Potter & Potter Auctions

3759 N. Ravenswood Ave. Ste. 121, Chicago, Illinois 60613

About Auction House

We're a Chicago auction house specializing in the sale of collectibles and antiques of all types, including paper Americana, vintage advertising, rare books, coin-op, playing cards, gambling memorabilia, vintage posters, prints and magicana - antiques and collectibles focused on magic and magicians. Between world-record prices, lavish catalogs, aggressive advertising and promotion, and a team that cares about your experience - as a customer or consignor - we strive to make the auction experience exemplary in every way.

Auction Previews & News

39 Results
  • Auction Preview
    Potter & Potter Auctions to Offer Antique Mills Slot Machine From 1900

    This January, Potter & Potter Auctions’ will present its Coin-Op, Advertising & Breweriana sale. Among 717 lots, one of the star pieces is a Mills 25 Cent Dewey slot machine. Mills began crafting the slot machines in 1899. The piece is a fine example of the company’s work. Executed in 1900, the reverse-painted glass at the front illustrates a multi-colored tin litho wheel. Atop the cabinet is an ornate cast iron coin head that reads “Two Bits.” Embellished with foliate designs, the offered oak cabinet is finished in antique copper.  Collectors will also find Vic Payne's The Charge. A renowned Western sculptor, Payne's career has spanned over 38 years. He often depicts scenes of the American West in his bronze works. The available lot depicts a soldier riding a galloping horse charging into battle. The lot essay for the painting suggests that “Vic Payne depicts a cavalry man whose face shows a mixture of determination and apprehension, as he leads his men and himself into the unknown.” Explore additional lots and register to bid on Potter & Potter Auctions’ website. 

  • Auction Preview
    Illustrations of Master Magicians Come to Sale With Potter & Potter Auctions

    Howard Thurston was a significant stage magician from Ohio. His traveling show was so massive that it required eight train cars to transport all the show essentials. A full color poster of the master magician’s Million Dollar Mystery is a key highlight of the upcoming Winter Magic sale from Potter & Potter Auctions. Produced by Otis Lithography Company of Cleveland, it is mounted on linen. The illustration of magician William Ellsworth Robinson, also known as Chung Ling Soo, also leads the listings. It portrays Robinson in deep hues with a flaming background. Each letter in the title is artistically shaped as a dragon.  Equally noteworthy is the first edition of Artifice Ruse and Subterfuge at the Card Table. It was written and published by S. W. Erdnase, a pseudonym for an unknown author. The book features over 100 drawings by Marshall D. With a full green cloth front board and spine stamped in gilt, the book has never been out of print since its first publication. The cover title of the book reads “The Expert at the Card Table.” To view the complete catalog and register to bid online, visit Potter & Potter Auctions.

  • Auction Preview
    Dali Dreamlike Depictions & Picasso Painting lead Potter & Potter Auctions’ upcoming Fine Art Sale

    Of the many things Salvador Dali did in his lifetime, it is the way he depicted his dreams in surrealist paintings that he is recognized for. Dali (Spanish, 1904-1989) grew up believing that he was a reincarnation of his older brother who died in infancy. Peculiar circumstances like this led to his quirkiness. He also revered Sigmund Freud, and let his subconscious mind wander and paint what he dreamt. Dali’s paintings have become emblems of the twentieth century’s best surrealist works. Manhattan Skyline (1976), a lithograph on paper by Dali, is a leading lot in Potter & Potter Auctions’ upcoming sale. It shows the different elements and the raw nature of urban Manhattan. It is one of 150 copies signed by Dali. The Fine & Outsider Art auction is also led by works from Pablo Picasso, LeRoy Neiman, Andy Warhol, Purvis Young, and Rockwell Kent. A gothic etching titled Le Stryge (1853) by Charles Meryon is a notable lot in this sale. Meyron(French, 1821–1868), a colorblind artist ruled painting in color and settled on an etching in 1848. This etching by Meyron shows a brooding beast perched on top of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, sadly gazing over the city of love. Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc created the grotesque, decorative demon during the cathedral’s restoration during the 19th century. Find the listed items and more on Potter & Potter Auctions and register to place a bid. 

  • Auction Result
    Around the Auction World: October 2022

    What were the top stories in the auction industry this month? Jaws VHS 1983 - IGS Box 9 MINT and Seal 9 MINT, Wraparound MCA HV Watermarks, MCA Home Video. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions. Auction Highlights This month, we explored some of the spookiest items and events available from around the auction world. Sotheby’s celebrated the season by offering an unsettling figure painting by Francis Bacon, the subject of a dedicated October 24 capsule event. Figure Crouching from 1949 sold for a modest EUR 4.02 million (USD 4 million). This fresh-to-the-market painting featured some of the most recognizable motifs of Bacon’s oeuvre: a confined space, a hunching not-quite-human figure in isolation, and a swath of darkness. Bidders favored other lots in the sale that spoke to Bacon’s artistic process, delivering strong prices for a used palette (EUR 63,000 / USD 62,700) and a photograph of Triptych - Studies from the Human Body (EUR 17,640 / USD 17,550). Another notable event this October came from Heritage Auctions. The company presented its first dedicated VHS horror auction online. Bidding closes on October 31, 2022. The sale of vintage VHS tapes features 100 collectible Halloween-themed titles, including graded copies of Jaws, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Ghostbusters, and Halloween. Prices for some of the tapes exceed $10,000 each. Harry Houdini’s automatic flowering rosebush. Image courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions. Potter & Potter Auctions offered its third sale from the Klosterman magic collection this October. This carefully-curated event focused on all things ghosts, séances, and the afterlife. Auction Daily spoke with Gabe Fajuri, President of Potter & Potter Auctions, before the sale, to learn more about the top lots. He noted that trickery can be used to amaze, scare, or deceive an audience, since “magicians have long adapted and adopted the techniques of fraudulent spirit mediums for their performances, and that street runs two ways, with mediums adapting the techniques of stage magicians for less than honest purposes.”  The auction produced strong results and furious bidding for some of the leading magic-related lots. Soaring to the top was an automatic flowering rosebush…

  • Auction Preview
    Potter & Potter’s October Magic Auction Features Robert-Houdin’s Glass Column Mystery Clock and Dr. Hofzinser’s Any-Card Box

    Long before Harry Houdini had everyone under his spell, there was Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin. He was a French watchmaker, magician, and illusionist, the father of the modern style of conjuring who inspired the American Houdini. The upcoming Salon De Magie; The Collection of Ken Klosterman Part III auction, presented by Potter & Potter Auctions, starts with a Robert-Houdin glass column mystery clock. It is an iconic clock from the inventive mind of the most prominent magician of the 19th century. These clocks were instant successes when they were first introduced in the late 1830s. The available mystery clock was made by Robert-Houdin in 1850 in Paris. The clock has two mysteries – a glass clock face and a glass tube supporting the face. It is five inches in diameter with a round brass bezel, to which a single arrow-shaped ormolu hand is attached. The numbers are Roman numerals painted in reverse. The clock stands on a clear glass tube with an ebonized wooden base and four feet. The magic of the auction continues with a Hofzinser any-card called for card rising box. Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser (1806 - 1875) was an Austrian-Hungarian magician and illusionist known by his stage name Dr. Hofzinser. The available leather-covered brass case tooled in gilt is the one designed by Hofzinser. He would place a pack of piquet cards inside this box before calling a spectator on stage to name any card in the pack. Then the called card would rise from the slot to the top of the box. The case contains a complex clockwork device that creates the effect. This is a rare piece, one of only two manufactured by Charles Kalish in 1976. Find the listed items and more on Potter & Potter Auctions, and register to place a bid.

  • Auction Industry
    Horror Classics on VHS Tapes to Sell at Heritage Auctions in Time for Halloween

    “VHS is dead. Long live VHS. Especially when it reaches from beyond the grave,” Heritage Auctions declares in its first-ever VHS horror auction. In the world of collectible nostalgia, comic books, baseball cards, and video games can welcome a new addition: VHS tapes. These now-classic cassettes appeal to a rising generation of Millennial and Generation Z collectors who grew up watching television shows, movies, and recorded home videos in the 1980s, 90s, and early 2000s. Heritage Auctions will offer a chilling Halloween sale celebrating the nostalgia and aesthetic of VHS tapes. The October 31 VHS Horror Showcase Auction brings 100 classic titles to scare, spook, and entertain.  Halloween Beta 1979 - VGA 85 NM+, Flatback Seal, Two-Toned Tape, Media Home Entertainment. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions. Among the auction’s top lots is one of just three known Betamax copies of 1978’s Halloween (lot #19047; current bid: $10,000). This example is graded VGA 85 NM+ with high subgrades for the original box and seal. Bearing the iconic Bob Gleason pumpkin and knife illustration, the box declares that the film is in the “Beta” format, appears in color, and runs 90 minutes. On the back, Michael Myers’ name is misspelled.  The Halloween franchise has built a loyal following and remains a fixture of American culture, but it didn’t start out that way. Halloween was a famously low-budget indie film that surprisingly became enormously popular in theaters. It appeared on television for the first time in 1981. Two years before, it was available on home video from independent distributor Media Home Entertainment. At the time, the early distribution of movies on VHS tapes and other cassettes was a major concern for the film industry.  “This auction is stacked with every horror title everyone could want, and their boxes transport you right back to this amazing moment in time,” Heritage Auctions’ VHS and Home Entertainment Consignment Director Jay Carlson said in a press release. “Remember, back then, studios were worried about what home video was doing to their audience. They were worried about their business being cannibalized by VHS.” While American audiences would not…

  • Auction Preview
    Limited Issue Copy of Ulysses and Book of Poetical Works Presented to Ernest Shackleton Highlight Potter & Potter Auctions’ Upcoming Sale

    An influential writer of his times, James Joyce (1882 - 1941) is well known for his avant-garde works, including the landmark novel Ulysses. In this Modernist story, Joyce draws parallels between the protagonist of the novel and the hero of Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey. A copy of Ulysses’ first English edition is a key highlight of the upcoming Potter & Potter Auctions event. It is one of the 100 copies on mold-made paper signed by the Irish novelist. From a total edition of 1,000 copies, this one was reserved for presentation by the author. Published by Bodley Head in England, it is considered the most striking edition of Joyce’s masterworks.  Another noteworthy book of poetical works has two volumes in one with the early half having olive green leather gilt. It was presented to Ernest Shackleton and the officers of the Nimrod by a member of the Royal Geographical Society. The book has flyleaves with quotes by famous authors, including the ones by Shackleton’s favorite author, Robert Browning. The Antarctic explorer cherished poetry, and his love for Browning’s works has been finely documented by journalist Harold Begbie. To view the complete catalog and register to bid online, visit Potter & Potter Auctions.

  • Auction Industry
    Ghosts, Séances, and the Afterlife: Talking About Spooky Spirits With Potter & Potter Auctions’ Gabe Fajuri

    With Halloween right on the horizon, the time couldn't be more perfect to check in with Chicago's Potter & Potter Auctions about the company’s upcoming Salon de Magie: The Klosterman Collection Part III magic sale. This 370-lot event, to be held on October 29, 2022, features a fantastic offering of antique magicana related to spirit mediums (people who claim the ability to talk to and materialize the dead) and other allegedly haunted apparatus. Auction Daily spoke with Gabe Fajuri, President of Potter & Potter Auctions, to learn more about this thrilling sale. A 1910 spirit photograph of a materializing ghost. Image courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions. Auction Daily: This sale is the third event featuring items from the Ken Klosterman magicana collection. Can you please tell our readers about Mr. Klosterman and what makes his collection so noteworthy? Gabe Fajuri: Ken Klosterman (1933 - 2020) built up one of the finest private collections of magic memorabilia in the world– relics from the careers of legacy 19th- and 20th-century performers including Harry Houdini (1874 - 1926), Harry Kellar (1849 - 1922), Howard Thurston (1869 - 1936), Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin (died 1871), and their contemporaries. But the way the collection was housed was nearly as amazing as the material it contained. The private museum Ken built was concealed at the bottom of a mineshaft under his suburban Cincinnati home. Traveling in an elevator down that mineshaft led visitors to the miniature jewelbox museum that was home to thousands of vintage magic props, posters, books, and more– virtually every imaginable type of magic memorabilia made up the collection, many of them one-of-a-kind pieces of historical significance.  We produced a video tour of Mr. Klosterman's collection that gives some of the background of the collection and shows off the best features of the Salon de Magie; you can see the video on Youtube. A 1920s relic from the séance room of Mabel Fightmaster. Image courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions. Auction Daily: This late October sale features many lots with ties to ghosts, séances, and the afterlife– which is perfect Halloween timing! What are…

  • Auction Preview
    A Diverse Range of Vintage Posters to Be Offered This August

    Manuel Orazi was an Art Nouveau illustrator and poster artist most recognized for his two-dimensional poster prints. Orazi was inspired by the Vienna Secession along with the Symbolism art movement. Using these sources, he created his own distinctive Art Nouveau style consisting of flowing and organic elements. An example of Orazi’s style can be seen in the poster L’Hippodrome, which is available in the upcoming Vintage Posters event, presented by Potter & Potter Auctions. The piece depicts an equestrienne in a dress and headpiece riding a black stallion whilst charging ahead. The rider is adorned in lavish jewelry.  Leonetto Cappiello, commonly known as the Father of Modern Advertising, was an Italian and French poster art designer and painter. He is mainly celebrated for revolutionizing the poster illustration of his time. His method was using exaggerated, bright subjects in unusual hues that contrasted with a very dark background to make his creations “pop out.” Such is the case for the 1927 poster Cognac Monnet, which depicts a woman in red and purple with golden rays against a dark background. It will come to auction this August. View the entire catalog and register to bid online by visiting Potter & Potter Auctions.

  • Auction Preview
    Checkers, Demons, Houdini, and More From Potter & Potter

    A magician presents a small but finely crafted cabinet to the audience along with a stack of checkers. A story is told about the checkers and how they are usually kept in the cabinet. But they have been stolen and replaced by a glass full of rice. The checkers are hidden inside a cozy built for just this purpose. The storyteller snaps his fingers, then reveals that the checkers and glass full of rice have magically transposed places. This is the illusion presented by the Okito Checker Cabinet from the collection of Jim DeLoeach, available from Potter & Potter Auctions. Other apparati in the sale include a Demon’s Head Automaton in which two selected cards appear in the Demon's mouth and two from the top of its head, a Fifth Dimension Card Frame, a Ray Vision System, and more. Beyond illusions, there are also posters such as a color lithograph from the European Wonders Horticultural Hall and advertisement posters for the Chung Ling Soo Mysteries. There are also many books on magic such as Soirees Fantastiques by Christian Fechner, Houdini’s Paper Magic by Harry Houdini, and The Magic of Robert Harbin by Robert Harbin. View any of these lots and register to bid on Potter & Potter Auctions. 

  • Auction Industry
    Around the Auction World: May 2022

    The spring auction season is officially in full swing. This month, the largest auction houses released coveted treasures to the top of the market, and mid-level companies offered fresh finds to the discerning collector. We spoke with several experts to understand the trends and take a closer look at some of the curated catalogs.  Here are the top headlines from around the auction world this May. Tiffany Studios tulip table lamp, c. 1910. Image courtesy of Rago. Auction Highlights This month, Auction Daily spoke with Potter & Potter Auctions’ president and auctioneer Gabe Fajuri following the house’s Matrix-themed sale. The mid-month event featured memorabilia, props, awards, and concept art from movies led by producers, directors, and sisters Lilly and Lana Wachowski. The Wachowski Collection sale yielded countless headlines, plus a donation of over USD 300,000 to the Protect and Defend Trans Youth Fund. We also followed up on the record-setting sale of a Jean Siméon Chardin strawberries painting that attracted attention in March of 2022. While it sold for $26.8 million to a New York dealer (later revealed to represent Texas’ Kimbell Art Museum), the Louvre blocked its sale on cultural grounds. The fate of the Chardin strawberries painting remains unknown. Detail of animal design antique Persian Tabriz rug. Image courtesy of Nazmiyal Auctions. What’s Coming Up Auction Daily looked ahead to note important events coming up around the auction world next month. From New York’s Nazmiyal Auctions comes a major vintage and modern rug sale, scheduled for June 12, 2022. The catalog especially features pictorial rugs and carpets. These weavings, which depict people, places, or scenes, have strong ties to cultures around the world. Among the top lots are Persian Mashahir carpets and Israeli Marbediah rugs from the early 20th century. Collectors can also anticipate more blockbuster sales to continue the spring auction season. Many auction houses have also set their sights on social causes that address tragedies such as the ongoing war in Ukraine. Benefit auctions are on the rise as art market players seek to divert dollars to worthy causes. Black “Nobby” Opal. Image courtesy of Bonhams.…

  • Auction Preview
    Forthcoming Auction Has Harry Houdini’s Magic Scrapbook, Other Memorabilia

    In January of 1908, Harry Houdini performed his debut magic act at the Columbia Theater. In the performance, he stepped inside of a gigantic milk can with his hands cuffed in front of him. After two long minutes, Houdini appeared from behind a cabinet, which marked his first successful performance. This moment was a turning point for Houdini’s career. This upcoming Potter & Potter Auctions event presents key items from several points of Harry Houdini’s history. One highlight is a magic scrapbook formerly belonging to Harry Houdini. It comes with magazine and newspaper clippings that date back to the 1760s throughout the 1920s.  Also showcased is a color lithograph of T. Nelson Downs. He was a self-taught magician who specialized in coin tricks. The offered lot depicts a bust portrait of Downs. The image is encircled by illustrations of his coin manipulation act. Explore more lots and register to bid online on Potter & Potter Auctions’ website.

  • Auction Industry
    Hollywood Comes to Chicago for Potter & Potter Auctions’ Enter The Matrix: The Wachowski Collection Sale

    Potter & Potter Auctions of Chicago, IL held its Enter The Matrix: The Wachowski Collection auction on May 12th, 2022. This Hollywood-themed sale featured nearly 200 lots of memorabilia, props, awards, and concept art spanning the filmography of producers and directors Lilly Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. Items on offer included materials from their movies The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Sense8, Jupiter Ascending, and Cloud Atlas. The sale realized $492,000— three times its high estimate— and had a 99%+ sell through rate.  Auction Daily spoke with Potter & Potter Auctions' president and auctioneer Gabe Fajuri to learn more about this breathtaking and incredibly successful event. Catalog cover from Potter & Potter Auctions' May 12th, 2022 Enter The Matrix: The Wachowski Collection sale. Image courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions. Auction Daily: This sale captured worldwide attention, interest, and media coverage. What was it about the consignors and their lots that resonated with so many people? Gabe Fajuri: It goes without saying that The Matrix, and so many of the other films that the Wachowskis were involved with (as producers and directors alike) were international phenomena. Once the cat was let out of the bag that these items were coming up for sale, the publicity blitz was nearly assured. And bidding at the sale was fast and furious, to say the least! Lot 48: Nebuchadnezzar concept maquette from The Matrix generated 40 bids and realized $36,000. Image courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions. Auction Daily: As an auctioneer, you get to handle a great number of interesting and one-of-a-kind items. Of all the items in this sale, which one or two of the lots personally caught your eye, and why? Gabe Fajuri: The maquettes— the preproduction scaled models used to help plan and engineer key scenes in the movies. I love anything related to the concept of "behind the scenes" and have a love for special effects. To see how model makers produced these amazingly detailed three-dimensional pieces in preparation for what were, truly, iconic films was a real thrill. Lot 47: Lightning Rifle prop from The Matrix generated 32 bids and…

  • Auction Industry, Press Release
    Potter & Potter Auctions’ Enter the Matrix: The Wachowski Collection Event to Offer Memorabilia, Props, Awards, and Concept Art From The Archives of Celebrated Film Directors, Writers, And Producers Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski

    This sale includes items from cult-classic movies including The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Sense8, Jupiter Ascending, and Cloud Atlas, with all profits going to the Protect and Defend Trans Youth Fund which provides direct services and funds to at-risk trans youth throughout the country. Chicago, Il, April 22- Potter & Potter Auctions is pleased to announce this can't miss sale to be held on Thursday, May 12th, 2022, starting at 10am CDT. The event will be held online and live streamed, with a limited number of bidders physically allowed in the gallery as determined by current Illinois public health attendance guidelines. Please call the auction house, located at 5001 W Belmont Avenue in Chicago, at 773-472-1442 to reserve seats. Bidding will take place through Potter & Potter's website, at www.potterauctions.com. Phone and absentee bids are also welcome. All items are available for in-person preview, by appointment only.  5 Signed Enter the Matrix Posters Iconic, screen used props from the Wachowskis' signature films take several of the top lot slots in this star-studded sale.   Lot #4, a Neo-Seoul Speeder from Cloud Atlas, is estimated at $6,000-8,000. This original police speeder with attachments was used by authorities in the futuristic dystopian city of 2144 Neo-Seoul and can be seen during Sonmi-451’s (Bae Doona) escape. It measures 103 x 45 x 51”. Lot #114, a purple Segway scooter from Speed Racer, is estimated at $3,000-5,000. This modified transporter appeared in the 2008 film and measures 51” high.Lot #47, a lightning rifle prop from The Matrix, is estimated at $2,000-4,000. This resin, rubber, and foam weapon was wielded by Cypher (Joe Pantoliano) against Tank (Marcus Chong) and Dozer (Anthony Ray Parker) when he reveals himself as an ally of Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). It measures  18 x 28 x 10” and includes a barcode identifying it as property of Ravenswood Kinowerks, Inc. Lot #13, a stone table from Cloud Atlas, is estimated at $1,500-3,000. This original wooden prop is inlaid with pastel sea glass and appears inside of the Abbess’ (Susan Sarandon) dwelling during the final segment of the film. It measures 64 x 37-½ x…

  • Auction Preview
    Enter the Matrix with Potter & Potter’s Wachowski Collection Sale

    Potter & Potter has invited collectors to enter The Matrix with the upcoming Wachowski Collection sale. This auction is offering some of the most iconic props in science fiction history. The Wachowskis are the minds behind some of the most groundbreaking Hollywood movies like The Matrix, Cloud Atlas, Speed Racer, and Jupiter Ascending. Their collection of iconic props from these movies is going under the hammer. This sale starts with a screen-used Lightning Rifle prop from The Matrix. It is the original resin, rubber, and foam prop model. On-screen, it was the weapon wielded by Cypher (Joe Pantoliano) against Tank (Marcus Chong) and Dozer (Anthony Ray Parker) when he reveals himself as an ally of Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) in The Matrix. A chase scene screen-used banner from Cloud Atlas will be available in the auction. It is an original vinyl banner with imagery rendered in graphic style depicting the narrative in an arc. The banner begins with Adam Ewing’s opening sequence at sea and ends with the death and subsequent worship of Sonmi-451 as a deity. It was an integral part of the movie Cloud Atlas as Luisa Rey (Halle Berry) tries to escape her pursuers who are bent on retrieving her copy of Rufus Sixsmith’s (James D’Arcy) bombshell report. The Wachowskis are known for their ambitious, mind and bullet bending projects that don’t just have fans but a cult-like following. Find the listed items and more on Potter & Potter’s website and register to place a bid.