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

45 Results
  • Auction Preview
    Silver Trophy Baseball Bat Awarded to Regino “Marmelo” García Leads Ephemera, Americana & Historical Memorabilia Sale

    Cuban baseball legend Regino "Marmelo" García played from 1901 to 1914 with several ballclubs, including San Francisco, Almendares, Cuban X-Giants, and more. He was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1941. An original bat awarded to García in 1907 with an engraved presentation leads the Ephemera, Americana & Historical Memorabilia sale, presented by Potter & Potter Auctions. García was a catcher for 12 seasons in the Cuban Winter Leagues and holds the record in Cuba for winning the batting crown for four consecutive years (1904 - 1907). In celebration of his prowess, he was given this ‘silver’ trophy baseball bat, made of white metal and plated in silver. The inscription reads “Al Champion / BAT / de 1907 / Regino García.” Also available in the sale is a rare photo showing several legendary players of the Cuban league, including Regino Marmelo García, Alfredo Cabrera, Armando Marsans, and director Juan Sanchez. It is an albumen print showing 21 players and coaches of the Cuban Almendares Baseball Club (1908 - 1909). A complete set of all 50 1911 (T-201) Mecca cigarettes baseball cards are also available in the auction. Mecca, one of the earliest successful Turkish cigarettes, was introduced by Kinney Bros. in 1878. To attract buyers, the cigarette brand was named Mecca to evoke exotic destinations. Many Mecca ads featured elegant turbaned men. The ads used vibrant, luxurious colors and imagery and soon started issuing covers with famous sports players, like the ones available in the sale. The auction also offers over 600 rare photographs, ephemera, postcards, pinups and more. View the full catalog of the Ephemera, Americana & Historical Memorabilia auction and register to place a bid by visiting Potter & Potter Auctions. 

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    Lithograph Showing Magician Adelaide Herrmann and Third Edition of “The Discoverie of Witchcraft” Offered With Potter & Potter Auctions

    This first part of the Edwin A. Dawes Collection will be presented by Potter & Potter Auctions in late February. Nearly 450 lots of posters and vintage collectibles are offered. Particularly featured is a one-sheet stone lithograph published by The Metropolitan Printing Co. in 1905. The artwork shows English magician Adelaide Herrmann performing a magic show. Titled The Flight of the Favorite, the poster shows a Geisha character in one cabinet vanishing, only to reappear in a similar box some distance away. Called "the Queen of Magic,” Herrmann was born in 1853 in London.  Collectors will also find a third edition and first issue copy of The Discoverie of Witchcraft. Written by Reginald Scot (1538 - 1599), the book includes famous wood-engraved illustrations of conjuring apparatus and the decapitation illusion. The book, with a gilt-lettered spine label, briefs on conjuring tricks and their secrets in English. Other notable lots on the block are Chung Ling Soo’s Smoke Vase dating back to 1910, Jay Marshall’s “Lefty” glove puppet, and a 1905 lithograph advertising the 'Comedians de Mephisto Co.' Visit Potter & Potter Auctions to view the complete catalog and register to bid in the upcoming The Collection of Edwin A Dawes, Part I sale.

  • Auction Preview
    Arthur Conan Doyle’s Autographed Manuscript of Uncle Bernac and Rare Edition of The Lost World Come to Sale With Potter & Potter Auctions

    British writer and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the iconic fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in 1887. The character became a sensation in crime stories. The author wrote the novel Uncle Bernac to replace Holmes, who he killed off in 1894. Set in Napoleon’s era, the novel is based on a Frenchman returning to his homeland to join the Emperor’s ranks. The upcoming sale, offered by Potter & Potter Auctions, will feature an autographed manuscript of this novel. As published in the original serialization, it comprises 125 leaves and includes pagination throughout and several holograph corrections, cancellations, and alterations. It is presented in a folding wooden box with a brass plaque and latches. The first English trade edition of The Lost World, another noteworthy masterpiece by Doyle, also highlights the auction. Published by Hodder and Stoughton, London, it features the authentic blue cloth cover and a rare dust jacket. The science fiction novel is about an expedition to the Amazon basin of South America, where prehistoric animals still survive. It was published serially in TheStrand Magazine. Visit Potter & Potter Auctions to view the complete catalog and register to bid in the upcoming A Study in Sherlock, Part II: Including the Collections of Robert Hess and Roy Pilot sale.

  • Auction Preview
    Art Books Featuring Work by Kurt Vonnegut, Ralph Steadman to Sell at Potter & Potter Auctions

    Potter & Potter Auctions’ upcoming online only Printed Books & Manuscripts sale will feature a selection of art books, 20th-century literature, antiquities, and illustration art. Leading the catalog is a 2000 art book illustrated by Ralph Steadman and Kurt Vonnegut. This book was published to accompany the Fall 1999 exhibition Modern Fiction and Art at the University of Kentucky Art Museum. Intended to “illustrate the innovative ideas of these authors translated into visual forms,” the work also features original essays by Vonnegut and Steadman. The available book has been signed by both Vonnegut and Steadman, as well as the publisher, Joe Petro III Graphics, and the exhibition’s curator. It is numbered 33 of 50. Another key art book in the catalog is a collection of Edward Coley Burne-Jones’ watercolor paintings, reproduced by Henry Piazza & Co. for the Fine Art Society. This 1905 collection of color reproductions features captions alongside each image and an accompanying text booklet.  A nearly complete collection of Philip K. Dick’s pulp magazine appearances will also be available in this upcoming auction. The American science fiction writer was known for his speculative, thought-provoking stories that inspired such films as Blade Runner (1992) and Minority Report (2002). This extensive collection of magazines includes works published between 1952 and 1967, when Dick was still a marginal figure in the literary world. Bidders can also consider a collection of bound issues of Dartmouth College’s Jack-o-Lantern humor magazine from 1919 to 1922. These volumes include numerous illustrations by a young Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss). To view the complete Printed Books & Manuscripts (Online Only) catalog and register to bid, visit Potter & Potter Auctions. 

  • Auction Preview
    Rare Issues of Captain America, Amazing Spider-Man Comic Books Comes to Sale With Potter & Potter Auctions

    The upcoming auction, presented by Potter & Potter Auctions, offers a wide selection of prized valuables from the world of comics, including Captain America and Amazing Spider-Man comics. The complete copy of Captain America that leads the sale was issued by Timely Comics in 1941. The cover art, by Simon and Jack Kirby, shows Captain America punching Adolf Hitler. The lot currently ranks at 7th place in Overstreet’s Top 100 Golden Age Comics list.  The first issue of Amazing Spider-Man by Marvel Comics is also available. The book, consisting of off-white to white pages, retells Spider-Man’s origin. Besides Spider-Man, the superhero team from Fantastic Four— Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and the Thing— feature on the cover. A portion of the catalog also includes autographs, posters, and trading cards. Among the listed trading cards is a fleer basketball case of three 24-count boxes dating to 1990. Several pulps, serial magazines, fanzines, and periodicals are on offer as well. The issues have been authored by Murray Leinster, Edward E. Smith, James Blish, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Willy Ley, and more. View the complete catalog of the Golden Age and Pre-Code Horror: The Comic Book Collection of Stephen J. Farber auction by visiting Potter & Potter Auctions.

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    Houdini’s Milk Can Lithograph Takes Center Stage in Select Secrets Auction by Potter & Potter Auctions

    Harry Houdini’s death-defying mystery was advertised with a vibrantly colored lithograph depicting Houdini in his famous Milk Can escape in 1908. This one-sheet color stone lithograph by Houdini (also known as Erik Weisz) (1874 - 1926), printed in Cincinnati & New York by Russell-Morgan Litho., is a leading lot in Potter & Potter Auctions’ Select Secrets sale. This is a rare copy, just one of perhaps five examples extant. Houdini is portrayed crouched down inside the galvanized metal container with water pouring down over his body. A vignette at the lower left shows the can in its locked state before Houdini’s death-defying escape. Houdini debuted the Milk Can in St. Louis in 1908 in a bathing suit after the galvanized container had been filled with water by his assistants. Sealed in by an inspection committee from the audience, Houdini, chest heaving and breathless but still very much alive, would step out triumphant every time. A rare half-sheet stone lithograph depicting Howard Thurston and Harry Kellar side-by-side is another notable lot in the sale. Thurston was presented Kellar’s “Mantle of Magic,” a sort of royal honor that could be bestowed from one magician to the next with Mephistopheles looking on at Ford’s Theatre in Baltimore in 1908. Although a fantasy, this gesture captured the American public’s imagination in the early 20th century. A fairy tale ceremony disguised Kellar’s hard-fought business transactions with his successor Thurston, shown as an Asian prince. This image of the “new” magician became an important part of magical history. View the complete catalog of the Select Secrets auction and register to bid by visiting Potter & Potter Auctions. 

  • Auction Preview
    Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden Enamel Painting and Elizabeth Catlett’s Stylized Linocut Print Lead Potter & Potter Auctions’ Upcoming Sale

    American artist Howard Finster was a Baptist minister from Georgia. He claimed he had visions since the age of three and that God inspired him to spread the gospel. He designed his marshy land into a folk art sculpture space called Paradise Garden with over 46,000 works. His paintings mostly illustrate verses from Bible and are colorful, flat planes without perspective. Early Paradise Garden, one such Biblical depiction by Finster, is a key highlight of the upcoming sale from Potter & Potter Auctions. The unframed enamel on Masonite painting is an early significant piece from his sculpture garden, before he began numbering them. Some of his works are displayed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Milwaukee Museum of Art. Another notable work in the catalog is Elizabeth Catlett’s linocut titled I Am the Black Woman. First created in 1946, this linocut was printed in 1989. It is signed and captioned by the artist on the lower margin. The sculptor and graphic artist is celebrated for her portrayal of the Black American community, especially emphasizing women’s experiences in the 20th century. Visit Potter & Potter Auctions to view the complete catalog and register to bid in the upcoming Contemporary, Outsider, Folk, and Fine Art auction. 

  • Auction Preview
    Early English Edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Sell at Potter & Potter Auctions

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, an English children’s novel by Lewis Carroll (1832 - 1898) was first published in November 1865. The book details the story of a young girl named Alice and her adventures after falling down a rabbit hole. This classic book has never been out of print and has been translated into 174 languages. A rare first-published English edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with 42 illustrations by John Tenniel is available in the upcoming Potter & Potter Auctions sale. The cover is a full crushed red levant ruled in gilt, and the spines have six compartments with raised bands and gilt decorations. The first edition of the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is also available. Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There was published in 1872 and has 50 illustrations by John Tenniel.  A unique prototype celestial globe featuring characters and objects from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass is available as well. Manufactured by Greaves & Thomas, the globe has illustrations of Mad Hatter with his teapot, Fish Footmen, Mock Turtle, White Knight on his horse, Tweedledee, and more. The gores on the globe were hand-painted in watercolor. Other notable lots include the "Original Alice's" own copy of Nabokov's first rare Russian translation of Alice and Salvador Dalí’s illustrated Alice, as well as related comics, toys, and more. Visit Potter & Potter Auctions to view the complete catalog and register to bid in the upcoming Lewis Carroll and Alice: The Collection of Stephen and Nancy Farber sale.

  • Auction Preview
    Vintage Posters by David Stone Martin and Jacques Debut Lead Potter & Potter Auctions’ Upcoming Sale

    The widely famous motivational poster, Keep Calm and Carry On, was produced by the Government of the United Kingdom in 1939 to boost the morale of the public before World War II. Even though 2.45 million copies were printed, the poster was hardly displayed until 2000. Since then, it has been re-issued by a number of private companies as the decorative theme for various products. An original 1939 linen-backed Keep Calm and Carry On poster is a key highlight of the upcoming sale from Potter & Potter Auctions. It has minor creases and repaired tears along a central horizontal fold and slight nicks to the upper right. Another lot of interest in this event is titled Above and Beyond the Call of Duty. Designed by David Stone Martin, the WWII poster commemorates Dorie Miller, a United States Navy cook who died in the war. The image portrays Miller wearing his Navy Cross medal at Pearl Harbor. Cycles Rudge, an 1897 color stone lithograph advertising poster by Jacques Debut, is also available. Printed by Caby & Chardin, the illustration depicts a man gazing at an Art Nouveau goddess holding a bicycle in a forest. Visit Potter & Potter Auctions to view the complete catalog and register to bid in the upcoming Vintage Posters sale. 

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    The Ricky Jay Collection Part II Comes to Sale With Potter & Potter Auctions

    This second part of the Ricky Jay Collection will be presented by Potter & Potter Auctions in late October. Nearly 300 lots of vintage collectibles and posters are offered, including archives. Particularly featured is an important archive of Karl Germain/Paul Fleming Gemmill correspondence. It includes ALSs, TLSs, postcards, and other correspondence addressed by famed illusionist Karl Germain to his successor and friend, Paul Fleming. This archive covers over half a century, from 1908 to 1959. Mr. Jay’s holographic notations describing the contents of the first four years of correspondence are presented as well.  Another leading lot is a set of three scrapbooks chronicling London’s Bartholomew Fair and its popular entertainments. Dating back to the 19th century, the books have been compiled by a noted collector of London-related ephemera, one Mr. Gardner. It comprises extracts from books, manuscript notes, printed broadsides, engraved portraits, news clippings, and memorabilia. Bartholomew Fair started during the reign of King Henry I. One of the London's most popular summer events, the last fair was conducted on September 3, 1855. Puppet shows, wrestling, fire-eaters, performing monkeys, caged tigers, and tight-rope walkers featured in this four-day festival. View the complete catalog of the upcoming The Ricky Jay Collection Part II sale and place a bid by visiting Potter & Potter Auctions. 

  • Auction Industry
    Hocus Pocus: Potter & Potter Auctions’ Ricky Jay Collection Part II Sale

    Potter & Potter Auctions of Chicago, IL will present its Ricky Jay Collection Part II sale on October 28, 2023. This event is the second offering of materials from the estate of actor, magician, and author Ricky Jay (1946 - 2018). A passionate collector and student of history, Jay curated his own 10,000-piece collection of magic, circus, gambling, and show business ephemera. Potter & Potter Auctions' first Ricky Jay event was held in February of 2023. It realized over USD 980,000. Here are some intriguing lots from this next sale that caught the eye of the Auction Daily team. Lot #145, Jonathan H. Green's (1813 - 1887) An Exposure of The Arts and Miseries of Gambling, is estimated at $2,000 to $4,000. Image courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions. This celebrity auction features over 100 century-spanning books on all things chicanery. Many are first editions or presentation copies, are signed, or have other premier distinctions. Lot #145, Jonathan H. Green's (1813 - 1887) An Exposure of The Arts and Miseries of Gambling, is estimated at $2,000 to $4,000. This first edition was printed in Cincinnati by U. P. James in 1843. The book includes chapters on Mississippi River gambling boats, con men, counterfeiters, pickpockets, and other illegal activities. According to Potter & Potter's experts, this is the first American work to expose the tricks of crooked gamblers and the first book by Green, whose fame stemmed from the many books and lectures he wrote under the pretense of being a “reformed" gambler. Green officially "retired" from gambling in 1842. He joined the New York Association for the Suppression of Gambling shortly after. There, he produced a comprehensive report on illegal gambling operations throughout the Big Apple and later toured the states as a lecturer on the topic. Lot #225, Manuel Orazi's (1860 - 1934) L’HIPPODROME, is estimated at $3,000 to $5,000. Image courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions. Ricky Jay's collection included a library of vintage to antique posters promoting legacy performers and venues of yesteryear. Almost 90 premier examples are included in this sale. Lot #225, Manuel Orazi's (1860…

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    Potter & Potter Auctions to Feature Works on Nobu Shirase and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition

    The latest Nobu Shirase and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition sale from Potter & Potter Auctions will offer over 400 lots from the collection of Chet Ross. Leading the catalog is Nobu Shirase’s Nankyoku Tanken (Antarctic Expedition). A rare personal account of Shirase's expedition to the Japanese Antarctic, this first edition precedes the official narrative published in December of 1913. Among only four groups that explored Antarctica past 80 degrees south, Shirase's "dash patrol" journey was the first non-European expedition at that time to accomplish this feat. There was no prior polar experience among those involved in the expedition, and the budget was small for such an undertaking. The available Octavo book includes 19 photographs on eight pages, 77 photographic illustrations, 80 maps, and a folding color map. A portrait photograph appears on the frontispiece of the Antarctic Expedition Support Committee, including Lieutenant Shirase.  Also on offer from the Collection of Chet Ross is a copy of The Japanese South Polar Expedition 1910-12. The offered first edition is an English translation of Nankyoku-ki, the Japanese Antarctic Expedition account, compiling official journals and records that first appeared in 1913. The book provides an insightful introduction to Shirase's expedition, published by the Shirase Antarctic Expedition Supporter's Association. Interested collectors can also consider Nanboku Kyokuchi Tanken-ki (The Expeditions to South and North Poles), a first-edition copy of the narrative on Arctic and Antarctic exploration by Kiichi Kamiya. View the complete catalog and register to bid by visiting Potter & Potter Auctions. 

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    Koken Light-Up Barber Pole Sign & Bionic Woman Action Figure Lead Coin Op & Advertising Sale

    The White Vending Machine Co. patented the "Happy Jap" chewing gum machine in 1902. There were two versions of this chewing gum machine. The first was a tab gum version utilizing a mechanism similar to the Buffalo vending machine. The second was a stick gum version where the stick was vended lengthwise through the teeth of a Japanese man. A one cent “The Happy Jap” gum vendor from circa 1902 is a highlight in the upcoming Coin Op & Advertising Auction, presented by Potter & Potter Auctions. It is a rare, painted cast iron gum dispenser with dual vending slots (for stick gum) in the mouth. Other than some wear and soiling, the vending machine is in good condition. It has a vintage look of a carnival collection. A Kenner Jaime Sommers Bionic Woman action figure/fashion doll in original box is also available in the auction. It was produced in 1976 in Cincinnati by Kenner Products. The available doll comes with original clothes and shoes, hair, and rubber roll-up skin on her right arm with all bionic components. Other auction highlights include a Koken light-up (c. 1920s - 1930s) large standing pedestal used as a barber pole sign from Koken Companies Manufacturers, Missouri and a J. F. Jecker Saloon large hanging outdoor sign from Victoria, Texas. View the complete catalog of the Coin Op & Advertising Auction and find other sales by visiting Potter & Potter Auctions.

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    A Color Poster of King of Cards Harry Houdini Leads Vintage & Modern Magic Sale at Potter & Potter Auctions

    From making an elephant disappear to escaping a Chinese water torture cell upside down, Harry Houdini would make the impossible possible. He did the unexpected, the audacious, like jumping into the icy water of the Hudson River while handcuffed. Houdini is the most famous American escape artist, illusionist, and stunt performer, noted for his escape acts. Houdini was born Erich Weisz (1874 - 1926) in Budapest to a Jewish family. They moved to the United States to live the American dream but found themselves in dire poverty. This led to Houdini leaving school and becoming a trapeze boy and an escape artist. His pseudonym is a reference to his spiritual master, French magician Robert-Houdin. A Harry Houdini, King of Cards color lithograph poster (circa 1898) used by Houdini as a young circus and dime museum performer is leading the Vintage & Modern Magic sale from Potter & Potter Auctions. The poster features a bust portrait of the young magician at the center and vignettes depicting his facility with a deck of cards above and below. It is an iconic magic poster and one of the first color lithographs used to advertise Houdini’s turns in dime museums and circus shows before his ascendance to fame as a handcuff king and escape artist. Also available is a striking one-sheet color lithograph with a central bust portrait of Servais Le Roy in a gray coat and blue necktie, with his left hand pressed against his cheek and index finger pointed against his temple. It is a 1908 lithograph of Le Roy by National Printing & Engraving. Servais Le Roy was one of the first magicians to perform the Asrah levitation. He would cover Talma, his partner, lying on a couch with a sheet, making it look like she was rising into the air, pass a large hoop over her floating body, and finally pull away the sheet to reveal that she had vanished. Le Roy is credited with developing other respected tricks and illusions like the Palanquin operation magic and the Costume Trunk. View the complete catalog of this Vintage & Modern Magic auction and register to bid by…

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    First & Limited Edition of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms Alongside First American Edition of The Hobbit by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien to Sell at Potter & Potter Auctions

    Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961) became friends with Owen Wister Jr. in the late 1920s, and the two corresponded profusely after. Wister was an American writer considered the “father” of Western fiction for authoring the bestselling 1902 novel The Virginian. Hemingway held Wister in high regard, describing Wister’s stories as “wonderfully good” and a “lesson to our generation in how to write,” to his editor Maxwell Perkins. A rare copy of Hemingway’s 1929 novel A Farewell to Arms from the library of Owen Wister Jr. is leading the upcoming Firsts: The Library of Robin and Kathryn Smiley Auction, presented by Potter & Potter Auctions. Before the book was published, Hemingway sought professional advice from Wister, who told him to put everything in a book instead of magazines. He also told Hemingway, “Don’t touch a thing!” regarding the ending, which Hemingway had difficulty finishing. The dust jacket of the book was designed by Cleo Theodora Damianakes, a notable Greek-American artist. The book available in the sale is a first edition, limited-issue, one of only ten copies signed by Hemingway. A first American edition copy of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien The Hobbit is also available in this sale. The book was published in 1938 by publishing titan Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York. Paul Brooks, editor-in-chief of Houghton Mifflin, enjoyed Bilbo Baggins and his crew, despite negative criticism by the editor in charge of children’s books. Unlike the 1937 first British edition by Allen & Unwin, which did not have illustrations, Houghton Mifflin wanted to include color illustrations by American artists in addition to Tolkien’s line drawings. Tolkien agreed with the publishers to veto anything from or influenced by Walt Disney Studios. The rare dust jackets on the available books are now considered more desirable than the first British edition jacket, as fewer have survived and are rare in the market. View the complete catalog of Firsts: The Library of Robin and Kathryn Smiley and register to bid by visiting Potter & Potter Auctions.