Harry Houdini's Bible

The story of the discovery of the Houdini family's Bible

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Houdini Family Bible


In the summer of 1986, magician Peter Monticup (owner of MagicTricks.com) was performing at a resort in the New York Catskills. During an afternoon break, he took a drive into the countryside, and stopped at a barn sale. As always, he did a trick or two for the amusement of the people there, and handed out his business card. The barn owner/antique dealer immediately piped up, "Oh, I've got something you might like to purchase!"

A few minutes later, the woman handed Peter a cardboard box containing some framed photos, and a large book. The photos were personal portraits of Harry Houdini and his wife, Bess, portraits they kept on display in their home. The book was a Hebrew-German bible, signed by Houdini and his father.

In fact, the bible had been signed three times on the front page by Houdini. He wrote his name once in the middle of the page, then wrote the notation, "My father Rev. Dr. M.S. Weiss bequeathed all his books to me." He added his initials to that note. Underneath, he added, "The above is his signature. He passed away October 5- 1892. Harry Houdini". At the top of the page is the signature of his father, Rev. Dr. M. Samuel Weiss.

The bible was in the Monticup collection until February 1993, when it was sold through Swann Galleries in New York. In 2003, it was sold again through Swann Galleries, this time for an astounding $52,900! It is now a permanent part of a major private magic collection.