Saturday, November 12, 2016

Master Mystery episode 3 poster sells for $28,080

An original poster for episode 3 of Houdini's The Master Mystery sold for $28,080 at today's Haversat & Ewing Galleries November magic auction.

The poster came from the collection of Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz of the Houdini Museum in Scranton, who own a complete set of all 14 posters from the serial. An Episode 3 ("The Water Peril") has never come up for auction before.

The auction contained several unique and desirable Houdini rarities. A cabinet photo of Houdini and his mother fetched a remarkable $16,380. This appears be an all-time record for a Houdini photo at auction. A "King of Cards" poster brought in $11,700. A letter on unique stationary in which Houdini talks about his bi-plane in Australia went for $10,852. A letter to Will Goldston in which Houdini discusses an early injury took in $7,575.

One item that I had my eye on was a business card for Houdini's first chief assistant Franz Kukol. But it looks like it caught the eye of others as well. It beat the auction estimate of $250-$300 and went for $2,661. (All prices include the 17% buyers premium.)

As always, congratulations to the buyers and sellers and to Haversat & Ewing Galleries for another stellar auction.



  1. Congratulations to Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz. I hope the Houdini Museum will continue to be open for many years to come.

    There were a couple of items I was interested in. The scrapbook and the key which looked like a custom made key to fit Bean Patrolman or Prison cuffs.


  2. Wow! Fabulous auction, very entertaining to watch. Too deep for my pockets! Congrads to Haversat and Ewing and all of those involved.... Harry H. Too!

  3. I wonder why Kukol would have business cards printed up. There is no contact info on it, and he was HH's chief assistant. Was he planning a break?

  4. Very Similar to Those on the Thurston Show. Would simply say Electrician -Thurston Shows and that's it.
    Another reads : Jack Jones - Manager for Thurston. Back then they traveled so much, never knew where they would be.

  5. My guess would be to widen their work base. During down time for Harry, Kukol may have been looking for extra work with another performer.

  6. Back then business cards were used more as calling cards. You'd present one when doing business with someone, and certainly Kukol had business to do with stage managers, etc. As far as no contact info., as anon says, Kukol had no permanent contact info. And I doubt very much that Kukol would work with any other magician. I don't think HH would allow it, nor would Kukol consider it. Magicians were competitors and assistants stayed loyal.

  7. a note on Kukol:

    _Billboard_ 4/12/1913 p 18
    "Houdini is sensationalizing the provinces with his marvelous "escape" act. While playing Newport [Wales] last week, he successfully dived from a bridge into the River Usk, securely handcuffed, and fifty seconds after striking the water, he reappeared, freed from his manacles. Houdini gave his audience an unusual surprise one night at Newport, when he mentioned the fact that one of his assistants, Franz Kulko [sic], had reached his tenth consecutive year in the magician's service, and, calling Kukol before the footlights, presented him with a gold watch and chain."

    1. Good stuff. Thanks. So this card being the "13th year" would have been 1916. Yet it was reported that Kukol left HH in 1914. Hmmm... Paging Pat Culliton.