Several people have been touch about the Houdini pitch book. To answer the first question, yes it is for sale. It’s not mine, unfortunately, but I have examined it and can put you in touch with the seller.

I posted a scan of the front cover on my last post. Here are a few more scans to give you a better idea of the book. Back cover on the left, inside front cover and first page above right, inside page spread lower right.

Incidentally, a little local interest, one of Houdini’s certificates from “various chiefs of police” (see right hand scan above, lower right) reads:

Chief Constable’s Office,
Sheffield, Jan. 19, 1904.

This is to certify that Mr. Harry Houdini was this day stripped stark naked and locked in the cell which once contained Charles Peace. The cell was searched and triple-locked, But Mr. Houdini released himself and redressed in five minutes, having also opened the iron gate of the corridor.

Charles J. Scott, Commander (R.N.)
Chief Constable, Sheffield,
Witness to the foregoing feat,
George H. Barker, Deputy Chief Constable

Charles Peace? An “infamous murderer”; brief history of his exploits, capture, escape, recapture and execution can be found here.

A few more details of the book:

The book is a soft cover, wire-stitched pitch book entitled Handcuff Tricks Exposed, Illustrated Life and History of Houdini. It was printed by Clegg & Son in 1911 (revised edition).

It has a pictorial yellow wrapper with a bust portrait of Houdini (the “Houdini for President” image) and a reproduced signature. The front cover is worn with minor tears and nicks but it is still attached. The back cover is loose. The last three pages although intact are loose from the staples, the rest are attached.

Overall, considering this paperback is almost 110 years old I feel it has survived in remarkable condition.

The seller has stated, ” I have had this book for many years and it is  only recently that it has surfaced again. I did an amount of research on this particular book and found it to be extremely rare and with a value of around $2000. (That was for bad copies. *) I am open to sensible offers and appreciate this book needs to go to a serious collector.”

* Russell’s note: one copy which went for over $2000 had clear marks of having been folded in half.

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