Tommy Wonder AMA Award Auction

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erdnasephile
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Tommy Wonder AMA Award Auction

Postby erdnasephile » September 29th, 2014, 9:25 am

I certainly don't begrudge the Tommy Wonder estate for selling his possessions--I hope they raise as much money as possible for the benefit of his loved ones. I also realize that when we leave this life, we take nothing with us.

However, this particular auction made me just a little bit wistful: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tommy-Wonder-Es ... 2341535a03

I wish there was some way these types of items could be sold back to a place like the Castle where it could be on display for other magicians to see and be inspired by. As it stands, it'll probably end up hidden away in someone's private collection possibly never to be seen again.

I know that's a dumb feeling and not rational or fair in any way--after all, that's how collecting works and at least it'll bring joy to whomever ultimately buys it. As it stands, I guess I just feel lucky and glad I was able to view the photos of this richly deserved award that belonged to one of my heroes.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Tommy Wonder AMA Award Auction

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 29th, 2014, 3:06 pm

There is another way to look at it (the bracketed words are unspoken because they go without saying): "Look here on this wall and you'll see the awards that the Academy bought back [because the families had no interest in keeping them and/or needed the money]."

Now that is a wistful thought.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Tommy Wonder AMA Award Auction

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 29th, 2014, 3:31 pm

It's not like the Oscars, where you are forbidden from selling it. And there's obviously a lot of interest.
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Max Maven
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Re: Tommy Wonder AMA Award Auction

Postby Max Maven » September 29th, 2014, 5:59 pm

Actually, it is like the Oscars. The AMA has always felt that the awards we give should not be subsequently sold. A few years ago, we found out that one disgruntled past recipient had sold his Gaughan wand on eBay. As a result of that, as of two years ago award winners are asked to sign a simple document that states that if they decide they no longer want to possess the award, they agree to let the AMA buy it back for a minimal fee.

We can't enforce this retroactively, of course. I wish Tommy's family all the best, but it saddens me to see this particular auction.

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Re: Tommy Wonder AMA Award Auction

Postby Bill Mullins » September 29th, 2014, 6:09 pm

I understand completely the reasons that the Oscars and the AMA do this. But somehow it seems to lessen the honor being bestowed -- to place emphasis on the thing that represents the award, rather than the sentiment and the recognition that the award represents. So what if Tommy's estate sells the piece of paper -- the reasons that the award was given to him don't change.

I just read that David Copperfield bought Michael Curtiz's Oscar statue that he got for directing Casablanca. Does that fact change what you think about the movie, about Curtiz, about the AMPAS's judgement in awarding Curtiz the Oscar? Or does it just remind you that the rich are different from you and me?

Leonard Hevia
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Re: Tommy Wonder AMA Award Auction

Postby Leonard Hevia » September 29th, 2014, 8:55 pm

It's kind of strange to see Tommy's props and AMA award go up on eBay. We suppose these things will stay in the family as heirlooms to be passed down to the next generation. Then reality rears its ugly head. I'm guessing Tommy's relatives believe they will get a better price from bidders than some magic museum. And let's face it, money is a commodity that is periodically required in order to at least survive, and navigating through the river of the Great Material Continuum can be treacherous.

My wake up call arrived when I began to participate in the Potter & Potter auctions several years ago. When I saw the photos, books, props and ephemera in the Potter catalogs that belonged to past legends like Cardini, Marshall, McComb, Vernon, Jennings, and Cervon, I realized that the surviving relatives and loved ones don't want to keep any of that stuff. Even magicians that are still with us like Tom Mullica jettisoned his magic collection. His original Mullica Wallet sold for a lot of cash.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Tommy Wonder AMA Award Auction

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 29th, 2014, 9:14 pm

Why take such a negative view? If his relatives don't feel an overwhelming need to keep the items, perhaps they think that allowing members of the magic community to buy them is better than throwing them away.
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Marco Pusterla
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Re: Tommy Wonder AMA Award Auction

Postby Marco Pusterla » September 30th, 2014, 3:00 am

In regards to Mr. Maven's post above, it would be interesting to hear a clarification about what the position of the AMA is in regards to the awards given to recipients who have died. The object itself has passed to the family/estate: is the family under the same obligations as the original recipient (who may or may have not signed the agreement with the AMA)?

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