Dissecting drawer box

This French box beautifully decorated in Napoleon III style is also expertly made. In the usual drawer box trick, the magician opens the drawer to show that the box is empty. When closed and reopened, the drawer is now full of whatever the magician wishes. This box goes one step further. After the first production the magician can disassemble the box to show it is empty (see photographs), but when reassembled a second production can be made. We have the provenance for this item in the collection. It was purchased by John Gambling from De Vere in Paris around 1896. John Gambling sold it to Claude Perry in the 1940s. It then passed to David Cridland who gave it to John and Anne Davenport.

Details of boxes such as this one are described in Professor Hoffmann’s book ‘Modern Magic’. With the agreement of Marco Pusterla we have included a link to his blog here where he discusses this type of drawer box.


Size Box size is 165 x 245 x height 130mm excluding the knob.
Date Second half of the 19th century.
Key Phrases ,
Ref no N2041