Sunday, November 26, 2017

Copperfield is "trying to get" Houdini's bookcase


If you've been following the story of the sale of Houdini's home in New York (278), you'll recall a bit of mystery in regards to his original bookcase. After the first open house in June, in which lucky attendees, including myself, got to recreate Houdini's famous pose beside the case, the bookcase mysteriously vanished, as reported by attendees at the second open house. After initially reporting that the bookcase had been sold to a private collector, the relator told me I was mistaken. It had simply been moved to another property.

Now David Copperfield has confirmed that he's trying to acquire the famous bookcase for his "International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts" in Las Vegas. In an interview with Luis de Matos about Magic Books, Copperfield speaks about owning "half" of Houdini's library (the half that went to John Mulholland), and then drops this bombshell:

Copperfield: We're trying to get the cabinet from his house that was just discovered, so the cabinet...the bookcase can be reunited with his books. Wish me luck with that. We'll see what happens.

So there we go. The bookcase is in play, and that's probably why it's no longer in the house (and therefore not part of the sale). Will it reappear in Las Vegas? Stay tuned.

You can watch the full interview at the Essential Magic Collection Facebook page.

UPDATE: I'm now hearing from more than one source that this is a done deal.

Related:

19 comments:

  1. It was a no brainer that DC was after the bookcase, and even the upright piano.

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    1. What happened (or is happening) with the piano is not at all clear.

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  2. I think like all of us...It would be wonderful news if the house was
    re- united with his books and personal items etc. (With all due respect)

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    1. I agree. My dream would be to see at least the parlor floor restored to what it was in Houdini's time and opened as a museum.

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  3. HH willed his book collection to the Library of Congress. He understood that his personal belongings could not and would not stay in 278 indefinitely. Anything that winds up in DCs museum will have a safe place to live.

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    1. That is also true. And the idea of reuniting books and case is pretty cool.

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  4. Is DC's museum actually open to the public, or is it a "museum" that's more of a tax dodge to allow him to collect stuff?

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    1. I believe it's open by invitation and for research.

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  5. Larry Weeks had one in his apartment.

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    1. Oh? There were two of these that were identical. Did Larry have the other? Or was it another Houdini bookcase -- another style?

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  6. The one I saw looked the same as the pictures from that house and from stills of him. Fred most likely has em now.

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    1. Actually, per Fred P., the one Larry had was a smaller cabinet that you can see behind HH in the ectoplasm shot. That one was in the front parlor. The big bookcases were in the back library.

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  7. I'm now hearing from more than one source that this is a done deal.

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  8. John, I hope you enjoy the New York weather when David Copperfield reunites the books with the case, and the case with the house, and puts you in charge of the whole thing.

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    1. That's a beautiful dream. :)

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    2. I don't believe DC is interested in 278. Something is holding him back.

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    3. I don't think he is either. He already has a house (or seven).

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  9. Only wish DC would open a public museum with his collection, but glad to see the bookcase is going to a good home. I can also understand his need to protect his collection. Thank you, as always, for keeping us all updated

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    1. Maybe someday he will. His collection is getting so huge, maybe he could open a small public museum featuring a rotating selection of his material. I think that would be great.

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