A Harry Houdini stage-used illusion called 'Cutting a Girl in Eight,' circa 1920s

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Lot 3173W
A Harry Houdini stage-used illusion called 'Cutting a Girl in Eight,' circa 1920s

Sold for US$ 2,700 inc. premium
A Harry Houdini stage-used illusion called 'Cutting a Girl in Eight,' circa 1920s
A mostly red-painted wooden box with eight separate hinged openings on top and openings on either end for the girl's head and neck; seven pegs hold box in place on a wooden frame which sits on a plumbing pipe apparatus that extends vertically from each end of the box, supported on rollers. One end of the piping extends to provide a nonfunctioning crank. This particular illusion was developed by the magician Joseph Dunninger for use by his friend, Houdini. Initially, the box was fully enclosed with no openings for the head or feet but Houdini felt that total enclosure of the girl would cause too much audience suspicion. Dunninger then changed the box by including the openings which added to the sensationalism of the performance.
Box: 18 1/2i x 49 1/2in; Depth: 20 1/4in

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    This illusion originally sold in the Butterfield & Butterfield Los Angeles auction titled "The Houdini Magical Hall of Fame;" November 15, 1999, Sale 7053B, lot 186, page 16 of that catalogue; final hammer price was $3,450. The consignor was the owner and curator of The Houdini Magical Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls.
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