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Mystery and Magic of Harry Houdini This Week at

05-23-2011 08:09 AM CET | Leisure, Entertainment, Miscellaneous

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Photo courtesy of Potter & Potter.

Photo courtesy of Potter & Potter.

Harry Houdini found himself locked inside the same jail cell where the assassin of Pres. James A. Garfield was housed in 1881. The narrow bulletproof oak door was buried deep inside a gigantic brick wall. The lock was installed three feet away around the corner--out of reach. Cell No. 2 on Murderers’ Row of the United States Jail was located in Washington, D. C.

The escape artist was naked and alone in the cell except for eight prisoners housed nearby on Murderers’ Row. Most of them awaited hanging.

“Mr. Houdini, in about two minutes, managed to escape from the cell and then broke into the cell in which his clothing was locked up,” wrote the warden.

Writer George Bernard Shaw ranked Harry right up there with Jesus and Sherlock Holmes as one of the three most famous figures in history.

The most popular magic memorabilia are items once owned by famous magicians, Houdini especially. Everything from props and posters to autographed photos and letters and books command collector interest.

On Jan. 29, Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago featured a selection of magic related books covering various topics and magicians like Houdini in its Card Table Artifice & Legerdeman auction.

Read the full story at


Art, antique and collectibles expert Rosemary McKittrick is a trusted source in the field. Visit her LiveAuctionTalk site and sign up for a free weekly subscription.

• One of the largest “Live” auction article databases on the Internet.
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