Houdini memorabilia will star in the second half of the Grossman-Nicholson Magic Collection sale, taking place at Potter & Potter Auctions on June 10.
The feature lot will be a collection of lantern slides from Houdini’s famous lecture on spiritualism, which he began touring in 1923.
Houdini began debunking spiritualists in the early 1920s
Houdini originally fell into the world of spiritualism after his mother died. In his grief he tried to contact her through mediums.
However, he noticed he could easily replicate the effects they relied on to prove their credibility.
Houdini was furious at the deception they engaged in and the way they took advantage of vulnerable people. He regularly took to attending seances in disguise, in order to debunk them.
The lot consists of 21 slides of the original 50, alongside seven others from a later version of the lecture.
Most show well-known spiritualists and would have punctuated the talk.
It’s expected to make around $10,000-15,000.
Despite his obsession with outing fraudulent mediums, Houdini’s interest in the afterlife remained undimmed.
Before his death he and his wife agreed that she would continue attending séances. He would use a secret phrase ("Rosabelle believe") should he make contact from the other side.
He never did.
Magician Karl Germain’s travelling trunk (made circa 1905), containing props, stage wear and other pieces, is valued at $6,000-9,000.
Germain (1878-1959) was one of the most successful magicians of the vaudeville era, celebrated for his elegant style of performing.
The trunk is accompanied by documentation that shows Germain later gave it to his assistant and protege Paul Fleming, who continued Germain’s legacy after his death.
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