This handbill advertised Houdini’s appearance at the Brighton Hippodrome 109 years ago tomorrow. Houdini states in no uncertain terms that he is “The Jail Breaker and Handcuff King of the World”. While performing in England “jail” would usually be spelt “gaol”. Why they did not spell it like that on this handbill is a little tidbit for the Houdini aficionado to look into. I especially like how Houdini clearly declares that any performer doing a similar show is just a mere copy of Houdini, bar none. I would have to agree with Harry.
1904 Hippodrome Handbill – A pink/salmon colored handbill for Houdini’s appearance at the Hippodrome in the United Kingdom. Houdini is publicizing his now famous “London Daily Mirror Handcuff Challenge”, stamped Edward Saint a close companion of Beatrice Houdini. The approximate size of the handbill is 5” x8”.
Please allow me to explain my recent absence from this site. In July we began some renovations on the first floor of our house. What started out as a relatively small project quickly became more than we had ever expected; add the delays for a myriad of reasons from the various contractors, the job stretched out until now, still some touch-up work left, but about 98% done. Our daughter is currently applying to college, doing some Houdini research for others, and just life in general; I’ve had to neglect the blog. Even now as we are just about to catch up with everything. Hopefully, I won’t get sidetracked away from the blog. So there it is in a nutshell.
My wife, Susan, and I just hung the above “Houdini” poster today in the family room. The size of the poster is 2 feet by 6 feet. The poster is an uncommon format and very striking. What I like about the piece is that is so unusual. And if you know me, than you know how close to my heart this movie is and its’ connection to my Houdini collecting.
This is Houdini in 1907 in New Orleans. Houdini was challenged by the local newspaper “New Orleans Item” to dive into the Mississippi River manacled by the police. I don’t know who the man is with Houdini above, but it very well could be a reporter from the paper. In the background could be the Steamer “J.S.” from which the escape would be performed. The steamer would be completely destroyed by fire in less than three years.
What did Houdini think of the Mighty Mississippi after his underwater escape? This is what he told the reporter: “That’s an awful river. The worst I have ever been in.”
Missing Signed Houdini 8X10
The above picture seems to have “disappeared” on its’ way to the new owner. The picture is an 8×10 and is inscribed to a Chas. Diestel. The inscription is dated Aug 19/26. If you ever see this image or are offered it for sale, please notify me or the United Sates Postal Service. I think I might be more understanding than the post office would be. Thanks.
"Slabbed" Signed Houdini SAM Card
If you collect coins, baseball/sports cards or comics, you know what “slabbed” means. Basically, the owner of one of the above items sends it to a grading service. The service would check the piece for condition and being genuine. Once the item is graded, it is encapsulated with the grade and a tamper proof seal is fixed to the holder.
This type of grading started about 35+ years ago with the coin market. Although there was resistance from both dealers and buyers initially, this new grading system grew bigger every year. Today it is the norm in the coin market.
After the coin market, this type of grading moved onto the baseball card collecting field. Card collecting back in the 1980′s eclipsed all other collecting. It seemed anyone from 7 to 70 were collecting or dealing sports cards. With so many people and so much money, it was only a matter of time before the chicanery started. Reproductions were slowly creeping their way into the hobby. With this, slabbed baseball cards were naturally next to be introduced to this area of collecting. The same holds true for comics which followed sports cards.
Now it looks-like the slabbed or encapsulated magic item has entered our collecting sphere. I have bought some Tony Curtis, as Houdini, stills over the last few years, so technically it’s here. With the slabbed signed SAM card above, slabbed grading is expanding. Although it doesn’t mention condition, it does state the Houdini autograph is authentic. We all have seen all to often the bogus Houdini signatures that are now rampart all over the net. This type of grading may become the norm for us someday too.
Here’s a very interesting Houdini lot that just sold for $3,256 on Ebay moments ago. It contained a letter, signed photo and a signed book. They were all addressed to the same person. Were anyone of you bidders on this? It seems-like a very good price for 3 signed Houdini pieces.
This is a limited edition Houdini token which is now approaching 40 years old. It was produced by the Franklin Mint to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Houdini’s birth. The medal is the size of a US silver dollar and made of bronze. The medal is in beautiful cameo proof-like condition and still in its’ original holder. Price: $15.00 delivered in the USA.
The biggest, heaviest and maybe one of the most important books in magic. It’s almost 2 feet long and weighs about 17 pounds. Although it’s not mint, I’m pretty sure it’s unread. Some wear on edges of dust jacket and edges of the book. The book comes with its’ original box. Price: $200 delivered in the USA by Media Mail.
This tiny Houdini dollhouse book just appeared on Ebay. It is about the size of a US nickel. The piece is made to be used in a dollhouse, so it just looks-like a book. It doesn’t open and there are no pages inside. That said, I’m sure there will be someone here ready to add this Houdini dust collector to their collection.
Here is the link to the auction: