Monday, April 23, 2012

'Dark Side' Houdini handcuffs on eBay


A pair of gaffed Houdini handcuffs that were featured on Steve Santini's Deals From The Dark Side TV show are now for sale on eBay. Bidding starts at $3000 with a Buy It Now price of $4,500. The cuffs have excellent provenance (not covered in the show), which Steve lays out in the auction description below:

Offered is a very rare set of Froggatt "Darby" handcuffs made for legendary escape artist Harry Houdini by well known Victorian British handcuff and restraint maker Tomas Froggatt. Froggatt and Houdini were friends and it is known that Froggatt made a number of tricked handcuffs and restraints which Houdini used in his acts of self liberation. This particular pair of handcuffs were made by Froggatt with a shortened spring which allowed Houdini to "rap" them open and escape from them without any tools or lock picking instruments. These handcuffs originally come from the Joseph Dunninger collection of magic memorabilia which included many original Harry Houdini owned and used props. In the 1980's these handcuffs, along with a number of other Houdini related artifacts went from Joseph Dunninger's widow to one Richard Silmzer, a Canadian escape artist and collector who had befriended Mrs. Dunninger. From there they passed through the hands of two collectors before finally coming to me. I am more than happy to outline all of this information in a provenance letter I will supply with the cuffs. Unlike many alleged Houdini owned restraints, these cuffs were tricked at the time of manufacture by Froggatt and show no signs of tampering post manufacture. The end caps, pictured, show no signs of having ever been removed post manufacture to substitute a weaker spring in the cuffs. The cuffs are featured in a episode of the Canadian T.V. show, "Deals From the Dark Side" where we took them to The Houdini Museum in Scranton, PA. A master locksmith and collector of restraints at the museum studied the cuffs and said that he believed that the gimmicking proccess which allows the cuffs to be rapped open was done at the time of manufacture. The cuffs themselves function perfectly and come with the original key. Both cuffs and key are stamped with the number 3 and the cuffs are also stamped with the maker's name, FROGGATT. If you are a collector of Houdiniana, this is one items that is a must have for your collection. View auction.

Click here to watch the Houdini handcuffs episode of Deals From The Dark Side.

UPDATE: The cuffs sold for $3,800.

1 comment:

  1. These were checked out at Scranton's Houdini Museum by a master locksmith and experienced escape artist who was very careful in his examination of the cuffs. He was not pressured in any way as to his decision. In fact he was very clear in telling Steve Santini and the producers that he would not verify them if he was not sure of what they were.

    It was shown on the TV show.

    Dick Brookz & Dorothy Dietrich
    Houdini Museum
    The only building in the world dedicated to Houdini.

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