Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pat Croce Houdini collection headed to auction reports that a large selection of Houdini items from the private collection of former Philadelphia 76ers president Pat Croce will be auction by Briggs in Pennsylvania on February 21, 2014.

The auction will include "about a hundred lots" devoted to magic and Houdini, including a set of Houdini's handcuffs valued at $60,000 (!), European castle locks collected by Houdini estimated to be worth $50,000 to $70,000 (!!), memorabilia related to Houdini's water-torture cell ($3,000 to $5,000), and various show advertisements, including challenges.

The case containing the castle locks is one of two display cases made for the 1953 film Houdini. For many years they were housed at the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame in Canada. Both cases sold at Butterfield & Butterfield in Los Angeles on November 15, 1999. The case offered here sold for $63,000.

But not all of Croce's Houdini treasures are going in the block. says that Croce won't be auctioning off his Houdini straitjacket, "even if he sometimes fears his wife, Diane, would like him to wear it now and then."

Briggs says the auction catalogue is still being researched and will be available online when finished.


  1. I never knew Pat Croce was a Houdini collector, very interesting!

  2. It is too bad the large display boards from The Magic Hall of Fame
    where never owned by Houdini, Dunninger put these together for the
    movie with Tony Curtis. The locks and cuffs where item he (Dunninger)
    had picked over the years. There is a story how Dunninger heard that Al
    Flosso had acquired a collection of Handcuffs, and kidded how they were
    once owed by Houdini (they were not) Dunninger came to Al's shop, not
    knowing Flosso by sight, and talked to a fellow behind the counter. Flosso
    recognized Joe when he walked in. Dunninger wanted to see the boss about the cuffs, and Flosso playing dumb, said his boss was asleep in the
    and left orders not to be disturbed.
    Joe insisted he do so, and tell his boss he wasn't leaving without the cuff.
    Flosso went to the office door put his head in to tell what Dunninger wanted, and with his back to Dunninger shouted for him to go away.
    Al went up to Joe and said Mr. Flosso was not interested. Joe told him
    a price and had Al tell his offer to the boss.
    This was repeated many times till Joe Dunninger had such a high price
    offered Al Flosso could not say no.
    This story was told by Al Flosso to Robert Lund how told it to me
    Jon Oliver