Saturday, October 20, 2018

Rare pitchbooks highlight 'Houdiniana' auction

Today saw Potter & Potter's auction of "Houdiniana" featuring many items from the collection of our late friend John Bushey. John's specialty was Houdini pitchbooks, and the rarest of those sold for big bucks.

The top seller was Houdini's ultra rare 1898 Magic Made Easy pitchbook at $9,600 (all prices quoted here include 20% premium). This doubles the price of one that sold on eBay in 2007. Another rare 1907 pitchbook titled The Famous Houdini (the only one I think I've ever seen) came in at $7,200.

Magic Made Easy - $9,600 | The Famous Houdini - $7,200.

The Adventurous Life of a Versatile Artist with a rare variant cover grabbed $5,040. A copy of Houdini's The Mystery of the Jewel movie treatment brought in $4,080.

Adventurous Life - $5,040 | Mystery of the Jewel - $4,080.

But the auction had more than just pitchbooks. A Buried Alive poster fetched $7,800. A pair of Providence Tool Co. handcuffs with good provenance sold for $11,400. An unpublished photo of Houdini jumping handcuffed from a gazebo sold for $3,600. Another unpublished photo of Houdini, Bess, and Mama in Germany brought in $1,560. I actually thought this latter photo could have gone higher as Mama pics are few and far between.

Congrats to all the winners and to Potter & Potter for another great auction.



  1. Somebody got a deal on Lot #80. It's a photo of an imitator strapped in a crazy crib. Nothing extraordinary--except Harry is also in the photo! The only picture that I am aware of where Harry is in the same shot with an imitator.

    1. I thought the same thing! That went cheap. I noted the auction description didn't mention HH was in the photo.

    2. Exactly! Potter didn't mention it in the catalog. The photo sold for $150.00 with only two bids. The original bidder could have put in a high maximum bid and got off cheap.