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Lot 5: ALEXANDER (CLAUDE ALEXANDER CONLIN). Alexander. The Crystal Seer.

The Golden Age of Magic Posters • The Nielsen Collection Part II

by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.

February 4, 2017

Chicago, IL, USA

Live Auction
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Description: [Bombay: Av Yaga?], ca. 1920. Lithograph panel poster bears a striking portrait of Alexander’s turbaned visage surrounded by skulls, and hovering over a crystal ball. 14 ¼ x 41 ¼". Slight tear affecting. Old fold and minor repairs. Good condition; B+. Alexander was, perhaps, the most successful professional theatrical mind reader of his generation. He made millions of dollars performing on the grandest vaudeville stages — nearly $240,000 in 1924 alone — and retired at age 47 to a sprawling estate in the Pacific Northwest. According to Alexander’s biographer, David Charvet, “Claude Alexander Conlin admitted to killing four men, was married seven times, occasionally to more than one woman at a time, spent time in jails and prisons around the United States, and counted some of the greatest magicians of his time as his close friends.” In 1944, Alexander sold his entire show — props, posters, costumes, and all — to Robert Nelson of Columbus, Ohio, who ran a successful business supplying mentalists and mind readers. For decades, Alexander posters, including those offered here, filtered out into the magic community and beyond, from Nelson’s store rooms.

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