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Sotheby’s New York is selling the Ricky Jay magic and circus collection on October 27-28 estimated at $40,000-60,000.

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It forms a remarkable archive of books, pamphlets, posters, handbills, broadsides, prints, ephemera and objects documenting the histories of magic and circus performers.

This 2ft 5in x 20in (74 x 50cm) poster c.1913-15 promoting Harry Houdini’s famous Upside Down in the Water Torture Cell is one of many rarities. Instead of picturing the tank of water, the locks and hasps, Houdini’s expression of concern tells the entire story.

It is estimated at $40,000-60,000.

sothebys.com