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Auction History Magic Magic Performing Arts Posters Potter & Potter Auction Sideshow

The Johnny Fox Collection – Freakatorium – Auction

Many wonderful items will be auctioned off from the Johnny Fox Collection FREAKATORIUM

Wyatt, Snap. King of Swords. Sideshow Banner. Tampa: Snap Wyatt Studios, ca. 1947. Attractive canvas sideshow banner bears a full-length portrait of a sword swallower in performance, with a handful of shiny blades in one outstretched hand. 103 x 119”. Soiled and worn from use.

Wyatt, Snap. Headless Girl. Sideshow Banner. Tampa: Snap Wyatt Studios, ca. 1965. Bright banner shows a comely lady’s body that lacks a head, yet remains “Alive” and is able to answer questions and communicate through hand gestures. 101 x 118 ½”. Minor wear and tears evident, but overall well preserved. See lot 646 for a sturdy and functional version of the apparatus used to create this classic sideshow attraction.

Wyatt, Snap. Frank Lentini. 3 Legged Man Sideshow Banner. Tampa: Snap Wyatt Studios, ca. 1950. Vibrant orange and red canvas banner advertises the man with “3 Legs, 4 Feet, 16 Toes.” 97 x 115”. Worn but very good condition. Wyatt (1905 – 1984) created many iconic banner designs. He worked quickly, claiming he could paint at least one banner per day at a retail cost of $85 each. In his heyday, he reportedly produced as many as 400 banners per year.

Johnson, Fred. Human Dynamo Sideshow Banner. Chicago: O’Henry Tent and Awning, ca. 1950. Vibrant painted canvas banner depicting the classic Electric Chair sideshow illusion. 91 x 111”. Scattered holes, wear, and soiling from use, primarily in borders.

Circassian Enchantress Magic Program. Gardiner: Fountain Printing, ca. 1842. Early American program advertising a lecture by Dr. Shattuck on the Mysteries in Nature, Miracles of Indian Bramins, Hindoo Jugglers and Chinese Magi, followed by the performance of Mrs. Shattuck, the Circassian Enchantress, The Original and Greatest Lady Magician in America. Light creases and stains consistent with age, else very good.

One of my favorite magicians of all time! Cardini. Here is an item of his.

Cardini Combination Watch/Finger Reel. New York: Richard Cardini, ca. 1965. Uncommon model of this thread reel with custom-made flexible watchband and metal housing. Lathe-turned device clips in to strap or is easily removed for use in either of two manners. Interior of case stamped “CARDINI.” An uncommon model. Cardini designed and built thread reels of many types – for the mouth, shoe, and hand. He also manufactured wristwatch reels of various styles. This is the first combination finger/wristwatch reel we have encountered. The device slips securely in to or out of the watch housing with a minimum of effort, for use in the hand, or strapped to the wrist.

Head on Sword Sideshow Illusion. A disembodied human head – alive, talking, and moving – sits on the blade of a sword resting across the arms of a large wooden throne-type chair. Black art. Breaks down for packing. 62” high. Used but good condition.

Houdini, Harry (Ehrich Weisz). Houdini Signed Letter, Houdini Key, and Houdini-Era Handcuffs. Framed presentation includes a TLS from Houdini to Remigius Weiss regarding books on alchemy, boldly signed “Houdini,” together with original mailing envelope bearing Houdini’s return address; flat metal Houdini-owned key, and a pair of Houdini-era Bean Cobb handcuffs. Handsomely framed with a later photo of Houdini in restraints and chains to 19 ¾ x 22 ½”.

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This auction takes place on Nov. 1st, 2018.

These are merely ‘scraping the surface’ of the collection. Go to the site to see all of the items up for auction.

For more information on this and other wonderful auctions click here!

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Categories
American Circus Art History Sideshow

Sideshow Banner Paintings

SNAP WYATT – Banner Painter

Snap Wyatt was a prolific painter of huge circus banners primarily in the 1940’s and 50’s.  He was known for his bold, cartoon-like style. His banners were painted with quick caricatures, and only the essential details of the performer were outlined in black to make them stand out. He said he could finish one in a day for about $85. bucks. The bright and colorful banners drew in the crowd with the mystery of what was inside the tent. Wyatt is considered to be among the top in his field. His banners today sell for thousands.

Sideshow banner painter Snap Wyatt and a handful of others including Fred Johnson, Tattoo Jack Cripe and Jack Sigler (now all deceased), brought art to the carnival midways of the 30’s through 60’s with their 10′ x10′ banners that waved outside the circus and carnival sideshows drawing the crowd to come inside.

Originally intended as silent talkers, the huge canvases played to a carnival attendees curiosity and directed them to walk right into the sideshow tent.

The banners portrayed the acts inside the tent and were an interesting combination of the bizarre and human oddities – from Major Debert Tiniest Man to the 643 pound Sweet Marie, Huey The Pretzel Boy to the Alligator Girl, Hydrocephalus Baby to The Penguin Boy.

Few considered the canvasses of sideshow banner painter Snap Wyatt and the other banner painters an art form at the time they were painted, yet today the mega-paintings are being bought almost as fast as they’re hung on an art gallery’s wall.

Snap Wyatt’s banners sell today for thousands. Snap Wyatt (1905-1984)

Some of the original posters are now part of the Kohler Foundation.

For more information and other posters by Snap Wyatt go here.

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