Houdini, Harry (Erik Weisz) | "This man does not even attempt to explain any cell escapes H. Houdini"
4,000 - 6,000 USD
Houdini, Harry (Erik Weisz)
Hereward Carrington. The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism Fraudulent and Genuine. London: T. Werner, ca. 1908
8vo (203 x 138 mm). 11 halftone plates. Publisher's black cloth lettered in white, rebacked preserving original spine, corners restored.
First edition; Houdini's copy, twice signed and annotated by him. This volume, which has the ticket of the Australian bookseller E. W. Cole, is inscribed by Houdini on the front pastedown, "I bought this book in Melbourne Australia March 1910 (I paid 12/6 ($3.00) for it Harry Houdini." Beneath the inscription is mounted a photograph of Houdini's custom-made French Voisin biplane in flight in Australia. He has also signed the title-page, "Harry Handcuff Houdini Melbourne Australia March 1910," and the book contains both his and Beatrice Houdini's bookplates.
Houdini clearly read the book—which analyses spirit photographs, cabinet stunts, and Houdini's own techniques—carefully, and the margins are full of his mostly acerbic comments: "Wrong!"; "This is not true. H.H."; "Very Wrong!!!"; "?!"; "This man does not even attempt to explain any cell escapes H. Houdini"; "Rot!"; and "also Rot." A couple of pages do rate the comment "Good."
Also tipped into the book is a typewritten description of "Sealed letter reading … Given to me by Roterberg," and a now-empty, and very browned. envelope.
Exemplars, p. 55; TTW 54
Rex Townsend (signature on half-title; Swann, 28 May 1970, lot 32)
Condition as described in catalogue entry.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.