilia related to the most famous magician and escape artist the world has ever known: Harry Houdini. A massive scrapbook compiled by Houdini sold for $51,600 and a previously unknown manuscript coauthered by HP Lovecraft and Houdini went for $33,600.
The Davenport Magic Collection
The second half the April auction featured items from the collection of Lewis Davenport & Co. of London. A Robert-Houdin Glass Column Mystery Clock sold for $50,400.
1001 Magic Tricks
The first sale of 2016 was the second auction of the magic collection of Bill King. Highlights included the Kellar poster A Walk in the Woods selling for $15,600 and an inscribed Eva Kellar portrait going for $5,560.
Winter Magic Auction
Top sales of our annual winter auction were an 1885 Automaton Stull Pocket Watch at $24,000, a looming Orange Tree Automaton by Pierre Mayer at $8,400 and the Chung Ling Soo poster - Birth of the Pearl - for $5,760.
Grossman/Nicholson Magic Collection
Our October sale featured selections from the Dr. John Henry Grossman/Nelson Nicholson magic collection. W.H. Crambrook’s Catalogue of Magical Curiosities and Deceptions sold for a record $64,800. Other top sales included Cardini's Billiard Ball Set for $28,800 and an outstanding collection of Magician Postcards for $18,000.
Advertising, Coin-Op & Vintage Posters
Our two-day September auction featured nearly 1000 lots of vintage advertising, toys, coin-operated machines, and vintage posters. The top sale of the auction was a 1947 Bela Lugosi Dracula poster which went for $15,600.
Magic Memorabilia at Magic Live
Our August 2015 auction took place at Magic Live! in Las Vegas. A range of books, posters, photographs, and apparatus were offered on display at our booth.
Gambling Memorabilia & Rare Playing Cards
The June 2015 sale featured the collection of the late Ronald Wohl, who had an assortment of gambling devices, prints, books, and holdouts. A first edition copy of Erdnase's The Expert at the Card Table brought $10,200. Other top sales included a table hold out device for $10,800 and an ivory poker chip set at $8,400.
Old & Rare Conjuring Books
Our May 2015 sale took place in Marshall, MI and featured over 100 choice and rare antiquarian volumes, as well as a mixture of vintage magic props, posters, and ephemera. A first edition volume of Reginald Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft brought $45,600. Other top sellers were The London Conjuror for $13,200 and A Letter to The Town, Concerning the Man and the Bottle at $10,800.
The Magic Collection of Rich Bloch
In April 2015 Potter & Potter offered the magic collection of Richard Bloch up for sale at public auction.
The Collection of JP Jackson
Our first sale of 2015 featured the collection of JP Jackson of San Diego, California.
Fall Magic Auction
Our fall auction involved two important components; a selection of memorabilia related to the career of Channing Pollock and the library of noted author, bibliographer, and historian James B. Alfredson.
Our summer auction featured choice memorabilia related to the most famous magician and escape artist ever: Harry Houdini.
The Devil's Picturebook
Potter & Potter’s two- day May auction featured a gigantic and remarkable assortment of rare & unusual playing cards and gambling-themed collectibles, including playing cards, porcelain, artwork, and advertising.
Spring Magic Auction
Our spring auction included a wide range of collectibles and many stone lithographs from the collection of the late John Salisse, and featured several relics from the Bamberg dynasty, among them Okito's Mat Trick and Dragon robes worn by both Okito and Fu Manchu.
The Collection of Burton S. Sperber
Our winter sale featured the library of Burton S. Sperber, who amassed an astounding collection on the subject of conjuring. Highlights included trade cards, periodicals, rare and collectible books from 1584 to the present day.
The Collection of Bill King
Our fall auction featured a spectacular collection of vintage magic apparatus from the collection of Bill King.
Magic Memorabilia at Magic Live
On August 14th we held a mini auction at Magic Live! at the Orleans hotel in Las Vegas.
Summer Shelf Sale
Our Summer Shelf Sale included an astonishing quantity of collectible and contemporary magic books - nearly 1000 in all.
No printed catalog was published for this auction. A downloadable and printable PDF version is available.
Gambling Memorabilia Auction
Our annual gambling memorabilia auction included early books on cards, dice, roulette and "advantage play"; as well as collectible playing cards, casino memorabilia, poker chips, roulette wheels, artwork with a playing card theme, and cheating devices.
Cardini - The Suave Deceiver
On April 6, 2013, Potter & Potter offered the personal property of the influential magician Cardini at public auction. Included in the sale were the props and costumes he made famous, playbills and posters, association items, correspondence, Cardini's scrapbooks, unpublished photographs, awards, tokens, and much more. A closely-curated selection of Houdiniana, rare books, ephemera, and apparatus from private collections rounded out the sale. The auction set records, with many lots bringing astonishingly high prices.
Winter Magic Auction
Our winter auction included a variety of rare magic books, posters, and unusual pieces of apparatus culled from private collections. Among the highlights were a selection of rare and unusual Thayer-made props, an assortment of Eddy Taytelbaum's fabulous hand-made micro-magic props, Houdini ephemera and handcuffs, early hand-colored prints, and a choice selection of magicians' tokens and advertising pocket mirrors.
The Collection of Charles Reynolds
On October 27th, 2012 Potter & Potter conducted an auction of the collection of illusion designer, author, consultant and photographer Charles Reynolds. Reynolds' collection includes many of the magic posters he so loved, along with an extensive working library of conjuring texts. Prominently featured will be Reynolds' collection of mentalism-related material, including apparatus, book tests, and unusual publications on the subject of mind reading.
Gambling Memorabilia Auction
Potter & Potter conducted its second annual sale of rare gambling books, playing cards, early gambling supply and coin-op catalogs, trade stimulators, cheating devices and associated ephemera. The auction also featured mob memorabilia with direct ties to a prohibition-era illegal casino operated by Al Capone's closest bodyguard, Louis Campagna. Catalog out of print.
The Collection of John McKinven
On May 13, 2012, Potter & Potter offered the collection of John A. McKinven, noted craftsman, author, and collector at public auction. The auction included many of McKinven's famous and finely-crafted wood turnings, his re-creation of DeKolta's famous expanding die, rare books, ephemera, and early magic sets. The two top sellers were an 1844 W.H.M. Crambrook’s Catalogue for $31,200 and Al Flosso’s Coin Pail and Coins selling for $13,200.
Larry Jennings Collection
Auction of the collection of famed card expert and sleight-of-hand artist, Larry Jennings. Highlights included Dai Vernon memorabilia and props, and a copy of Erdnase's book inscribed and signed by Vernon, Dr. Daley, Jennings, Mike Skinner, and Charlie Miller. The latter sold for $9,600.00.
Salon de Magie
A selection of magic memorabilia from the legendary collection of Ken Klosterman's Salon de Magie was conducted in October, 2011. The top sale was a 1910 Conjuror clown musical automaton for $15,600.
Magic Live #1
A "sampler" auction was conducted in August 2011 at the MAGIC Live! convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.
An auction of the collections of Tom Mullica and Prentice Taylor was conducted in May, 2011. Featured lots included custom-made Merv Taylor apparatus, Mullica's own magic props and apparatus, and a host of rare books and Houdini handcuffs. The surprise of the auction was the original Mullica Wallet selling for $9,600.
On March 26, 2011, Potter & Potter conducted an auction of rare magic and circus posters, including one of six known examples of a 1902 Houdini poster showing the master mystifier standing before a German court. The poster was discovered in the basement of a suburban Chicago home and sold for $30,000. Catalog out of print.
Gambling Memorabilia Auction
Auction of rare gambling books, cheating devices, punch boards, roulette wheels, poker chips and associated items. Included the gambling device collection of Raymond J. Goulet, as well as an assortment of magic memorabilia. The auction featured S.W. Erdnases's Expert at the Card Table on the cover, which fetched a record-setting price, as well as a copy of F.R. Ritter's Advantage Card Playing and Draw Poker, which garnered a world-record price of over $19,000.
Auction of the collection of Herb Zarrow, the legendary New Jersey card magician and sleight-of-hand student. Complemented by the personal property of Paul Fox (including many of his own props), and rarities from the archives of the late, great Dai Vernon. The top sale was a bound complete set of the Sphinx going for $10,800.
The Collection of Jay Marshall Part IV
Fourth auction of magic memorabilia from the collection of Jay Marshall. Catalog now out of print. The cover depicted one of the sale's highlights: Fred Kaps' rabbit cane, a prop used by the famous Dutch magician on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Dai Vernon/Bruce Cervon Collections
Auction of the collections of Bruce Cervon and Dai Vernon. Included Vernon's prop case and personal scrapbooks, as well as rare photos, props, and associated items.
The Collection of Jay Marshall Part III
Third auction of magic memorabilia from the collection of Jay Marshall.
Marketplace Auction: Magic
Auction of magic memorabilia from varied consignors, including autographs, books, posters and apparatus.
The Magic Collection of Jay Marshall
A selection of books, apparatus and memorabilia from the collection of Jay Marshall.