Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Houdini straitjacket still looking for a buyer

The Houdini straitjacket authenticated by magician Murray SawChuck on a recent episode of Pawn Stars is still looking for a buyer. The jacket has cycled several times on eBay with a price of $149,000 or "best offer." Ironically, in this weeks episode of Pawn Stars, one of the commercial break quizzes revealed the jacket as the item "Rick most regrets not buying." His offer was $25,000.

The jacket -- which I'm convinced is indeed the straitjacket Houdini used for several of his suspended escapes -- was given to the seller's grandfather, Paul J. Campbell (a coffee salesman for Fleetwood Coffee), by Houdini's brother Theo. Hardeen "in late 1927 or early 1928." It has been in the family ever since.

SawChuck identified the jacket by matching specific rivets and double stitching on the customized jacket from a photo taken at the same time as the above. By the way, the seller dates the photo at 1915, but Patrick Culliton says it's more likely 1923 (and I concur). Patrick also thinks the Houdini jacket currently on display at the Skirball Center, which is in this same style, may be the jacket Hardeen is wearing in this photo.

Here are a few more pics of the jacket, which is due to cycle off eBay in 10 hours.

With thanks to MSW.


  1. It certainly looks soft and well-worn, so it's probably quite comfortable.

    But here's my problem Mr. Cox; I already have several "everyday" straitjackets.

    I really need something more formal to attend the black tie events here at the asylum.

  2. I'm reminded of a saying my grandpa once said to me
    PIGS EAT HOGS GET SLAUGHTERED !!!!! the owner of this jacket has been a HOG and now he's clearly screwed
    It's now got a label attached to it that it's been everywhere
    And still hasn't sold which collectors hate it implys a problem with the piece or else it clearly would have sold by now and it's got a reputation which really hurts there's no excitement in buying a piece that's been shopped all over the world for years and never sold so good luck to the hog moving a dog now
    Disgusted with hogs

    1. Check my update at the end of the story. It sold in November 2011 at Christie's for $46,980.