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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Original HH cuffs (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

chappy
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I am trying to establish the estimated value of a pair of handcuffs originally owned and used by Harry Houdini. Any help, links etc would be greatly appreciated.
Greg.
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dylan1961
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Greg,
First, what kind of cuffs? maker's name, patent year. That does NOT necessarily affect value but I'm curious. Second, what providance do you have. THAT is everything for value. Nearly all HH handcuff sold in 1999 in California, and in last year's Vegas auction of Sid Radner's collection, brought in an average of about $2500-$3000. Lows of $1200 and a high of $18,000+ were rare. Some rarer cuffs went
cheaper than common ones. Mario Carrandi had several pair taken from Houdini's NY home and sold them over the years for $1250 to about $2500 each. All providance on all cuffs came with LOA, Certificates, etc..... With well-known names like Sid Radner, Mario Carrandi, Hardeen, etc... it's OK providance. Doesn't PROVE it was Houdini's. Now, if you have a famous cuff like Jon Oliver's French Letter handcuff, which is one-of-a-kind, that's another story. The Russian Manacle lies in the SAM museum in LA, the Mirror cuffs are in the Copperfield collection, The Guiteau cuff lies in a private collection, and whats left? The Bell cuff. Anyway, let me know what you have, or send a photo, and I'll tell you what similar items have sold for. Best, John
Ian McColl
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Hi John, I think I have told you this. I am told that a Houdini family member traded the Bell lock handcuff to a plummer for his services. So some where out there is guy with a pair of Houdini's rare cuffs, if they didn't throw them away.

cheers

Ian
dylan1961
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Ian,
Maybe they're sitting under someone's kitchen sink holding two pipes together now.
What a thought, huh???
cuffs
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Greg,
Another group of cuffs that is well documented are those from the Richard Wresch Collection. The guy was a locksmith and a doctor and bought the Houdini restraint collection that Hardeen originally sold to A. Nugent. He displayed the 75 or so restraints during his series of travelling lectures at high schools and colleges. In 1960 he published a pamphlet that has some clear pictures and some interesting descriptions. There are a few errors in the book, but they are mainly the wrong names for some of the cuffs. An example is the Tower cuff. It is listed as "Federals". Even the Tower Lyon Thumbcuff was call "McDonalds" in the book and that error still lives on. Over 40 years later, the same cuff was still being called a "McDonald" in the Radner auction,. The photos can provide absolute provenance on quite a few of the cuffs. I am proud to have 2 from this collection.
When Nugent owned some of these cuffs, he printed a postcard with about 20 cuffs and locks. The pictures are clear but very small. Still this shows some one of a kind items that could prove the Houdini/Hardeen connection.
Mark Lyons O--O

Collector of Handcuffs from around the World







Who are you and how did you get in here? I'm a locksmith. And, I'm a locksmith.

Leslie Nielsen Lt. Frank Drebin, "Police Squad"
chappy
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Thanks guys, the cuffs belong to a friend of mine who has recently joined the Café. The story goes... a performer who toured briefly with Houdini received the cuffs which were eventually passed onto his son who passed them onto my friend who keeps them in his private collection (along with some great first edition magic books). I know he will greatly appreciate all forthcoming help and information and I will point him to this topic to give more details of the story. I hope to help him establish the chronology of the events to to help aurthenicate their origin. More shortly...
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