Saturday, June 04, 2011

The 42nd Annual Magic Collectors Weekend - May 21, 2011 Part 2

The American Museum of Magic
On April 1, 1978, Robert Lund opened the American Museum of Magic.  Since that day magicians and public alike have made a pilgrimage to the hamlet of Marshall, Michigan to see the delights the museum holds. For the researcher, there is a treasure trove of over 1800 individual files, over 10,000 books, 1000s more in posters and props.

Museum Director Jeff Taylor is on hand to give a brief update on the state of the museum. Jeff is not a magic guy. He is a museum guy. A great choice to run a museum. It seems obvious, I know, but it wasn’t always so. The real work of a museum isn’t necessarily the management of the collection. The real work is grant writing. The museum needs money to run and it is good they have a professional to move that forward. 

For example: the museum owns Doug Henning’s Zig Zag, but it is deteriorating rapidly. Paint is flaking off on a daily basis. The museum is looking for a grant to restore this precious piece of magic history. This is only one of many. (And if you are so inclined, you can donate.)

The museum is also doing outreach with their magic partners on the board of directors. The have several events a month to boost awareness and foot traffic. They have started magic camps and they are working on expanding their hours. It would be good to a vibrant community to form around the museum. Please visit their website for more information: You can also find them on Facebook.

Going, Going, Gone!
Gabe Fajuri presided over one of the better presentations of the weekend. His business is the auction house of Potter & Potter ( he has hosted some of the most important magic auctions of the last few years. His job today is to lay bare the secrets of his business and take us through the auction process, from start to finish. This is not the ebay style of auction he is talking about.

After his presentation, he sat down with Mike Caveney, George Daily, and David Goodman. Mike and George’s experience being running their own auction and David Goodman is one of the most respected auctioneers working. They all made for a great informative panel.

My notes include: Investigate the auction house you plan to use. Take your time. Make sure you are comfortable and understand their terms, many are negotiable. Make sure they will do their due diligence in taking care of your belongings.

The most important point of the talk and panel was one of estate planning. Don’t just dump your collection on someone. Document your collection. Leave an inventory, provenance, stories, amount paid, behind or don’t leave it to someone else. Sell it yourself.

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