Sold at $65,000 (£52,000) by Potter & Potter (20% buyer’s premium) in a sale that ended on May 21 was what may be the earliest recorded photograph of the 18-year-old Houdini, pictured with his his younger brother, Hardeen.
It promotes their famous “trunk trick” or metamorphosis illusion. One of them would be secured in a canvas bag and then locked inside a wooden packing crate. The second performer then brought a curtain around the trunk, and, on the count of 1-2-3, ducked behind the curtain, which immediately opened again to reveal the other in his place.
When the trunk was unlocked, one brother was found inside the bag where the other had been secured only moments before!
Both presented the trick throughout their careers, and when they parted ways (as performers), Houdini's wife, Beatrice, took on Hardeen’s role in his performances.
Spiritualism and magic
Bid to $85,000 (£68,000) was a spiritualism and magic scrapbook or album of 287pp, each leaf filled by Houdini with news and magazine clippings and other ephemera dating from the 1760s to the 1920s.
The bulk of the material concerns spiritualism and related subjects, but also includes much that relates directly to Houdini and other important magicians of the time.