Saturday, January 9, 2021

Andrew Basso now owns Houdini's tuxedo collar

World Champion Escape Artist Andrew Basso from The illusionists is now the owner of a true Houdini holy relic. It's a tuxedo shirt collar worn by Houdini himself (and maybe even the collar he wore during his final show). The collar has a sweat stain and is marked with Houdini's name. This is not a signature, but appears to have been written on the collar as an identifier, possibly for laundry. They collar is stamped: "Irish Linen Company Shirts, Collar Manufacturers" and shows a size of 16 1/2.

The shirt collar belonged to Sidney Radner who presumably aquired it from Hardeen. Recall that Hardeen preserved the pocket from the pajamas his brother wore during his final illness. That leads me to think this might have been the collar Houdini wore during his final show as it explains why Hardeen would have kept it among his mementos. But that's just speculation. Final show or no, it's still Houdini's collar, and that makes it magical!

For several years the collar was displayed at the Houdini Historical Center in Appleton, Wisconsin. Then in 2004, Sidney Radner put the collar up for auction along with the rest of his collection. The buyer was Geno Munari, owner of the Houdini's Magic Shop chain. Geno in turn sold it to magician Troy Milligan. At one point Troy had his close friend, Dorothy Young, Houdini's former assistant, sign the collar. Last year Troy felt it was time to pass the collar to a new owner, and Andrew answered the call! 

Andrew broke the news in an interview with Estrada ("The sexiest magician has the DNA of Houdini"). He says he currently has the collar hanging in his bedroom, but he has plans to send it to Washington D.C. to see if they can extract Houdini's DNA. (I've talked to Andrew and he's serious about this!) He will then have a special case made for it, and is also open to having it displayed in a public museum.

I first became aware of this collar when I saw it on display in Appleton. But once it sold at auction, it seemed to vanish. It's exciting to see it reemerge, and I'm very happy to see it land in the hands of Andrew Basso.


  1. It would be amazing if the lab techs can extract DNA from that collar. Along with strand of Bess' hair from the brush Jon Oliver owns, we can clone them.

  2. This is GREAT! But as collector myself I would have the collar itself signed, I would have had her sign a piece of paper and frame it with the collar.

    1. I agree. Dorothy was a legend herself, but this is a holy relic.

    2. How do I edit my comment, I meant to say I would NOT have the collar signed

    3. Comments can't be edited (even by me), but if you want, you can just repost it and I'll delete the old one. But I knew what you meant. :)