1920 Inscribed Harry Houdini Book, "Miracle Mongers and Their Methods"
Well, I found this book when I was at college. Once a year they have a book sale. This was in the religious section of books for 25 cents. I thought it sounded interesting, so I picked it up.
It's Houdini's Miracle Mongers and Their Methods. As you may know, when his mother passed away, he was very interested in trying to reach her, and he went to a lot of mediums and he went to a lot of séances. And after a while he began to see that these were a lot of fakes and people were taking advantage of people who were in mourning.
Houdini didn't like that, and he knew a lot of the techniques they were using. So he took it upon himself, from about 1920 on, which is the year this was published, to start exposing them and going to séances and would debunk them. He put out this book, which was debunking a lot of the methods that were used. And the title says, "A complete exposé of the modus operandi "of fire eaters, heat resisters, poison eaters, "venomous reptile defiers, sword swallowers, human ostriches, strong men, and the like." So it was a real exposé on what he knew. We have the first page, Houdini has inscribed it. Erik Weisz was his original, his birth name, and he changed it to Houdini for show business. But here he's inscribed it in a bold, clear signature, "To W.S. Davis, best wishes from the author, Houdini, January 1921." So, right after publication. The book was published, like I said, in 1920. A lot of times they're dated 1920. It would have come out the beginning of '21, January. I'm sure it was an early presentation. It's a great thing. The book itself is worth several hundred dollars in this condition. It's in fairly good condition.
With the inscription, though, significantly impacts it. His autograph is relatively rare. I mean, he did sign things, but on this book in particular, it's a good one to have inscribed. Copies have come up at auction, and we would estimate this at $2,000 to $3,000.
Yeah, so you did very well for your... on your purchase.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
Summer Night Concerts
Relax with four amazing concerts from the Vienna Philharmonic and special guests.