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Harry Houdini
Harry Houdini
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 2… Read more
Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini
A straitjacket of khaki canvas, with thick brown leather collar studded with metal rivets, leather reinforcement to yoke and sealed leather cuffs with attached leather straps and buckle, two thick leather straps across the body with metal buckle fastenings to back, an additional two back fastenings, one around the neck, many areas of patchwork reinforcement namely on the shoulders, elbows and underarms, stamped inside Swanfeldt Tent & Awning Co., owned by Harry Houdini circa 1915
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Lot Essay

Harry Houdini, renowned magician and escapologist became famous for his daredevil feats including the infamous Suspended Straitjacket Escape. Hanging from a crane meters in the air, Houdini would seem to do the impossible and escape the grips of a regimented straitjacket while dangling upside down. Ever savvy and publicity hungry Houdini's choice of location for these and similar stunts would be public spaces in areas which were sure to draw in huge crowds to watch in anticipation and disbelief. It has been reported that thousands of people would teem the streets to get a glimpse of the death defying exhibitionist. When performing this stunt in New York while hanging from a crane used to build the New York Subway, Houdini escaped the straitjacket in two minutes 37 seconds.
According to the vendor of this well-worn straitjacket, it was gifted by Houdini's brother, Theo [stage name Hardeen], to a mutual friend following his untimely death. It has since remained in the same family having been passed down by generation. A number of photographs, of his well-documented escapes, show Houdini wearing a similar jacket to the one offered in this lot. The image illustrated, taken in 1915 while Houdini is being strapped into a straitjacket, bears striking identifiable marks which are consistent with those on the jacket being offered.

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