Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Margery pamphlet original vs. reproduction

We are all aware of that pesky Parson's Theater reproduction program from the 1970s that will sometimes appear at auction as an original. Now it looks like that has a successor. 

Yesterday a reproduction of Houdini's Margery pamphlet, which were sold by the Houdini Historical Center in 1996 for $4.50, sold in an online Invaluable auction for $649 (including premium). Unless the buyer has a thing for reproductions, I've gotta think they believed it was an original. Wittingly or unwittingly, the auction did not clarify this.

Like the Parson's program, this booklet does not identify itself as a reproduction. But it's pretty obvious when you put it side by side with an original. The yellow cover and the lack of "Price, One Dollar" are instant tells, as is the smaller dimension. So bidders beware!

Original (left) and reproduction (right).

Speaking of sketchy auction items, check out this Houdini photo on eBay "signed" two weeks after he died. So Houdini did come back! It currently has eight bids.


  1. Unbelievable. He wasn't even in any condition to sign photos in late October.

  2. The Ebay seller's listing says the month written is MARCH 1926.

    (I don't know if he originally listed it that way, or not).

    The stamping on the back of the photo is a name well-known to us older "escape guys"...It dates the sale of this Houdini reproduction photo to the mid-1970's (price = $2.00). His ads indicate the photo was circa 1925, and there was no mention of an "autograph" on it.

    1. Ah, you know, I considered maybe it said March (Mar). I don't recall seeing that on the listing, but I'm not sure I read it that closely.

      But even without that date, this is, to my eye, a fake, and pretty labored one at that. Good job on sniffing out the photo's origin.

  3. Replies
    1. Unbelievable. In this Houdini market the counterfeits, fakes, and reprints are selling high. The buyer who paid $649 for the $10 Margery pamphlet must be thrilled.

    2. It's hard to feel bad for these buyers. Yes, the auctions are being slippery, but these are so easy to research. Before you invest $600+, maybe just Google. The simplest search would have shown what an original looks like.