The most sought-after magic collectible in the world!
Every magician who knows his magic history is familiar with the "Traveling Magician" statue, and knows how rare it is to see one, much less own one. Less than 90 have been located over the years, and when one comes on the market, it is quickly snatched up by an eager collector of important magical memorabilia.
This is one of the rare opportunities to own a John Rogers Traveling Magician. The statue was made in 1877, and is signed and dated by the John Rogers Studio. This particular one was once owned by well-known magician and author Carl Jones, who wrote Greater Magic. The statue remained in his family for many years after his death, and was purchased directly from Carl's grandson, Finn Jones.
The statue is in very good shape, in original paint. The color is the authentic pale gray that Rogers often used. This shade really shows the details of the statue to their best advantage.
John Rogers (1829-1904) was a machinist from Manchester, N.H., who turned his hobby of sculpting into a very financially successful company. At the time, tabletop sculptures were only made in bronze, and were extremely expensive, much too expensive for the average family to own. In the mid-1800s, well before the age of television, people would gather in the parlors of friends and family and amuse themselves by telling stories or discussing interesting facts and information. Rogers' idea was to create tabletop statues that would encourage such lively conversation, statues that depicted a story. The statues would be viewable on all sides and would be very detailed and true to life. Best of all, the statues would be mass produced in plaster to make them affordable.
The Traveling Magician statue depicts a magician entertaining a man and his son while a young girl (the magician's assistant) has fallen asleep, obviously bored at having seen the rabbit pulled from the hat many times before. The spectators appear totally baffled by the magician's skill- but if the statue is viewed from the back, part of his magical secret is revealed. The magician's apprentice is apparently hiding under the table, and is secretly handing the magician a dove!
It is interesting to see which magic tricks Rogers sculpted for the magician. The traditional "rabbit from a hat" is the central theme, and the secret assistant is an amusing touch. The Watch From Bread trick (in which the magician borrows a watch, makes it disappear and then reappear inside a baked loaf of bread) is also depicted. The pistol on the table could represent an exhibition of trick shooting. But the wig is a mystery! Unfortunately, there is no record of why John Rogers chose the particular props for this statue.
The statue is 23" tall, 16" wide, 15" deep, and weighs 48 lbs. The statue is finished in "John Rogers gray", one of the official colors used by Rogers in the original manufacture of these groups. There is damage to the top of the umbrella in the spectator's hand, which can be easily repaired by one of the professional Rogers restorers. (We can put you in touch with several restorers if you wish.) There is some paint flaking on various parts of the statue, including the magician's forehead. If this bothers you, it is a repair that can be done by a restorer. Please keep in mind that this statue was made in 1877, and of course shows minor imperfections that would be expected in a plaster statue that is over 135 years old. Some collectors prefer to leave the statue "as is", some prefer "like new" restoration. It's up to you! (Cost of any restoration work would be at your expense, and would be a separate transaction between you and the restorer.)