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Ricky Jay Collection Part II Fetches Nearly $518,000
Potter & Potter's remarkable event, featuring ephemera, correspondence and artifacts from the collection of the late actor, sleight-of-hand magician and noted author Ricky Jay, realized $518,000.
The 323 lot auction held on October 28, 2023 had a sell-through rate of 98% with an average lot value of $1,600. All prices noted include the auction house's 20% buyer's premium
The top lot in this sale was an archive of correspondence between Karl Germain (b. Charles Mattmueller, 1878–1959) and his assistant, student, successor, and friend, Paul Fleming. This collection of written materials from 1908 to 1959, estimated at $30,000-60,000, brought $66,000. A highlight of this grouping was a note from Germain explaining the construction, packing, and details of his one-man Spirit Cabinet, a routine he developed after his Chautauqua and Lyceum heyday, the secret of which was not revealed in the books authored by Stuart Cramer that chronicle Germain’s life and magic.
Three scrapbooks and other materials chronicling London's Bartholomew Fair and its popular entertainment, estimated at $8,000-12,000, realized $27,600. They were compiled in the 19th century and included more than 400 pages of notes, broadsides, engraved portraits, book extracts, news clippings, letters, and related memorabilia chronicling the August celebration held annually from 1833 -1855.
Three Shows In One. The World Famous Houdini, Master Mystifier, was estimated at $5,000-10,000 and fetched $14,400. The oversized white, black, and orange linen backed broadside was printed in 1925 and was decorated with Houdini’s bust portrait, bats, and a witch. It was made to promote Houdini’s final tour, which ended unexpectedly with his hospitalization after sustaining a blow to the stomach in his dressing room.
Hanlons’ New Superba. Two Modern Jonahs, estimated at $2,000-4,000, sold for $13,200. It was published in Cleveland by J. Morgan & Co. Lith. around 1900. The colorful one-sheet stone poster, the only known one extant, measured 28 × 42". It was illustrated with two sailors, one with a pegleg, in the belly of a giant black whale, while all manner of sea creatures and fish swirled around the scene.
An archive of tattooed people and tattoo-related memorabilia, estimated at $5,000-7,000 realized $10,800. This grouping included more than 600 20th century photographs of tattooed men and women, complemented by a collection of clippings, news stories, and ephemera related to tattooing and tattooed people. This impressive collection chronicled designs and art of many famous and little-known tattoo artists of the mid-twentieth century.
According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "No matter how unusual or out of the ordinary you might think Ricky Jay's tastes, this second sale from his storied collection proves that extraordinary objects on obscure entertainers always find buyers -- not to mention the fact that in most cases in this auction, there was strong competition for the lots. We're already looking forward to the next auction from Mr. Jay's fabulous collection." For more information contact Gabe Fajuri at (773) 472-1442 or firstname.lastname@example.org