Winter Magic Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2019
Houdini, Harry (Ehrich Weisz). The Houdini-Slade-Weiss Locked Book, as Profiled in “A Magician Among the Spirits.” Being a nineteenth century record book/minutes book finely bound in tooled black leather with gilt ruled borders and banded spine, with heavy brass lock incorporated into its binding. The tome was used in the trial to expose Henry Slade, a supposed spirit medium, by one Remigius Weiss. Years later, the book was presented by Weiss to his friend and fellow spiritualism researcher and debunker, Harry Houdini. The use of the book and its presentation to Houdini by Weiss is well documented in Houdini’s final book, A Magician Among the Spirits (Harper & Brothers, 1924; see lot 169). The volume is accompanied by a handsomely framed collage of Houdini memorabilia, including an original vaudeville program from 1922 with Houdini as headliner on a mixed bill, a TLS from Houdini to Remigius Weiss which mentions Houdini’s purchase of books from Weiss and specifically the “confession of Slade” Houdini wishes to obtain from him, and a later photograph of Houdini in chains and shackles. These objects are complemented by two late nineteenth century prints (likely clipped from the London Illustrated News or a similar publication) depicting scenes from the Slade trial – one clearly displays a locked book – and a typed letter of provenance from Houdini’s secretary, Oscar S. Teale, dated January 21, 1931, describing the provenance of the book and pointing to the description of the Slade trial in A Magician Among the Spirits. A unique, well-documented, and historically significant piece of Houdini memorabilia. A second document of provenance is also included, being a notarized letter from Jack Flosso, proprietor of the Flosso-Hornmann Magic Co. It states: “This black leather tooled Lock-Book [sic] with the note from Oscar Teale was acquired from Dunninger by my father, Al Flosso. According to Teale, this was the book prepared and used by Remigius Wiess [sic] in 1882 while investigating the medium Henry Slade. On page 94 of Houdini’s “A Magician Among the Spirits”, a letter is reprinted in which Remigius presents this book to Houdini and goes on to describe his encounter with Dr. Slade.” A set of locking spirit slates used in the Slade trial with virtually identical provenance traced to Oscar Teale was sold in these rooms on April 9, 2016 in an auction of artifacts from the collection of John Henry Grossman and Nelson Nicholson.
The Houdini-Slade-Weiss Locked Book, as Profiled in “A Magician Among the Spirits.”
Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $5,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $12,000.00
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Number Bids: 12
Auction closed on Saturday, December 14, 2019.
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