As a rule, I try not to post about auctions in progress. However, I feel compelled to chime in on this one. LiveAuctioneers is listing a "Harry Houdini stunt-used straight jacket" signed by Houdini himself. The auction currency sits at $1,300 with three bids. But there are problems here.
For starters, I don't know of any photograph of Houdini in this style straitjacket. The auction provides no provenance and according to Magic Castle assistant librarian (and straitjacket expert), Joe Fox, this is an Abbott's straitjacket. These were first produced in the 1930s and Abbott's continues to sell them today. So made after Houdini's death. Also, the signature bares similarity to the work of a well-known Houdini forger.
The same auction house, Dalshire International, also listed a sheet of signed letterhead as "A perfect compliment to his straight jacket". This was, unquestionably, the work of that forger and the auction was taken down.
So red flags everywhere. Bidder beware!
UPDATE: Looks like this sold for $34,000.
John Cox - Thanks for informing everyone about this sham.ReplyDelete
And just to clarify, Abbott's has continued to sell their jackets right up to the present day...
Awesome. Thank you Joe. I've updated the story.Delete
Here is the part I found curious, "This item has been authenticated by GFA and comes with a Letter of Authenticity along with the GFA guarantee of authenticity." Never heard of GFA. Who among them is an expert in Houdini items? And will the refund the buyer, when this is proven NOT to be Houdini's jacket, nor his signature?ReplyDelete
I've never seen a bad Houdini auction without a COA from one of these officious looking companies. It's to a point where a COA is a red flag in itself. Seems like a racket.Delete
The auction house has a responsibility to check for fraudulent items. Evidently the Buyer's Fee is just too tempting to let go. Corruption and greed are still King.ReplyDelete
Absolutely no doubt that this is an Abbott Straitjacket. I use one exactly like it in my present show.ReplyDelete
Sold for $34,000. Holy smokes. One could buy a nice bridge in Brooklyn for that kind of money. ;)ReplyDelete