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The rare Houdini poster for a Saturday matinee show at the Southampton Hippodrome, sold by Potter & Potter at $15,000 (£11,540).

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Sold at a record $14,000 (£10,770), it was part of an April 27 Potter & Potter (20% buyer’s premium) sale in Chicago that primarily focused on the great conjuring memorabilia collection of the late Ray Goulet, a well-known magician and collector, but also included posters from the collection of Charles and Regina Reynolds, authors of 100 Years of Magic Posters.

That 1886 Chicago first of Kellar’s book bore two presentation inscriptions. The first was to Li Hung Chang, a Chinese viceroy, then in New York, to whom it was initially gifted in 1896. The second, undated inscription records it as a gift from Kellar to his friend and fellow magician Howard Thurston.

Head to the Hippodrome

Among the magic and conjuring posters in the sale it was not one of the much more familiar, dramatic and colourful variety that topped the bill, but a purely typographic example.

Advertising a special Saturday afternoon performance at the Southampton Hippodrome and bearing the words Challenged or Houdini Upside Down, it promises an amazing underwater escape from a securely tied and locked rubber bag. The only known copy, according to P&P, it is inscribed and signed by Houdini “To my friend John Mulholland/Houdini”. It sold at $15,000 (£11,540).