Friday, March 25, 2016

Houdini in cuffs photo unlocks $7,371

A beautiful original photo of Houdini in shackles sold for $7,371 at Haversat & Ewing Galleries "Houdini's Birthday Auction" yesterday, beating its pre-auction estimate of $2000-$2,750. (Sale price includes the 17% buyer's premium.)

A lot of 10 letters written by Houdini to Will Goldston (from Goldston's own scrapbook) fetched $10,530. A handwritten letter by Houdini from Germany in 1900 sold for $5,733.

A very nice typed letter from Houdini to Will Goldston shattered its pre-auction estimate of $900-1,200, landing at $6,142. In the letter Houdini writes: "Hope you will like America, for it is a good country, if viewed in the right light."

A Hardeen scrapbook sold for $2,457, lower than I thought, but still on the high side of the auction estimate.

But maybe the biggest surprise was a piece of original artwork showing Houdini's Vanishing Elephant from a 1959 article in Popular Mechanics by Milbourne Christopher (that I once blogged about here). It was estimated at $500-600, but sold for an elephant-sized $4,095!

Big sellers: Vanishing Elephant art and the "America" letter.

It appears to have been a very successful auction for our friends at Harvesat & Ewing Galleries. Congrats to all the buyers and sellers. Click here to view all the lots with prices realized.

Next up: Potter & Potter's mammoth Houdiniana auction on April 9.



  1. Probably paid too much for the Goldston letter but had to have it. The line about America did it for me. It seems Copperfield wouldn't stop raising his bid. Oh well its only money, I'll sell it to him someday????? Love your Houdini site John keep it up>

    1. Congrats! You got a gem. I love the content and especially that line about America. It's also pretty untypical to see a letter on this stationary, which Houdini didn't like and didn't use much.

      Glad you enjoy the site! Thanks. :)

    2. Here's a post I did about this stationary.

  2. I was wondering how you knew that Harry didn't like this stationery. When I read the link, it was humorous to read that HH letter stating that he didn't like it.

  3. So that's an interesting fact about the stationery.
    I not sure why, I think its one of his better choices. But you must be right, because you never see it.
    I do like Haversats auction format far better than the traditional style say that Potter and potter will use in two weeks/ more time to decide on what and where to spend. But wow some other items that I think went of the chart the Bess and Harry pc that are common 1100, lot 147 pc of Houdini in chains 3900 unsigned that's almost what the German pc sold for on ebay last month that was incredible, and probably one of one.
    Thanks again for the site and the effort, love it.

  4. Won two lots: the Houdini letter on his stationary with his note "Remember me to the mob" (any idea what he was referring to?) and a letter written by Hardeen. Now need to save my pennies for he Potter auction. I agree that the Haversat auction was very user friendly. Thanks for your continuing to write about these auctions.