This is a very elaborate box to achieve the effect. The magician shows a lily in the box and then closes the lid. When re-opened, the box contains a rose. The style resembles 19th century French manufacture. This once belonged to Stanley Thomas, who left it to Claude Perry, who left it to David Cridland, who gifted it to the Davenport Collection in 2009. At one time it was owned by Chris Van Bern who was trying to sell it. His letter is also illustrated here. There is no date on his letter, but at the time he was clearly short of money. He made the most unlikely claim that the ‘Beautiful box was made and invented by Robert Houdin’. He was asking £1 for it.

Hoffmann (Angelo Lewis) wrote a great deal, and a great deal has been written about him over the years. This short, illustrated article by Brian Lead contains interesting information about Professor Hoffmann, his output of books and how he was regarded by the world of magic.

All have dates of March, April or May 1931. The images are of Alexander Herrmann, Howard Thurston, Ching Ling Foo, Robert Houdin, Harry Houdini, J.W. Elliott MD, Okito – Theo. Bamberg, Gus Fowler, Carl Rosini, Carl Hertz, Frederick Eugene Powell, T. Nelson Downs, Harry Rouclere, Karl Herrmann, Wizard Jacobs, Wyman The Wizard, MacAlister, J.N. Maskelyne, Jonathan Harrington, Robert Heller, Antonio Blitz, Imro Fox, Buatier De Kolta, Servais Le Roy, William E. Robinson (Ching [sic] Ling Soo).