Saturday, June 25, 2016

Nielsen collection Houdini posters sell at auction

Today saw the first part of Potter & Potter Auctions two-part sale of Norm Nielsen's legendary magic poster collection. Among the 324 lots were several rare Houdini posters. Here are the auction results (including buyer's premium).

Water Torture Cell - $45,600 | The Grim Game - $24,000

A 1916 lithograph for Houdini's Water Torture Cell was the highest selling poster in the auction with $45,600. A healthy price to be sure, but a bit below the estimate of $50,000 - $70,000. A one-sheet for Houdini's The Grim Game sold for $24,000 with just one bid! It fell well below the $40,000 - $60,000 estimate and suggests the 2013 sale, in which this same poster took $67,166, was a fluke.

Doomed to Die - $6,720 | Master Mystifier - $2,400

A Houdini "DOOMED TO DIE!!" broadside beat the auction estimate of $3,000 - $4,000 and brought in $6,720. A 1925 poster is for Houdini's "3 Shows in One" fell right within the estimate at $2,400.

Houdini in Essen- $1,920 | Hardeen at Proctor's - $600

A German playbill for Houdini's 1902 appearance at the Colosseum in Essen sold for $1,920. Hardeen showed that he could surprise like his brother by tripling the low end of his auction estimate and adding $600 to the family.

In other results, the only know example of an Okito poster blew away the $10,000 - $15,000 auction estimate and crept into Houdini territory with a final price of $26,400 (second highest price of the auction). A one-of-a-kind Blackstone poster took in an impressive $18,000. A poster for Thurston as Kellar's Successor sold for $19,200 (short of the $25,000 - $35,000 estimate).

Okito - $26,400 | Blackstone - $18,000 | Thurston/Kellar - $19,200

Among more modern magicians, a poster for Doug Henning's own Water Torture Cell took in $300. An Amazing Randi Milk Can poster found a buyer at $600. A 1980 Richiardi Jr. poster surprised with $2,280 (estimate $400 - $600).

Henning - $300 | Randi - $600 | Richiardi - $2,280

Potter & Potter issued a beautiful hardbound auction catalog for this sale, which is a collector's item in itself. You can download or purchase a copy at their website. The auction house has not yet announced a date for The Nielsen Collection Part II. It will exciting to see what Houdini posters that next auction might contain.

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1 comment:

  1. My late father swapped a number of old posters to Norm Nielsen a number of years back, in exchange for one of his custom reproduction props. I think at least one of Dad's old posters was sold at the recent auction.

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