Man of Magic - The Keith Abson Collection

24 April 2018 to 25 May 2018

IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS IS A PRE-SALE AUCTION.

If you place any bids via the website you are pre-bidding for Sale 8539M, Man of Magic - The Keith Abson Collection.

When pre-bidding ends, the highest online bids will be used as commission bids in the saleroom.

Sale 8539M - Lot 220 - 'Abbott's Magic Catalog No. 21', 1976 (2 copies)

Lot 220, 25 May 2018

'Abbott's Magic Catalog No. 21', 1976 (2 copies)

Estimate: $20 - $30

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 227 - 6 Vols., all circus related

Lot 227, 25 May 2018

6 Vols., all circus related

Estimate: $10 - $20

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 229 - Collapsible Conjurer's Box, nicely decorated. 31cm H

Lot 229, 25 May 2018

Collapsible Conjurer's Box, nicely decorated. 31cm H

Estimate: $30 - $50

Current Top Bid : $35 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 231 - Card Tricks! 3 hand-made props and a deck of oversized cards. Tallest 32cm

Lot 231, 25 May 2018

Card Tricks! 3 hand-made props and a deck of oversized cards. Tallest 32cm

Estimate: $20 - $30

Current Top Bid : $50 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 232 - Collection of Vintage Timber Cutout Props

Lot 232, 25 May 2018

Collection of Vintage Timber Cutout Props

Estimate: $20 - $30

Current Top Bid : $10 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 234 - Pair of Decorated Die Boxes

Lot 234, 25 May 2018

Pair of Decorated Die Boxes

Estimate: $10 - $20

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 236 - Large Vintage Die Box, dimensions 29cm W, 18cm H, 14cm D

Lot 236, 25 May 2018

Large Vintage Die Box, dimensions 29cm W, 18cm H, 14cm D

Estimate: $30 - $50

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 240 - Vintage 'Reg McDonald: Man of Mystery' Timber Sandwich Board. 72cm H

Lot 240, 25 May 2018

Vintage 'Reg McDonald: Man of Mystery' Timber Sandwich Board. 72cm H

Estimate: $60 - $80

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 242 - Pair of Hand-Made and Painted Oversized Timber Card Tricks, H 39cm

Lot 242, 25 May 2018

Pair of Hand-Made and Painted Oversized Timber Card Tricks, H 39cm

Estimate: $30 - $50

Current Top Bid : $15 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 243 - Miniature Guillotine, with gruesome details, hand-made. 47cm H

Lot 243, 25 May 2018

Miniature Guillotine, with gruesome details, hand-made. 47cm H

Estimate: $10 - $20

Current Top Bid : $25 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 245 - Set of 4 Graduated Bottles, tin construction, good condition

Lot 245, 25 May 2018

Set of 4 Graduated Bottles, tin construction, good condition

Estimate: $60 - $80

Current Top Bid : $20 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 246 - Set of 3 Red Die Boxes, all approx 23cm W

Lot 246, 25 May 2018

Set of 3 Red Die Boxes, all approx 23cm W

Estimate: $30 - $50

Current Top Bid : $20 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 248 - Assortment of Vintage Tin Props

Lot 248, 25 May 2018

Assortment of Vintage Tin Props

Estimate: $30 - $50

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 250 - Vintage Feather Bouquet

Lot 250, 25 May 2018

Vintage Feather Bouquet

Estimate: $20 - $30

Current Top Bid : $25 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 251 - Mysterious Box Apparatus, brightly handpainted, some damage. 48 cm W x 31cm H

Lot 251, 25 May 2018

Mysterious Box Apparatus, brightly handpainted, some damage. 48 cm W x 31cm H

Estimate: $20 - $30

Current Top Bid : $20 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 255 - Spider in the Smokes, hand-made gag

Lot 255, 25 May 2018

Spider in the Smokes, hand-made gag

Estimate: $20 - $30

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 255A - Magician's Swords/Knives (9). Matches Sword Box in lot 252

Lot 255A, 25 May 2018

Magician's Swords/Knives (9). Matches Sword Box in lot 252

Estimate: $50 - $70

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 257 - Lots of Blocks, a large box of timber cubes and related articles

Lot 257, 25 May 2018

Lots of Blocks, a large box of timber cubes and related articles

Estimate: $30 - $50

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 259 - Magic Shop in a Box, a fun assortment of tricks and gags

Lot 259, 25 May 2018

Magic Shop in a Box, a fun assortment of tricks and gags

Estimate: $60 - $80

Current Top Bid : $35 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 260 - Magic Money Makers, 26 units in wrapping

Lot 260, 25 May 2018

Magic Money Makers, 26 units in wrapping

Estimate: $10 - $20

Current Top Bid : $20 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 261 - Large Assortment of Tin Props, incl billiard ball stand, magic awl and cage

Lot 261, 25 May 2018

Large Assortment of Tin Props, incl billiard ball stand, magic awl and cage

Estimate: $10 - $20

Current Top Bid : $20 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 262 - Cheap Tricks and Gags, plus collection of wands

Lot 262, 25 May 2018

Cheap Tricks and Gags, plus collection of wands

Estimate: $10 - $20

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 263 - Box of Vintage Tricks including linking rings

Lot 263, 25 May 2018

Box of Vintage Tricks including linking rings

Estimate: $40 - $60

Current Top Bid : $60 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 265 - More Vintage Tricks

Lot 265, 25 May 2018

More Vintage Tricks

Estimate: $40 - $60

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 270 - Retro 'Magic Tricks Show' Apparatus Sets, unopened (9)

Lot 270, 25 May 2018

Retro 'Magic Tricks Show' Apparatus Sets, unopened (9)

Estimate: $10 - $20

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 273 - Box of Books on Magic, mostly Houdini-related

Lot 273, 25 May 2018

Box of Books on Magic, mostly Houdini-related

Estimate: $20 - $40

Current Top Bid : $20 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 274 - Box of Books on Card tricks, incl Erdnase's 'The Expert at the Card Table'

Lot 274, 25 May 2018

Box of Books on Card tricks, incl Erdnase's 'The Expert at the Card Table'

Estimate: $20 - $40

Current Top Bid : $20 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 276 - Box of Books on Stage and Card Magic

Lot 276, 25 May 2018

Box of Books on Stage and Card Magic

Estimate: $20 - $40

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 279 - Box of Children's Magic Books

Lot 279, 25 May 2018

Box of Children's Magic Books

Estimate: $20 - $40

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 280 - Box of Books on Magic, duplicates incl. 'Hypnotism' and 'Man, Myth, Magic'

Lot 280, 25 May 2018

Box of Books on Magic, duplicates incl. 'Hypnotism' and 'Man, Myth, Magic'

Estimate: $50 - $70

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 281 - Box of Related Books

Lot 281, 25 May 2018

Box of Related Books

Estimate: $20 - $40

Sale 8539M - Lot 284 - Box of Books on Magic, incl 'Secrets of the Card Sharps' by Majax, 1977

Lot 284, 25 May 2018

Box of Books on Magic, incl 'Secrets of the Card Sharps' by Majax, 1977

Estimate: $10 - $20

Current Top Bid : $5 has been bid - Sign in

Sale 8539M - Lot 290 - Australian 10th Convention of Magicians June 1966, attendee souvenir badge

Lot 290, 25 May 2018

Australian 10th Convention of Magicians June 1966, attendee souvenir badge

Estimate: $40 - $60

Current Top Bid : $10 has been bid - Sign in

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Sale Information

Date: 25 May 2018 13:00
Location: Lawsons, Leichhardt
Contact: 
Phone: 61-2 9566 2377

Viewing Information:


ON VIEW:
Thursday 17 May, 8:00am-5:00pm
Friday 18 May, 8:00am-5:00pm
Thursday 24 May, 8:00am-5:00pm
Day of Sale, 8:00am-1:00pm

Pre-Sale Online Bidding

Sale Comments

Keith Abson (1912 - 1988)
In the dusty streets of central Victoria, a man stood in front of a young boy with a playing card in his hands, slowly tore it into pieces, and then with magic, put it back together as new. This amazed the young boy and triggered a lifelong passion for the wonderment of magic.

Keith Oswald Clyde Abson (6 June 1912 to 29 September 1988) grew up as the second eldest of 10 children in the rural towns of Wedderburn and St Arnaud in Victoria. During the Depression years, with work scarce for his father and a large family to feed, Keith decided it was best to leave school at 13 to find work on local farms.

In his own partial biography, 'The Magician Dreams', Keith wrote: "Those years taught me how to be tough and sleep out in all weathers and go without food, and travel and mix with all sorts of people and how to entertain those people in all sorts of conditions."

One day the horse-van of Charles (Charlie) Sloggett pulled into St Arnaud and set up an old tent with a sign, 'The Incomparable Sloggetts'. Keith was offered some work and jumped at the opportunity, learning some of the art of show business and the tricks of the magic trade. As with any caravan-magician, it came time for Charlie to move on to the next town in search of the next audience. Keith begged his father to let him travel with Charlie and so began Keith's magical journey.

Keith's network of magicians grew and his confidence in the magic industry grew. His appetite for learning was insatiable and his reverence for the printed word prompted Keith to keep a scrapbook of articles, letters, photographs and guidance notes on how to perform various tricks. When World War II broke out, Keith was camped under a tree in Bendigo, with virtually nothing but his scrap book. He enlisted and began his 1,912 days of service in the Australian Imperial Force.

Wherever Keith went, his book went with him. His service took him to Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea and various bases in Australia. He was one of the Rats of Tobruk and used his magic skills to keep the morale high among the men and provide some light entertainment as "Abo the Great". He didn't speak much in later life about his war memories, though he was proud of his service to his country. While stationed overseas he was encouraged by correspondence from his friends Dr Harlan Tarbell and J. Albert Briggs who sent him tricks, letters, books and magazines. While in New Guinea, he left his fighting unit and joined the famous Milne Bay Concert Party and was part of the New Guinea Magic Convention.

Keith named his first son Harlan after Dr Harlan Tarbell and involved him as the mascot of the Melbourne Australian Society of Magicians.
After the war was over, Keith set up his own magic show, 'The Palace of Magic', with his Lady Assistant Eileen, and toured all over Australia, including Tasmania. Eileen eventually grew tired of show business, so they separated, and Keith continued on his own until retiring in 1968.

Keith was involved in several magic clubs, including the Independent Magical Performers of Sydney which merged with the Australian Magicians' Club, of which Keith became President, serving during the mid-1970s. Keith produced the club magazine Gems of Magic, of which there is only one issue previously known to exist. He wrote two documents 'Harlan's Magic Circle' and 'The Magician Dreams' which gives a sense of Keith's deep love of magic and its importance in his life. Chapter 7 of 'The Magician Dreams' is currently in the State Library of NSW.

Keith's collection of scrapbooks of photos, articles, history, tricks, biographies of other magicians continued to grow and form part of the collection he bequeathed to his grandson, James Abson, in his will. Such a collection comprises scrapbooks and papers from the J. Albert Briggs collection, the Harrie Ensor papers, and the estate of George Whittaker (Chandalu) which feature throughout the auction.

Keith said that, "The greatest thing in magic is your own imagination." It is hoped that Keith's collection of magic memorabilia and books spanning back to the 1800s, will spark the imagination of those magicians and historians that are alive today and help continue Keith's 'Magician's Dreams'.

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