Magic Collection of Rudiger Deutsch: Part 1
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 10/26/2019
Willmann Automaton Talking Skull. Hamburg: John Willmann, ca. 1930. Genuine modified human skull that rests atop a thick book of spells on a table. As if conversing with the performer and his audience, the jaw of the skull raps out answers to questions, clicking once for “yes” and twice for “no.” Elaborate mechanism inside faux folio-size book incorporating a network of brass gears, ratchets, and a governor. Real human skull slightly modified with springs to jaw, and brass plate and pins to allow for the clicking effect. Book contains several handwritten leaves of text, yet expertly conceals the internal mechanism. With two keys and over ten pages of extensive typewritten and holographic directions (in German) related to the preparation and performance of the routine, as well as two TLSs related to its history, one from Willmann, the other from F.W. Conradi. Book 15 ¾ x 12 x 3”. One of two examples known. Perhaps the most elaborate talking skull ever constructed, and one of but a handful known using a genuine human skull in its design. The clockwork mechanism concealed in the massive book is a true masterpiece of Willmann’s mechanical abilities, and is certainly one of the most complex devices his firm ever constructed. Sales literature included with the skull calls it “Der Totenkopf nach Joseffy,” which translates to “The Skull after Joseffy.” Joseffy’s skull, Balsamo, is legendary among magicians for both its mechanical complexity and the eerie realism the mechanism lent to his presentation of the effect. This Willmann-made skull was made in tribute to Balsamo, and is automaton-like in its construction in many ways.
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $13,200.00
Estimate: $6,000 - $9,000
Number Bids: 21
Auction closed on Saturday, October 26, 2019.
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