Published: 00:01, 23 June 2018
A mysterious box of magic tricks dating back to the 1930s has prompted a hunt for its original owner after selling at auction.
Entertainer Ashley White, 36, bid £18 for a box with silver hoops and a wand poking from the top, hopeful it contained new props.
The Grand Burstin's resident singer discovered a trove of 50 tricks, a handwritten instruction manual and scrapbook detailing an old magician’s life.
It belonged to Marvo the Master of Modern Magic, who from 1940s to the 1980s, appeared to be well-known for his fire-breathing and blade swallowing antics.
Marvo, real name John Weaver-Smith, lived in Chequers Park in Wye and Ball Lane in Kennington, near Ashford, between 1967 and 1980, his scrapbook documents show.
Mr White, of Risborough Way, Cheriton said: “I looked through it and found all of this incredible stuff.
"In here is all his tricks, pay-cheques, old letters, his scrapbook, newspaper cuttings, letters of thanks, it’s absolutely amazing and I’m really sad that it has ended up at an auction house for such a little amount.
“The documents show he moved around a lot in the Ashford area but that all suddenly stops around the 1980s.
"There are addresses for London and Wirrall, maybe even a Manchester connection, maybe this is where he travelled with his magic.”
Letters from the Magic Circle, the London Society of Magicians and Wirral Society of Magicians show he was widely travelled.
The scrapbook also shows Mr Weaver-Smith performing as a young boy and carries evidence he played his first professional gig in Birkenhead in 1945 aged 15.
Internet searches for Mr Weaver-Smith’s name or stage-name draw blanks and there appears to be no information on the magic society’s websites.
Mr White, an ex-Brockhill Park pupil, said: “If John is still alive or if his family read this I just want them to know that all of his belongings are in safe hands.”