The Davenport Collection
- a growing resource on magic and entertainment history

Novelty catalogues

Davenports Popular Magic catalogue. Red cover, 1960

Davenports Popular Magic catalogue. Red cover, 1960

This was Davenports second major post WW2 catalogue, issued from their 25 New Oxford Street address. It continued to be used following their move to 51 Great Russell Street. It was mentioned in Abracadabra, 8 October 1960 under ‘What’s New’, as illustrated here.

Davenports Magical Catalogue Demon Series. White cover, 1956

Davenports Magical Catalogue Demon Series. White cover, 1956

This was Davenports first major post WW2 catalogue, issued from their 25 New Oxford Street address. It was advertised in Abracadabra, 29 September 1956. The same issue of Abra contains an amusing news item about the catalogue by ‘F.’ (Fabian), which is well worth a read. It is illustrated here with the Davenports advertisement.

Woolworth’s Stores catalogue of E. & S. (Ellisdons) items

Woolworth’s Stores catalogue of E. & S. (Ellisdons) items

These four pink pages offer ‘A Selection of the World’s Best Jokes, Tricks, Puzzles, Magic, Novelties (made in England)’. No item costs more than six old pence (6d). I am grateful to Philip Treece for explaining in 2021 that the use of E. & S. allowed retailers like Woolworths to purchase from Ellisdons without fear that customers would be directed to purchase directly from Ellisdons. The fascinating story as to how this list of items came about will be told in a forthcoming book by Philip Treece about the Ellisdon family and business.

Hamleys Book of Magic and Mystery catalogue, probably dated just before World War 1.

Hamleys Book of Magic and Mystery catalogue, probably dated just before World War 1.

The catalogue also contains a few pages of novelties, puzzles and jokes. A sticker has been pasted onto the front cover pointing out that prices cannot be guaranteed owing to the War. The catalogue has been dated on this basis. The back cover is also illustrated because it gives their various addresses in London at the time, as well as noting their presence in Paris and Nuremberg.

Gamagic catalogue from Gamages, London, circa 1913

Gamagic catalogue from Gamages, London, circa 1913

The cover shows David Devant in the costume worn by him at the Royal Command Performance at The Palace Theatre, 1 July 1912. The catalogue covers magic and its allied arts, juggling, puzzles, novelties and jokes. This catalogue also contains an order form which is a sheet of paper, folded into 4 pages, all of which are printed.

Ellisdons catalogue, 1969

Ellisdons catalogue, 1969

60 pages crammed full with jokes, novelties, puzzles, magic and gifts. At one time Ellisdons had a large retail shop in Holborn, London. By 1969 they had become fully mail order, operating from Bedford in England.

S.S. Adams Company catalogue, 1930

S.S. Adams Company catalogue, 1930

16 pages crammed full with jokes, novelties, puzzles and magic. According to the cover this illustrated catalogue features jokers’ novelties, magic, puzzles, table decorations and favors, and funny banquet novelties. Manufactured by S.S. Adams Company, Asbury Park, New Jersey.