Circus, sideshow and oddities: Relics from bygone era coming to auction

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 The top lot at Potter & Potter’s auction of the collection of Dave and Mary Jane Price on Nov. 16 is Buffalo Bill’s First Wild West Performance Program, inscribed in ink to title page “William Jacobs/Omaha, Nebraska/1883/1st show.” William Jacobs was a private in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Omaha, Nebraska beginning in February 1882. This program for Cody & Carver’s Rocky Mountain & Prairie Exhibition, with the Famed Scout and Indian Fighter Buffalo Bill (Hon. W.F. Cody), and Dr. W.F. Carver, King of Riflemen, and Acknowledged Champion Marksman of the World, Will Soon Appear in This City (Hartford, CT: Calhoun Printing Company, 1883) is likely the only surviving program of the initial performance of the Wild West show on May 19, 1883. It has a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-$7,000.

The top lot at Potter & Potter’s auction of the collection of Dave and Mary Jane Price on Nov. 16 is Buffalo Bill’s First Wild West Performance Program, inscribed in ink to title page “William Jacobs/Omaha, Nebraska/1883/1st show.” William Jacobs was a private in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Omaha, Nebraska beginning in February 1882. This program for Cody & Carver’s Rocky Mountain & Prairie Exhibition, with the Famed Scout and Indian Fighter Buffalo Bill (Hon. W.F. Cody), and Dr. W.F. Carver, King of Riflemen, and Acknowledged Champion Marksman of the World, Will Soon Appear in This City (Hartford, CT: Calhoun Printing Company, 1883) is likely the only surviving program of the initial performance of the Wild West show on May 19, 1883. It has a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-$7,000.

CHICAGO — Featuring the circus collection of Dave and Mary Jane Price, Potter & Potter’s November sale will include nearly 1,000 vintage circus posters, plus costumes, model circus trains, and other relics from bygone wonder-shows. The circus collectibles are complemented by an array of unusual, uncommon and unbelievable oddities, sideshow memorabilia, banners, photographs, taxidermy and relics of the “believe it or not” variety. Highlights include Tom Thumb memorabilia, sideshow electric chairs and props, and big, bold banners from the masters of the form.

The auction will begin at 10 a.m. Nov. 16. Previews will be held in the gallery from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 14-15. For more information, visit potterauctions.com.

 Svensons electronic flea circus, all parts self-contained in a hard road case,including accessories that allow for the apparent performance of circus feats by fleas, 24” x 17” x 11”; estimate: $700-$900.

Svensons electronic flea circus, all parts self-contained in a hard road case,including accessories that allow for the apparent performance of circus feats by fleas, 24” x 17” x 11”; estimate: $700-$900.

 A wall display of a fur-bearing trout “caught while trolling in Lake Superior off Gros Cap, near Sault Ste. Marie, District of Algoma” by Ross Jobe, 1967. Mounted to an oval wooden panel with explanatory card underneath, which claims that “the great depth and extreme penetrating coldness of the water which these fish live, has caused them to grow their dense coat of (usually) white fur.” Length is 15”; estimate: $250-$350.

A wall display of a fur-bearing trout “caught while trolling in Lake Superior off Gros Cap, near Sault Ste. Marie, District of Algoma” by Ross Jobe, 1967. Mounted to an oval wooden panel with explanatory card underneath, which claims that “the great depth and extreme penetrating coldness of the water which these fish live, has caused them to grow their dense coat of (usually) white fur.” Length is 15”; estimate: $250-$350.

 A sideshow banner for Popeye, ca. 1950. The 137” x 120” banner shows the performer’s head in profile, his eyes popping out of his head. It has a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

A sideshow banner for Popeye, ca. 1950. The 137” x 120” banner shows the performer’s head in profile, his eyes popping out of his head. It has a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

 A rare, oversized portrait lithograph (49” x 34-1/4”) of Barnum’s famous bearded lady, Annie Jones, for an appearance at the Musee Castan, Brussels, in 1891 is expected to fetch between $2,500-$3,500.

A rare, oversized portrait lithograph (49” x 34-1/4”) of Barnum’s famous bearded lady, Annie Jones, for an appearance at the Musee Castan, Brussels, in 1891 is expected to fetch between $2,500-$3,500.

 Enormous Mule-Face Woman sideshow banner by Snap Wyatt, Tampa, FL, ca. 1960s, 240” x 108”; estimate: $3,000-$5,000.

Enormous Mule-Face Woman sideshow banner by Snap Wyatt, Tampa, FL, ca. 1960s, 240” x 108”; estimate: $3,000-$5,000.

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