Houdini’s Water Torture poster sets new record

A 1912 poster for Houdini’s Water Torture Cell has sold for a world record $114,000.

It soared past its estimate of $80,000 by 42.5%.

That makes it the most valuable magic poster ever sold at auction.

Houdini Water Torture

Houdini's Water Torture Cell was among his most celebrated illusions

The previous record was $55,000, set for another poster advertising Houdini’s illusion in 2004.

It was the lead lot of a February 4 auction at magic specialist Potter & Potter in Chicago.

The illusion is among the most famous ever performed. Houdini would be manacled upside down in a glass tank filled with water, before a curtain closed around him.  

A stagehand would be posted with a fire axe nearby.

As the minutes ticked agonisingly away and audience tension reached its peak, Houdini would emerge soaking wet from behind the curtain.

Another Houdini poster, titled The King of Cards, realised $24,000.

It was printed in Chicago in 1898, a year before Houdini got his big break performing an escape routine on the Orpheum Vaudeville circuit.

Gabe Fajuri, president of Potter & Potter, said: “Advance buzz for the auction was high, and especially for the Houdini posters.

“Chatter on social media included considerable speculation about just how high the price would go.

“Several outlets wondered if we’d set a new world record. We’re glad they were right!”

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