Saturday, July 2, 2011

Houdini playbill nabs $3,736 on eBay

An original 1905 playbill advertising Houdini's appearance at the Argyle Theatre in Birkenhead, England, sold yesterday on eBay for $3,736.00. The auction received 70 bids.

The colorful playbill measures 34 x 11 inches and mentions Houdini's victory over the Mirror Cuff as well as his original "Prison Cell and Barrel Mystery" (why don't we know more about this effect?).

According to the seller, until this playbill was discovered, Houdini's performance in Birkenhead was unknown. Houdini had appeared the previous week in Sunderland.

The eBay winner actually got a good deal. Another example of this same playbill sold at Christies in 2009 for $7,228.

UPDATE: You can now learn more about the Prison Cell & Barrel Mystery HERE.


  1. ..yes, why don't we know more of this effect?...just one more mystery...

  2. From what I can gather from the one poster we have, the Prison Cell and Barrel Mystery was a new version of Metamorphosis. Instead of a trunk, it was a barrel. Instead of a curtain cabinet, it was a "prison cell" (locked?). Instead of Bess, it was a male assistant (Kukol?).

  3. We have one of these which is to be auctioned in early December 2017.

    1. Great to know. We'll watch for it.

      BTW, I've provided an update with a link to a post I did this year all about the Prison Cell & Barrel Mystery. A mystery no more.

    2. It is to be sold via Omega Auctions in Warrington UK, should you know anyone interested. They will have the lot listings available in a few weeks.

  4. The houdini playbill poster is now listed and link details below. 1st lot on the film memorabilia auction.

  5. Hi!

    I have one of these posters that I have put up for auction through eBay. Here is the link if you are interested. The auction ends on May 30th, 2019.

    Thanks for allowing me to share.