The instructions say this is ‘the magical way to “steal” a lady’s valuable ring.’ There are two brass boxes and a lady places her ring in one box and a penny is placed in the other. The contents magically change places and the lady ends up with the penny. An honest magician returns the ring to the lady!

The magician places a carrot in the larger of the two holes and demonstrates that the chopper is strong enough to chop the carrot in two. The magician then invites a spectator to put their own finger through the hole. Needless to say their finger survives the chop. Unknown manufacturer.

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.

Magician Paula Baird, a good friend of the Davenport family, kept the cork from a bottle of sparkling wine which was part of her 69th birthday celebration. The cork now resides in the Davenport Collection. Her note kept with it reads: ‘Cork from bottle when I spent my 69th birthday with kids and Shirley. It was super. I even had a cake with one candle!! 27/5/87.’ At this time Paula lived in retirement in Norwich, England. For safe keeping, she had rolled up her note and tucked it into the wire around the cork.

British magician Cliff Townsend gave this to John and Anne Davenport in August 1981. On the front of the bone china plate he had stuck the roundel from the cover of The Magic Circular from the June and July, 1959 issue. It shows George Davenport on the right welcoming Dr Harlan Tarbell to the Annual Banquet as the Hon. Editor John Young looks on.

This crest was kept by Gus Davenport who served on the destroyer HMS Keppel during WW2. The crest is made from wood from a packing case – wartime shortages! The motto translates as: Do not give in to evil.