Sunday, February 14, 2021

Houdini's Needles pin down $2,574

A packet of 24 T. Hessin & Co nickel plated Darners Needles that Houdini used in his popular East Indian Needle Trick sold in Haversat & Ewing's latest magic auction for $2,574 (including buyers premium). Below is the auction description.

In this famous trick, Houdini swallows a number of needles along with yards of thread and brings them all up threaded. The needles passed from Bess to Houdini's niece Ruth Kavanaugh. Houdini collector Larry Weeks acquired the packets directly from the family in the 1960's. This fact has been confirmed by Houdini's Great Nephew John Hinson who was also a benefactor of needles given to him by his Aunt Ruth. The lot includes Houdini's needles ONLY.

It's interesting to see that Houdini used nickel plated needles. Possibly because these offered the best reflection on stage? But one wonders if he ever experienced ill effects from having nickel in his mouth so often.

This is the fourth set of Houdini Needles of which I'm aware. 


  1. David Bamberg aka Fu Manchu recalled seeing as a teenager packs of needles in one of HH's desk drawers. His father had sent him to 278 on an errand from Brooklyn where they lived. It was a hot summer day and HH was walking around the house shirtless, no AC yet. He gave the young Bamberg some chewing gum.

    1. Wow, I don't think I've heard that story. Thanks. I love the detail of a shirtless Houdini.

    2. Bamberg's story in his autobiography Illusion Show. If I recall Okito (Bamberg's father) sent him to 278 to pick up something. HH told him to wait while he went to get it. There were desks around him so he opened a few drawers to snoop and saw the packets of needles.