One of the things that I collect are three shell game sets. I have a pretty big collection of shell game sets, and it’s getting harder and harder to finds ones that I don’t have. I recently came across this set:
And here’s the under side of the shells:
Initially I thought these were resin, but thank to Andrew Pinard’s suggestion, I did some more inspection and they are natural walnut shells that have been filled and coated.
I remember a long time ago chatting with Dr. Lloyd Cripe who was a brain doctor and now retired and he said, “everyone collects something” and at the time I didn’t realize it, but I was starting to collect Three Shell Game sets. Currently I have a giant collection of shells, and it getting harder to find shell sets that I don’t already have.
I found this lot at a magic auction site:
I don’t have the upper set of gold shells. I can’t tell what they are made from, it could be plastic or metal, I won’t know until they show up. It looks like I was the only bidder, so I got them for the opening bid price, which is nice!
I’ve had the Dr. Beaumont Shell Game book in the past, and it’s been a while since I’ve read it. I’ll give it a reread when it arrives with the shells and probably sell it with the Vernet Shells which come with this lot.
If you’ve got a unique or uncommon set of shells, send me a note, I’d love to see a pic of them!
The vanishing bird cage that I won at the recent Potter and Potter auction showed up! The description said they thought it was from the 1930’s, I think it’s a little bit later than than, but it’s really hard to say.
The cage is 5 inches by 4 inches and 4 inches tall and made of brass. That makes this thing HEAVY! When you’re doing the vanishing bird cage, one of the things that you are fighting during the vanish is gravity. The weight of the cage doesn’t help you win that fight!
To put it in perspective, I have another cage of similar construction and dimensions.
The brass cage on the right is 337 grams or almost 3/4 of a pound! The cage on the left is 165 grams, that’s essentially half the weight of the brass cage. The cage on the left also collapses into a thinner profile. I suspect the brass cage was made as a DIY vanishing birdcage, and not something that was mass produced for sale to other magicians.
I’m glad to have added this to my collection, and gotten to compare it to something similar, but half the weight to really confirm my suspicion that weight does matter in a vanishing cage!
Many years ago I used to buy magic collections of magicians who had passed. I would keep the books or props that I wanted and resell the rest. It’s been a while since I have done that for myself. Last year a did sell off a collection of magic that was a friend of mine who had passed and all the money went to his son.
The other day I was contacted about a magic collection and went out and picked it up. The person had one of my Evaporation tricks, and this was from the original run of 36 that I sold at a magic convention in Canada.
One thing that I think people don’t realize is that most of the stuff in a magic collection is worthless. Usually about half is unsellable because it’s damaged, counterfeit or shipping would cost more than the prop.
You should be realistic about what your collection is worth and to not really count things that have a used value of less than $20. Sure, they do add up, but they are hard as hell to sell!