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Houdini Master of Magic This Week at

07-25-2011 08:42 AM CET | Leisure, Entertainment, Miscellaneous

Press release from: LiveAuctionTalk

Photo courtesy of Potter & Potter.

Photo courtesy of Potter & Potter.

Handcuff King. Escape artist. There didn’t seem to be any coffin, leg iron or prison cell Harry Houdini couldn’t escape. He was America’s first superhero in the early-20th century.

Buried alive, drowning—Harry played out our worst nightmares and managed to escape each and every time.

The one thing Harry couldn’t escape in February, 1902 was an accusation of bribery and fraud brought against him by a police officer and local newspaper in Cologne, Germany. Harry could have ignored the accusations. He heard them before.

This time he stood his ground and hired a German lawyer. He sued both parties for slander. He was accused of trying to bribe a Cologne policeman into rigging an escape from the city’s jail with a hidden, duplicate, lock and key. He was also accused of paying a civilian police employee to help him with a phony public performance.

Never happened that way, Harry said.

He won the case.

Always the publicity hound, Harry commissioned a poster which he distributed to capitalize on the positive verdict. The poster pictures Houdini in a dramatic courtroom scene.

On March 26, Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago featured a selection of magic posters in its Rare Posters auction. Included in the sale was the color lithograph poster described above. It sold for $30,000.

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