Theo Bamberg (Okito) cabinet makes $10,000 in Chicago

A checker cabinet made by Theo Bamberg (aka Okito) proved the top lot of a sale of magic memorabilia on February 7, realising $10,000.

It achieved an increase of 11.1% on a $9,000 estimate at Potter & Potter in Chicago.

Okito checker cabinet
Bamberg founded a magic shop in New York during the early 1900s

Bamberg built the piece in his New York shop, which he opened after retiring as a touring magician in 1909 (he was one of the biggest stars of his era).

It dates to around 1947 and allows the magician to replace a stack of checkers with a vase filled with rice.

Illusions designed by Bamberg are highly sought after among collectors. The present lot is among the finest known specimens.

A round-top vanishing birdcage built by Jon Martin in 1944 was another highlight, selling for $3,000.

The lot is used in a famous illusion, which sees a bird disappear into thin air. In the past, a live bird would have been used but as the mechanics of the trick are pretty lethal, fake birds are usually used today.

In addition to illusions, the collection included a number of important books on magic alongside posters and other ephemera.

Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about art and antiques auctions.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock