Monday, June 1, 2015

Russian Houdini book sells for $7000

An ultra rare 1927 Russian Houdini book sold for $7000 at Potter & Potter's auction of Old & Rare Conjuring Books held yesterday in Marshall as part of the Midwest Magic History Weekend. The book is one of only three known copies and might be the first book ever published about Houdini outside his own pitchbooks and promotional material. The author, Eugene Tolkachev, saw the Houdini perform in Moscow in 1903.

237. [Houdini] Tolkachev, Eugene. Harry Houdini – Debunker of Spiritualists (Гарри Гудини разоблачитель спиритов). Moscow: Kinopechat, 1927. Colored pictorial wrappers, illustrated with black-and-white photographs. 32pp. 8vo. Wraps somewhat soiled, spine chipped, good. rare. Est. $2,000/3,000 
Published as part of a popular series of Soviet brochures, this is one of three known examples and includes many famous photographs of Houdini, including depictions of his Shelton Pool stunt, and spirit séance exposés.

I first became aware of this book last year when Alexey Kozlov, a blogger and Houdini buff from Belarus, shared a copy here on WILD ABOUT HARRY. I'm not sure if this is when the Houdini world in general first learned of its existence, but I believe this could be the first time a copy has appeared at auction.

Watch for my full report on the Midwest Magic History Weekend in Marshall later this week.

UPDATEREPORT: The Midwest Magic History Weekend 2015.



  1. Yeah crazy auction yesterday, it really went for over 8600 with BP, also a Houdini program for close to a 1000, wow a bit over priced in my opinion.
    On another note have you mentioned or ever noticed Miracle Mongers variations with and without the dedication page to Bess??

    1. I've not noticed that variation. I believe I've only seen copies with the dedication, but I've never really thought to check.

  2. Its strange most don't have it..........