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Rare Houdini poster will vanish at Potter & Potter auction March 26
|Written by Auction House PR|
|Tuesday, 08 March 2011 12:51|
CHICAGO – A rare Houdini poster, one of more than 100 rare and valuable vintage magic posters discovered in a suburban Chicago home last year, is the star attraction of a Potter & Potter auction, Satureday, March 26. It is one of only five such posters known to exist.
LiveAuctioneers will provide Internet live bidding.
“These posters were one man’s collection, but had been in storage for decades,” said Gabe Fajuri, president of Potter & Potter Auctions. “Finding them all in one fell swoop was the kind of discovery collectors and consignors dream of. It was obvious to me – immediately on seeing the collection – that we had uncovered something very special. It would take a lifetime to build a collection like this.” Now all of the images will go up for sale.
Most of the posters were purchased in the 1970s, before the explosion of interest in collecting began. At that time, vintage lithographs of this nature rarely traded hands for more than $50. Today, however, prices are significantly higher. “That’s what makes this exciting,” Fajuri added. “This is the kind of big find you see on TV, but never expect to happen to you.”
The Houdini image is the most important and valuable of the posters in the collection. It carries an estimate of $15,000-$20,000. The lithograph depicts Houdini, locked in handcuffs and standing in front of a judge and jury at the royal court of Cologne, Germany in 1902. After being decried a fraud by a German police officer, Houdini brought suit against the policeman for slander – and won. One of the savviest publicists of all time, Houdini commissioned the poster to capitalize on the favorable verdict. It was printed in 1902.
Dozens of other magicians’ posters were in the collection. Another highlight is a rare eight-sheet (7 feet x 9 feet) billboard advertising The Great Nicola, who also performed escapes and stunts, ala Houdini. The massive poster (estimate: $2,500-$3,500), one of only three examples known, includes vignettes of Nicola’s crowd-drawing stunts – escaping from prison cells, water-filled cans, tied to a railroad track, and from shackles and handcuffs.
“The auction will include posters in every price range, as many modestly priced, attractive vintage posters were among those we found.” said Fajuri. Small window cards advertising Howard Thurston, one of Houdini’s rivals (and the subject of a new book by Jim Steinmeyer), are among the affordable pieces in the auction, with one iconic portrait of the great magician carrying a starting bid of only $80. Vintage circus posters, including one advertising an early appearance of P.T. Barnum, will also be featured.
An illustrated catalog of all of the posters is available from Potter & Potter.
Previews will be March 22-25, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Central. The auction will begin at 11 a.m. on March 26.
View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
ADDITIONAL LOT OF NOTE
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 March 2011 13:14|