Friday, January 22, 2021

Houdini's final show program at auction

Potter & Potter have posted their February 27 magic auction listings and among the Houdini rarities is a true bombshell! It's an original program for Houdini's "3 Shows in One" at the Garrick Theater in Detroit for the week of October 24, 1926. Of course, this was the final engagement of Houdini's life and October 24 his last show. I've never seen a program for his appearance at the Garrick, so this is pretty wild.

Inside the program there is an ad announcing the week of October 31 as Houdini's final week (confirming Detroit was scheduled as two week run). It's a bit eerie to have the two days, October 24 and October 31, both mentioned prominently in the program.

Other notable lots include: "Houdini's Production Baby" (companion to the doll seen in this photo maybe?), a copy of The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin inscribed by Houdini to his friend Chung Ling Soo (found at last), and Dai Vernon's own mementos of the night he fooled Houdini.

Potter & Potter's Select Secrets: Rare & Important Magicana auction will be held Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 10 AM CST. You can view the full online catalog HERE.

UPDATE: The program sold for $7,200 (including 20% commission) in what was a red hot auction.


  1. The program is incomplete only the Houdini page is still with it. But we appreciate you driving the price way up.
    You could have waited till the end to mention it, so thanks.

    1. You can read my auction reporting policy HERE.

      In general, I do not report on auctions in progress. The exception is when something is of such historical significance that its very existence is news in itself. This fell into that category for me. I also don't believe my posting about it is going to drive up anything. That gives me too much credit. This is a Potter & Potter auction. It's not flying under anyone's radar. The big guns who always bid in Potter auctions understand what this is and will bid accordingly.

      But, yes, I guess I could have waited. Maybe I should have. Thanks for the thump. I will give it more thought next time.

    2. Does Anonymous honestly believe that he can bid on a Houdini lot in a Potter Auction, dig a foxhole and hide from his enemies? The first thing Gabe does is send out e-mails, printed catalogs, and posts on Facebook pages where magic collectors congregate. A Potter Auction is like posting a neon sign to magic collectors.

      Anonymous might be able to stiff a widow selling off her deceased magician husband's collection, but not in a Potter Auction. Anybody who won a Houdini lot in a Potter Auction managed to accomplish that cuz Copperfield was not interested in the item. One may as well go up against the Borg: Self determination is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.