Posts Tagged ‘Magicians’

houdini_post0002The title of this blog is The Ephemeral Collector, and in my “About” page I set out that I collect ephemeral material related to the art of magic. If you have been following this blog, you may have noticed that my recent posts were on apparatus, on posters and on more substantial items – not really on “ephemeral” objects. Sometimes, to really appreciate a small piece of paper, what I consider an “ephemeral magic object,” one has to study and investigate its story: sometimes, the discoveries will bring amazement and the ephemeral object will be seen in a different light, a small part of a larger puzzle.

Sit comfortable, dear reader, and let me tell you the story of an unused invitation to meet the master of the masters in his prime, the one and only Harry Houdini.

(more…)

Advertisements

Issue 49 cover smallA few weeks ago, I received an email from Mark Leveridge, the editor of MagicSeen, a magic magazine for the younger and cooler side of the magic profession. Mark wanted to publish an article about magic collecting and, having found my blog interesting, decided to interview myself and Fergus Roy, the noted collector, organizer of magic collecting events, scholar, magic historian and part of the well-known Davenport family, on why magic collecting is important. (more…)

Linga Singh – the Indian Conjurer

Every collector of antique memorabilia has a dream, a single dream common to all those whose passion for a subject has turned into an obsession: the dream is to find a large amount of material that has lied untouched and forgotten for years. It doesn’t matter what the subject of your collection is: cars, photographs, stamps, old masters’ paintings, magic tricks… every collector daydreams about finding a dark attic, a barn, a cellar, filled with unheard-of treasures, dusty but potentially unique.

There are many stories of finds just like that: a couple of years ago, in a barn in the town where I live, was discovered a fleet of luxury cars which hadn’t seen the light of day in twenty years (this is not the hoax of the fleet of cars in Portugal, which, while existing, has not actually been “found”). Magicians are well aware of how the show of Charles Carter re-surfaced after forty years in a barn, or how a large collection of magic posters was recently found in a downtown attic, including a rare Houdini poster.

However, this is for most collectors just a dream. For most collectors, indeed. But sometimes, just some times, dreams may come true…

(more…)

Time is an ephemeral concept: by the time we have realized what it is, it is gone. When you will have finished reading this phrase, your time will already be gone, this exact moment will be in the past. Time can be measured: past can be just a few seconds ago, or it may be some centuries ago. As collectors, we are keepers of time, holding, in the present and – hopefully – preserving for the future, items and memories of a time long gone. Magic is a performing art, it exists only when someone performs a magic act for others to enjoy: magic itself cannot be preserved and, once the magic performance is finished, magic is already in the past, leaving just a memory but, sometimes, an ephemeral item too.

In my previous posts, I have been discussing about a past that is not so far, being only slightly more than one hundred years ago. In this post, I would like to go way back, presenting what – at the moment – is the oldest item in my small collection: the medal with the image of Girolamo Scoto, the first magician whose effigy is known to us…

(more…)

Ephemeral Programme - 1906 Sharpsburg PA

Programme for Magic Performance on New Year

At the end of November 2008, while idly browsing eBay, my eye was caught by a programme of an Italian magician, one Prof. Prete, offered for sale. I managed to buy it and it’s quite interesting. The programme is quite big, 27 x 35 cm (10.63 x 13.78 inches) and it’s full of adverts, some in Italian, some in English.

The programme was for a show at St. Joseph’s Hall in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, under the auspices of the “Madonna of Jerusalem” Church. The show was held on the evening of Monday, Jan. 1. The year is not specified in the program, but it can be dated to 1906. (more…)