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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/8/2023
HOUDINI, Harry (Erik Weisz, 1874 – 1926). Harry Houdini Straitjacket Escape. A heavy canvas jacket reinforced with leather across the neck, back, arms, and waist, owned by the famous escape artist who made a trademark attraction of his escape from these restraints, used to protect the “murderously insane” from themselves, as Houdini’s advertising matter declared. Height from base to top of leather collar 30”. Fabric considerably worn from use, with broken stitching and re-stitched areas throughout, several holes, and other points of stress, but overall intact and well-kept. Accompanied by a sheaf of documents, newspaper articles, and photographs tracing the ownership of the jacket from Houdini to his brother Hardeen, and then to a Hardeen’s one-time assistant, a Massachusetts-based magician Armand Landry. Landry would use the jacket throughout his career in the same manner pioneered by Houdini. Hardeen’s letter states, in part: “Have a swell Punishment Suit, that you can have for $25.00 it belonged to Houdini, and if you like you could have it cut down to a swell Straight jacket.” This Landry did, as two vintage photographs of Landry in the jacket, a vintage printed handbill advertising his performance including his escape from the jacket, and another TLS, from his widow, explains. Invented in the late eighteenth century as a means to restrain patients in understaffed asylums or those suffering with mental illness, it was Houdini’s penchant for crowd-drawing escapes, performed in public, that made the jackets synonymous with his name and, forever after, a staple of the magician’s trade. Houdini drew immense crowds when performing the escape suspended upside down above busy city streets, sometimes gathering over 50,000 viewers to such spectacles. But he initially presented the escape on stage, first writhing on the floor to dramatize the apparent difficulty of the stunt, and later, on stage at the New York Hippodrome, suspended above the boards just as he was when performing the feat outdoors.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $26,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $43,200.00
Estimate: $50,000.00 - $100,000.00
Number Bids:4
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