treasure trove of Houdiniana from the collection of the late E. A. Dearn, recently discovered in a garage in Australia, blew past their modest auction estimates when they were sold today at Lawsons in New South Wales.
A signed photo and handwritten letter by Bess, in which she talks about the dressing room punch and her final moments with Harry, was estimated at $200-$400. It sold for $4,500 (including buyers premium). A cache of letters from Houdini and Bess to Dearn, estimated at $2000-$3000, fetched $17,000.
A collection of material assembled by Houdini on The Davenport Brothers sold for $13,000 (estimate $1,500-$2000). A large lot of magicians photos and ephemera, including unpublished shots of Houdini and Bess, beat the $2,500-$3,500 estimate and sold for $13,000. An original King of Cards poster grabbed a respectable $7000 (estimate $800-$1,200).
A good day for magic collectors!
UPDATE: The great David Ben has posted a blog at Magicana about how there was and still is no mention of this major auction on magic forums and collectors communities. Of course, this auction was no secret to readers of this magic blog. Still, as Ben writes, it is A Curious Lot.
UPDATE 2: Lawsons sale makes news in Australia