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Pursuits

A Magical Trove of Ricky Jay Ephemera Hits Auction Block

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A woodblock poster featuring mentalists Samuel and Kitty Baldwin, from the Ricky Jay Collection, is displayed at Sotheby's on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in New York. The widow of the sleight-of-hand artist, card shark, author, actor and scholar turned over nearly 2,000 curiosities Jay collected to Sotheby's for an unusual auction. Divided into 634 lots, it's the focus of a live auction Wednesday and Thursday. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
A woodblock poster featuring mentalists Samuel and Kitty Baldwin, from the Ricky Jay Collection, is displayed at Sotheby's on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in New York. The widow of the sleight-of-hand artist, card shark, author, actor and scholar turned over nearly 2,000 curiosities Jay collected to Sotheby's for an unusual auction. Divided into 634 lots, it's the focus of a live auction Wednesday and Thursday. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

New York (AP) -- Conjurers, cheats, hustlers, hoaxsters, pranksters, jokesters, posturers, pretenders, sideshow showmen, armless calligraphers, mechanical marvels and popular entertainments.

Those were the things that interested the grizzled Ricky Jay, the sleight-of-hand artist, card shark, author, actor and scholar extraordinaire on all of the above who died in 2018 at age 72. When he passed, he left behind a vast trove of rare books, posters, broadsides and other artifacts that honored many who came before him.