A travelling trunk belonging to magician Karl Germain (1878-1959) was the star lot of Potter & Potter’s sale of the Grossman-Nicholson collection of magic memorabilia,
It realised $29,000, more than triple its $9,000 estimate in Chicago over the weekend.
Karl Germain was known for his elegant performance style
Germain was one of the most celebrated US magicians of his era.
He travelled the country - often with the Chautauqua assembly, which brought arts and culture to America’s rural interior.
Comedians, lecturers and musicians would arrive, lugging a large tent. The idea was to educate and entertain the local population, particularly in areas starved of access to major cities.
The trunk dates to circa 1905 and is filled with stage wear, props and other items connected to his performance.
After Germain's retirement, it passed to his protege, Paul Fleming (aka Paul Germain), who carried on his stage show.
Other highlights included a collection of lantern slides from Houdini’s lecture on spiritualism, which he toured throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
Some show Houdini himself, while other depict well-known (at the time) mediums.
Houdini had himself been burned by spiritualism.
After his mother died he turned to mediums for answers, but was enraged to recognise many of the techniques he himself employed during his stage show.
Afterwards he started regularly turning up to seances in disguise in order to loudly debunk them.
The 21 slides sold for $27,000.
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