Saturday, May 16, 2009

Two ultra rare Houdini props hit eBay

Two one-of-a-kind Houdini props from the storied collection of Arthur Moses have been put up for sale on eBay.

First is Houdini's Original Spirit Cabinet Illusion. According to listing, this escape effect was built in 1924 and intended it to replace his famous Water Torture Cell. Houdini would be encased within four wooden boxes. Iron rods were then placed down the length of the four corners, locking the boxes in place. He may have also been restrained in ropes or chains strung though the holes on either side of the cabinet. The cabinet would then be concealed behind a small drape, from where Houdini would quickly emerge free - yet the cabinet, when shown and inspected, was still tightly secured. The New York Hippodrome program referred to it as "an almost perfect mystery." Opening bid: $18,000.

Next is an Original Houdini packing crate from his home in New York City. The crate contains old shipping labels stating that the trunk belongs to Bess and Harry Houdini. Each end of the crate contains Houdini's theatrical labels in large black letters proclaiming HOUDINI. The crate has Houdini handwriting on one side. In pencil, he wrote "ALL STRAIT JACKETS, OCT 1920." Milbourne Christopher's biography on Houdini clearly states that this was during the time that Houdini formed his movie company and placed his props in the basement to concentrate on making motion pictures. Starting bid: $30,000.

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