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Houdini Envelope - to Bess Houdini

Envelope found in Houdini's desk - to Bess Houdini
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Houdini Envelope - to Bess Houdini

Item Id: 90-0898
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Just think- you can own a piece of magical history- something that came from the desk of the great Harry Houdini, and was handled by Bess! This is a one-of-a-kind collectible, perfect for framing. What a great gift!

See a larger version of the image.

In the late 1980's, magician Peter Monticup (owner of, purchased Harry Houdini's ornate desk. The desk had been in storage in Houdini's former NYC home from 1926 until it was sold in 1980. Peter purchased the desk from this buyer, along with a number of personal items from the Houdini home.

The desk had a number of secret compartments and hidden drawers. Inside one of the drawers was a stack of envelopes from correspondence Houdini had received. Houdini was a notorious "saver", so it is no surprise that he kept these envelopes. The letters were from all different sources- his lawyers, his fans, fellow magicians, etc. He even wrote notes on some of the envelopes, either noting the importance of the contents, or just scribbling on them as scrap paper.

This is one of the envelopes found in the desk. It is postmarked September 15, 1939 from Times Square Station, NY. It is addressed to Mrs. Beatrice Houdini, 963 N. Mariposa Avenue, Hollywood, CA. It is from B.M.L. Ernst, her New York lawyer and friend.

Bernard M.L. Ernst, Bess' lawyer from the time of Houdini's death until her own death in 1943, was also a close friend of the Houdinis. Much has been made of the secret message code shared between Houdini and Bess, the secret message that was to be related from beyond the grave by whichever one died first. Bess had written the coded message and locked it away in her safe deposit box at the Fifth Avenue branch of the Manufacturers Trust Bank. She held one key to the box, and Bernard Ernst held the other.

Bernard Ernst was also a magician, and after Houdini's death was elected president of the Society of American Magicians to serve the remainder of Houdini's term. He also delivered the graveside memorial eulogy on the one-year anniversary of Houdini's death, when the huge monument in Machpelah cemetery was dedicated. According to the October 31, 1927 article in the New York Times, Ernst delivered a glowing tribute, mentioning Houdini's ongoing campaign against spiritualist impostors.


What you'll get:

  • the exact authentic envelope pictured above
You provide the frame if desired.

This is a standard size envelope (about 3.5" x 6"). It's old, it's been through the mail, it's yellowed. It has been torn along the side (probably with a dull letter opener) to remove the contents. This envelope is in "AS FOUND" condition.

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