Monday, March 13, 2017

Potter & Potter photo reveals Mama (still) in Europe

The catalog for Potter & Potter's Spring Magic Auction is now available as a free PDF or printed copy for purchase from their website.

As promised, the auction contains a fair amount of Houdini material, including this original unpublished photo of Houdini, Mama and Bess taken in "Berlin Germany June 1901." This image challenges the long accepted belief that Cecelia Weiss's first trip to Europe was from April to May 1901. Either Houdini has this wrong or we do!

One of the reasons this matters is that biographers struggle to pinpoint the date of the famous "queen for a day" reception at the Royal Hotel in Budapest, which reportedly took place during Mama's first visit. Most have relied on the not very reliable Kellock biography and wedge it between Houdini's closing in Hamburg (end of April) and his opening in Essen Ruhr (beginning of May). But if this photo is accurate and Mama was still around after Houdini's Essen Ruhr engagement, it opens up new possibilties for the Budapest trip. Unfortunelty, the Royal Hotel, which still exists today, has no record of Houdini's visit.

Potter's & Potter's Spring Magic Auction takes place at 10:00 am on Saturday, April 8th at their Chicago gallery and online via LiveAuctioneers. As previously reported, the auction will also include Bess Houdini's famous "Royal Crown Brooch" (link below).



  1. The Spring auction includes a large number of items from my Dad's estate, including several Houdini pieces (not the Royal Crown Brooch, unfortunately).

  2. OK so whos your dad??