Chicago Museum of Science and Industry’s Circus Collection Up For Auction
September brings an extremely interesting auction from Potter & Potter Auctions up in Chicago.
For a long time, located as an exhibit of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, the Zweifel collection of circus artifacts have long been a staple of many who visited the museum.
"Lifelong circus fans and collectors, the Zweifels' archives were home to tens of thousands of documents, photographs, and relics, including correspondence and memorabilia, as well as circus and wild west costumes, posters, and banners," Potter & Potter wrote in their description. "Among the featured lots will be objects and documents from the life and career of Tom Thumb and Buffalo Bill, as well as P.T. Barnum, and nearly every "greatest show on earth" of the last century. Circus models, displays, and exhibits from the Museum of Science + Industry, Chicago are also featured in the sale."
Some of the items that caught my eye, of course, are some of the dioramas used to display what some of Barnum & Bailey's circus setups, parades, and even a diorama of the inside of a Big Top tent.
The auction begins on September 24th, 2022 at 10am Central.
Like this diorama, of what you'd see if you went to a traveling circus with multiple tents for multiple performances to happen at once.
Look at the detail of these tents, which look like they're made of canvas like the real thing.
This Model Circus Tent Diorama is expected to sell for somewhere between $4,000 and $8,000, but the starting bid is $2,000. You can view the lot here.
Another lot features an interior Circus Big Top Motorized Diorama, showing what the inside of one of these circuses would look like.
From Potter & Potter, "Detailed and finely crafted model of a three-ring circus big top created in exacting detail and including the canvas tent, and filled with performers both human and animal in the center of each ring as well as above them, with approximately 500 spectators in bleachers around the exterior of the performing area."
This thing is 125" x 24", so if you go for it, make sure you've got a space for it. This lot is estimated to go for $5,000-$10,000. Starting bid is $2,600. It can be viewed here.
If you remember when the circus would come through town, there'd almost always be some sort of a parade through town to let everyone know they were there. The animals would be in trailers on display for everyone to see that if they go to the show that night, they'll be seeing lions, tigers, and all kinds of other cool animals.
Well, to show that piece of history, check out this motorized diorama, which silhouettes captive audience members as they watch the parade pass by.
This diorama is approximately 33 feet long and features motorized elements to create the working parade.
"Remarkable and detailed motorized diorama featuring twenty-six carved models of circus wagons, performers, and animals recreated in miniature, all moving on a long snake-like winding track, recreating the grandeur and spectacle of an early twentieth century Ringling Brother's circus street parade," Potter & Potter wrote.
View this lot here.
It's expected to go for $5,000-$10,000 with a minimum bid of $2,600.
View the entire auction here!