Houdini's Death Defying Water Mystery up 120% on estimate

Harry Houdini's Double-Fold Death Defying Water Mystery has sold for $55,000 at Potter & Potter in Chicago.

The lot crossed the block on August 23, smashing an estimate of $25,000 by 120%.

Water Houdini trick

Houdini's assistant Jim Collins designed the trick in the early 1900s

Houdini used the trick regularly in his performances from around 1909 onwards. He would climb into a milk can which would be placed into the box.

After it was securely padlocked a curtain would be drawn around the outside. After several nail-biting minutes he would emerge soaking wet and triumphant to relieved applause.

Gabe Fajuri of Potter & Potter told Paul Fraser Collectibles prior to the sale: "The Double-Fold Death Defying Water Mystery is an important link for Houdini between one of his first sensational escapes, the Milk Can, and perhaps his most famous, The Water Torture Cell.

"It is my understanding that Jim Collins, Houdini's trusted assistant, built the Torture Cell, and in all likelihood built the Double-Fold box, too."

A scrapbook on spiritualism that Houdini kept during his later years also sold well, achieving $36,000 - up 80% on a valuation of $20,000.

Houdini campaigned tirelessly against the practice, using his influence to expose the techniques used by mediums and psychics.

We have this stunning signed photograph from Houdini available.

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