Thursday, October 6, 2011

Metamorphosis poster uncovered in France and, yes, it's for sale

Click to enlarge

Attention collectors! Earlier this week I received an email from a gentlemen in France named Patrick Bourlet. Patrick sent me a photo (above) of what he says is an authentic The Houdinis - Metamorphosis poster, which has been stored in his attic for 29 years.

I don't know Mr. Bourlet and all I've seen of the poster is what you see here, so I can't personally vouch for its authenticity. But it looks pretty good to me! The size looks right, and I particularly like that the white space above is stamped with Welsh Bros (Circus). I've seen a King of Cards poster with this same Welsh Bros header, and I think this really makes this poster extra special.

Metamorphosis is one of Houdini's earliest posters. It was printed by the National Printing and Engraving Co. in Chicago in the late 1890s. A copy of this poster sold in auction for $50,000 in 2007. At the time, it was touted as being "the only known copy."

Patrick Bourlet says the poster is for sale and it was okay for me to post his contact email.

Good luck!


  1. The Amazing MichaelOctober 8, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    Pretty cool!!! I don't know squat about posters so I can not be of any help authenticating it but it looks legit to me. Nice find!!!!

    Cheers, Mike D~C/

  2. Great Poster! Houdini worked for the Welsh Brothers circus during the 1895 season. He also did his "King of Kards" act that same summer with the same outfit. None other than Martin Beck saw him perform and later played a large role in making Houdini world famous. It was during this gig that Martin Beck told Houdini to throw away the cards and concentrate on the escapes. He said that this would be his ticket to great success. .. And, of course, it was. There are 3 known copies of this poster in the collecting world that I personally know of. This would make the 4th to surface . This is a 1/2 sheet printed by National Litho in 1895. Tim Moore

  3. Houdini was with the Welsh Bros in 1895 and 1898. Martin Beck saw Houdini perform in the Palm Garden Beer Hall in St. Paul in 1899.

    1. Correct, Pat. And note this poster calls Harry "King of Handcuffs", a moniker that does not appear until late 1897. So this is almost certainly from his 1898 Welsh Bros. tour. Likely this poster was printed that year as well.

  4. Hello everyone,
    My brother Patrick is sadly deceased. I now have in my possession his poster Houdini of 1837.
    I would like now to sell it.
    I can give you more pictures.
    I'm waiting for your proposals collectors.
    To soon. Cordially.
    Franck Bourlet

    1. Hi Frank. How should people contact you? Is your brother's email linked above still good?

  5. My brother died his email address is no longer valid..
    You can contact me
    I had make a mistake. 1837 is likely a serial number, the poster is from 1897-8.
    Sorry for my English, I'm French.
    Franck Bourlet