Thursday, August 24, 2023

Houdini now signing books from beyond the grave

Dalshire International of Carrollton, Texas, is selling via LiveAuctioneers a signed copy of Houdini's Book of Magic and Party Pastimes with an estimate of $16,800 - $18,200. The auction already has one bid.

Here's the problem. This book was published in December 1927, more than a year after Houdini's death. So while the book might be authentic, the signature is unquestionably fake.

Over the past few years, Dalshire and LiveAuctioneers have sold other Houdini items with this same fake signature. Some for a great deal of money. I really don't know if they are complicit or dupes in all this. It's not for me to judge. I also don't make it a practice of flagging each and every one of these.

However, this particular fake is instructive. No one can argue for this being authentic, and the signature is the same (autopen?) that has shown up on all these fakes. Even if this auction is taken down, save these photos and use them as a reference. If you ever see this signature on any Houdini item, don't touch it!

Be careful out there!

UPDATE: It appears this auction has now been removed. But Dalshire still has two live auctions with this same signature, one on a photo reproduction from the 1960s. All this has inspired me to create a Houdini "Fraud Pack," a collection of images of irrefutable Houdini fakes. You can download it FREE via this public post on my Patreon.


  1. Makes one pine for the days when items with a HH signature, started around $20/$30 on up, with much of the value being for the content of the letter/inscription, rather than mostly on the signature itself.
    True, $20 was a lot of money decades ago, but there was far less financial incentive for selling fake items because of it.
    Recovered HH collector,

    1. I pine for the days when a house in California cost $30,000.

  2. Someone on FB points out that in the description they write ”you would almost think he signed it yesterday.” Cheeky, aren't they.

  3. Hard to believe the buyer paid $34,000 for that Abbotts straitjacket. I wonder if the buyer caught on and refused to purchase it.