The
Stephen A. Sparks
Collection


Specializing in Houdiniana

  

 Weather in Las Vegas, Nevada

 

This WebSite will be devoted to items I currently have for sale. While most Collectible Dealers Occasionally have a Houdini item or two, we here at SASC Specialize in Houdini Material and have done so for 20+ years.

Not to mention having been in magic since 1963!!

HOW TO ORDER:
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To place an order, simply email or call me with your wants and I will email back within a couple hours - unless I'm out of town.
Email and phone information are located at the bottom of this page.

This WebSite isn't ALL Houdini material, as you'll see when you take the tour of the various pages.  There is something for Every Magic Collector!!

   

   

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This page was updated:

Friday, October 31st, 2014 @ 10:45am(Pacific)

4138-2287) THE RIGHT WAY TO DO WRONG, an Expose' of Successful Criminals by Harry Houdini.

This IS NOT a reprint, but an actual ORIGINAL COPY from 1906!!

PaperBound with 96pages.

A previous owners BookPlate fixed to the inside cover: Christopher Woodward

The profile silhouette, of Woodward, shows to have been done by Dai Vernon, in 1964.

For those of you not familiar with this book, the chapters include:

Income of a Criminal - Professional Burglary - Difficulties of Burglary - Burglars’ Superstitions - Thieves and Their Tricks - The Aristocrat of Thievery - Pickpockets at Work - Beggars and Dead Beats - Begging Letter Swindles - Tricks of Bunco Men - The Game of Wits - Fake! Fake! Fake! - Bogus Treasures - Famous Swindles - The Fair Criminal - The "Brace" Game - Cheating Uncle Sam - Humbugs - About Myself - Conclusion

Front Cover has a couple small creases. The Back Cover is missing a small piece from the lower left corner. Inside pages are just fine. The covers, themselves, appear to have been professional reattached, as most copies of this book - the covers are loose.

The book's color isn't quite as dark red, as the photos below, but pretty close.

Were the book in Near Mint condition, we would price it at $750.00. And, not too long ago,  there was one running on Ebay, in better condition, for $1,025.00.

Don't miss out of this RARE FIND!! - $500.00

         

    

As an added BONUS, we'll include the 1970s reproduction published by Gambler's Book Club, in Las Vegas. This book makes a great reading copy.

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Other Six WebPages - where you'll find ManyMore items for sale.

4139-1328) MAHATMA Magazines

Here’s the ultimate offering for you magazine collectors!!

This large format magazine, measuring 9 1/2"x11 1/2", was the First major magazine in English since "The Conjuror's Magazine" in the late 1700s.

Some time prior to March 1895, Francis J. Martinka, one of the pioneer manufactures and dealers in magical goods in New York, and proprietor of "The Magical Palace" at No. 483 Sixth Avenue, conceived the idea of publishing a magical paper and calling it: "Mahatma".

He had conceived the novel design appearing on the issues, and had gone so far as to have an electro plate made of this.

Around the middle of February 1895, Mr. Martinka concluded it would be best not to allow the publication, of a magical journal, to conflict with his already large business interests.

Martinka turned over "Mahatma", with all the news he had gathered for the publication of the initial issue, to Mr. George H. Little who financed its publication from March 1895, until, and including the October 1895 issue.

At this time, Mr. Little decided to issue the paper weekly instead of monthly and changed its title to "Vaudeville", and the first issue of the paper under this name appeared in November 1895 (Vol.1, #9) to be followed by one more issue "Vaudeville" (Vol.1, #10), which was dated November 23, 1895.

The publication "Vaudeville" was then suspended and "Mahatma" reappeared (as Vol.1, #9) in March 1898.

Little also produced two issues of another magazine called: "Artist-Era" shortly after "Vaudeville" and before returning to publishing "Mahatma".

The first issues of "Mahatma" were printed by George H. Little (on a Washington hand press) in the rear of Martinka’s. What better place, since Martinka’s had been known for years as the Magicians’ Headquarters. It was only natural that the Martinka’s were the constant recipients of all the magical news of the day. This information they, very courteously, turned over to Mr. Little, for his printing plant, in the rear of their shop -and thus- "Mahatma", the pioneer of all magical journalism, was launched out into the World of Magic.

Editor’s for the various issues were:
V1,#1 to V3,#8 - George H. Little
V3,#9 to V5,#2 - Walter G. Peterkin
V5,#3 to V9,#8 - T. Francis Fritz

This important magic periodical ran from March 1895 to February 1906. It is A Must for the magic historian. The magazines are filled with photos and information, on the magic scene of the time. Besides the many ads for the various Magic Dealers, etc., you'll also find a number of early ads for Houdini, some with photos. Possibly Houdini's First ads.

Several of the issues have been rubber stamped by Hamley’s Magical Saloon of London, as Hamley's was the British distributor of this publication. Some issues have small number of pages with edge tears, mostly small and found at the folds; some are hole punched; some have loose pages; some are out of bound editions.

The issues available are:

Volume 2, #2,3,4,5,6,7,10,12 (August 1898-June 1899)
Volume 3, #1,2,6,8,9,10,11,12 (July 1899-June 1900)
Volume 4, #3,4,6,8,9,10*,11,12 (September 1900-June 1901)
Volume 5, #1,2,4,5,6,7,9,10,11,12 (July 1901-June 1902)
Volume 6, #1,2,3,4,6,9,10,11,12 (July 1902-June 1903)
Volume 7, #2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10,11,12 (August 1903-June 1904)
Volume 8, #1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10,11,12 (July 1904-June 1905)

For full descriptions, photos and price of each issue - please click this link:

www.GranHoudini.net/Mahatma.htm

4140-6499) MAGIC COLLECTORs REPRINT SERIEs

Published by Walter Graham of Omaha, Nebraska.

Printed quarterly and measuring 8 1/2"x11".

Volume 1, #1 thru Volume 4, #4 - June 1969 to October 1973.

What's offered here are 15 of the 16 issues.

I'm assuming these came directly from Walter Graham, all at one time, as there's a note in the back of the folder which reads:

"15 issues complete.
Complete except for
1 issue -
Volume 4, #1
Thurston ads & Reviews"

Beneath this, the paper is rubber stamped:

Walter B. Graham
1010 So. 91 Circle
Omaha, NE 68114

A total of 16 issues make up a complete file. Each issue having one (or more) Supplements.

Supplements Include:

Volume 1, #1 - June 1969 - Mahatma Volume 1, #1 (March 1895)
Volume 1, #2 - Sept. 1969 - Houdini's Red Magic Section -and- Houdini's Exposure of Talking Teakettle
Volume 1, #3 - December 1969 -
First Issue of Vaudeville, Volume 1, #9 (November 1895)
Volume 1, #4 - March 1970 - Series of Eight Programs

Volume 2, #1 - June 1970 - Second Issue of Vaudeville, Volume 1, #10 (November 23, 1895)
Volume 2, #2 - Sept. 1970 -
First Issue of Artist Era, Volume 1, #11 (February 4, 1896)
Volume 2, #3 - December 1970 -
Second Issue of Artist Era, Volume 1, #13 (February 25, 1896)
Volume 2, #4 - March 1971 - Howard Thurston's MAGIC WORLD 1914-15 Season

Volume 3, #1 - June 1971 - Old Tops, Volume 1, #1
Volume 3, #2 - Sept. 1971 - Magic City, Volume 1, #1
Volume 3, #3 - December 1971 - Magic Circle Séance Program 1906
Volume 3, #4 - March 1972 - The Magical Searchlight, N1

Volume 4, #1 - June 1972 - Thurston Ads and Reviews (issue and supplement missing, as per Mr. Graham's note)
Volume 4, #2 - Sept. 1972 - The Soldiers Adieu
Volume 4, #3 - December 1972 - The A.M.C.C. Review, Volume 1, #8
Volume 4, #4 - March 1973 - MAGIC, Volume 2, #2

For those of you who are collector's of America's first magic magazine: MAHATMA - this Magic Collector Reprint Series is a must - as it includes reprints of the Extremely Scarce/RARE Vaudeville and Artist Era issues.

Virtually a Compete File, only missing one issue/supplement - $250.00

4141-7536) TWO VOLUMEs OF MAHATMA MAGAZINE FROM JOHN N. HILLIARDs COLLECTION

Awhile back, a bound lot of The Wizard Magazine, signed by Hilliard, sold on Ebay for a price of $461.00.

Anyone who collects magazines knows MAHATMAs are Much Scarcer than Wizards.

(a) Volume 6 - Bound Complete - July 1902 thru June 1903

Signed by John N. Hilliard

As can be seen from the photos, below, a couple of these issues include "The Happy Houdini" family -and- Chung Ling Soo, on the covers.

If you'd like a detailed listing of the material, in these issues, just email. - $350.00

  

(b) Volume 7 - Bound Complete - July 1903 thru June 1904

Signed by John N. Hilliard

As can be seen from the photos, below, a couple of these issues include Bautier De Kolta -and- Hardeen, Brother of Houdini, on the covers.

If you'd like a detailed listing of the material, in these issues, just email. - $350.00

  

REMEMBER, all photos are Thumbnails - click on the photo to bring up the LARGER photo.

4142-8648) ABRA CADABRA - Five Color Lithographs

Produced by Kurt Steinel, of Germany, 44 Years Ago in 1970.

Limited to a total production of only 80 Lithographs - however - if you were one of the first 39 to order, you'd received a sixth print.

Each Lithograph numbered in the lower left hand corner -and- Kurt Steinel's signed his last name and the year of 1970 in the lower right corner.

Five of these Lithographs are numbered "29/80" and the sixth Lithograph "29/39".

This being the case, there are only 39 COMPLETE SETs.

This is set #29, purchased by yours truly, in 1970.

These Very Colourful Lithographs each approx. measure: 17 1/2"x23 3/4"

They come in the original purple loose binder -and- this all in the Original shipping packaging.

  

  

      

          

      

Inside the portfolio, the six Lithographs are listed (in German).

Using Google Translate, I've added the English translations - which are a little different from what I was originally told, but the translation is close enough.

Das Becherspiel
The Cup Game

Nothing like the likeness of the devil performing the cups and balls, with birds, as the audience looks on.

Die schwebende Jungfrau
The Floating Virgin

Very interesting in that the floating virgin and magician both appear to be floating.

Die Zersägte
The Sawed

The sawing in parts of the lady, and whatever else she is.

Die verzauberte Kartendame
The Enchanted Lady Cards

The devils likeness, this time with magician's wand bringing the Queen of Spades to life.

Der Gaukler
The Juggler

The Juggler has all kinds of things going on - you might say the skull represents Death - the clock: time - not sure about the violin - the Ace of Diamonds card, with wings: chance flying out the window - the flowers have eyes, could this be for wisdom?

Den Mappen mit den Nummern 1-39 liegt zusätzlich bei blatt 6 Alptraum des Tascheenspielers
The mapping with the numbers 1-39 is also in leaf 6 Nightmare of Pocket, Player

This last Lithograph was explained, to me, as A Nightmare of the Magician.

At one time, these Lithographs were all framed, as can be seen by the brown paper tape at the bottom of each. The first set of photos, below, show this.

The second set of photos, below, I cropped the images, thus hiding the brown paper tape, to show you how nice each Lithograph would look, should you wish to have them framed and hanging in your house or office. So, don't let the brown paper tape discourage you from making this purchase. Properly matted and framed, only the beauty of each Lithograph will be visible.

Price for all six Lithographs, the purple housing portfolio, information pages, etc. etc. - $1,250.00

4143-9880) A MAGICIAN AMONG THE SPIRITS by Harry Houdini.

1924 First Edition with Extremely RARE DustJacket.

Published by Harper Brother’s. New York and London. 294 pages.

Contents include:

The Founders of Modern Spiritualism
The Davenport Brothers
Daniel Dunglas Home
Palladino
Ann O'Delia Diss Debar
Dr. Slade and His Spirits Slates
Slate Writing and Other Methods
Spirit Photography
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Why Ectoplasm
By-products of Spiritualism
Investigations, Wise and Otherwise
How Mediums Obtain Information
What You Must Believe To Be A Spiritualist
Conclusion

Binding and pages are all nice and tight.

The book is in remarkable condition. You've got to remember, it's 90years old and books were meant to be read, read and read. This book doesn't appear to have been used hardly at all. Probably the finest conditioned book I've ever had to offer.

Now, lets talk about the DustJacket.

This is only the second time I've had this title, with the Extremely RARE DustJacket.

While the DJ has a couple condition issues, see photo's below - when measuring the overall DJ, with the couple missing area's - the DJ is still almost 95% complete.

The book came from the C. A. George Newman collection, as noted by the embossed name on the title page.

As it was told to me, a bunch of Newman material showed up at a magic store in Minneapolis, this is where this book came from, but I don't have the date this happened.

To see a ton of reproduction Newman posters, on Ebay, just enter his name, Newmann The Magician, into the search box and you'll be amazed how many and beautiful they are.

You really need to see this book to appreciate its condition. - $500.00 (Sorry, this book has sold and is not in LayAway)


(DustJacket is housed in an acetate holder, this will explain its 'washed-out' look)

4144-6363) HOUDINI, His Life Story by Harold Kellock

HardBound with 384 pages.

Original copyright 1928. This edition is the sixth printing, February 1931 and published by Blue Ribbon Books of New York.

THIS IS THE BOOK WHICH STARTED IT ALL.

In reviewing this book The New York Herald said:
"An entrancing history of a most unusual personality, well worth reading".

The New York Evening Post said:
"As interesting and breath-taking as one of Houdini's own performances".

The Boston Globe said:
"As exciting and as packed full of vivid incidents as was an act performed by that masterful showman".

As can be seen from the photos, below, the book has seen some use. All this, of course, will be hidden by the included repro DustJacket.

Frank B.W. Welch BookPlate on the inside cover.

Binding and pages are tight. - $250.00

  

  
-----

As a BONUS, I will include a reproduction DustJacket. This covers the books problems and looks great on the book shelf.


-----

As a 2nd BONUS, I will include an Original envelope addressed to Houdini and canceled by the Crawfordsville, Indiana Post Office on Jan 7, 1926. Only 9months 24days before Houdini's death.

Unfortunately, there is no letter to go with this envelope, but we CAN ASSUME Houdini handled and possibly opened the envelope Himself.

Handwritten, on the backside of the envelope, in what appears to be Houdini's handwriting:

"Address
also
Put
Al Flosso"


-----

Also included, in what appears to be in Houdini's handwriting, is a small (5 1/2"x3 1/2"), light green colored envelope:

“Mrs. Jenkins 2nd House down after 6-15”.

Beneath this:

"Put these with my Spiritualism
Friends as it is Harry Cooke"

4145-9765) HOUDINI OWNED LOCKPICKs AND KEYs

From the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame and the Houdini-Hardeen Collection owned by Sidney H. Radner.

All Professionally framed and matted, with reproduction portrait of Houdini -and- Certificate of Authenticity signed by Henry Muller, Owner and Curator, Houdini Magical Hall of Fame -and- Sidney Radner, Honorary Curator, Houdini Historical Centre.

This offering was part of the 1999 Butterfield and Butterfield auction, in Los Angeles, on November 15, 1999.

I will include the auction catalogue.

Unfortunately, some of the descriptions in the catalogue were pretty vague, so it's hard to know exactly which auction lot this framed piece is.

        

The catalogue list 465 auctions lots with 150+ COLOR photo illustrations.

SoftBound with 67pages.

Prices Realized sheet included.

The catalogue measures approx. 8 1/2"x11".

Overall frame measures approx. 23"x13 1/2".

As a brief description, of this offering, I would state this is a Very rare Harry Houdini owned handcuff keys from the Houdini Collection of his original locks, keys, cuffs, etc. These are shadow box framed, with a letter of provenance from The Houdini Historical and signed by noted Houdini collector/authority Sid Radner -and- Houdini Magical Hall of Fame museum owner Henry Muller.

These are keys for screw mechanism "Darby" type cuffs and leg irons. The one with the exterior threaded shaft is known as a "Shefield" pattern cuff key -and- the other is the head of a Darby key which I believe Houdini could have used to attach different working shafts onto.

For those of you who've followed my offerings - you'll remember I had a five key/lockpick framed piece - this has recently sold.

This offering is the last of these framed pieces, containing key/lockpicks. $2,000.00

=====

   

4146-4557) TWO HANDWRITTEN LETTERs, PERSONALLY SIGNED by BESS HOUDINI with TWO ORIGINAL PHOTOs

The first letter is written on Houdini's "On Tour" stationery. Under the words "HOUDINI (On Tour)", Bess has written "Forever"

One of Houdini's fans had written for a photo, but Houdini had passed away before the letter could be answered -so- Bess was now answering the letter.

Bess (in part) informs Miss Jackman:

"No doubt by this time you know my dear husband has gone forever. I thank you for the nice things you say of him, his untimely death has left me crushed and broken."

Bess goes on to tell about the two photo's she's including, with the letter, and to inform Miss Jackman that if she had seen the full evening performance, that it was her (Bess) who was Houdini's assistance in the trunk trick.

While this first letter isn't dated, the 5"x7" portrait photo of Bess (in her early years) is dated "Dec. 19 - 26". 49 short days after Houdini's passing.

The photo is signed:

To
Villa D. Jackman
from
Beatrice Houdini
Dec. 19 - 26

The second photo is the Famous Hollywood pose of Houdini, with his right hand just to the left of his face and his haunting stare.

The photo is rubber stamped:

Good Luck
Houdini

The second letter is also to Miss Jackman and dated Jan. 23 - 1927, at the lower left corner.

This stationery, with black borders, has a portrait of Houdini, in the upper left corner. - This was Houdini's mourning stationery, he used, after his Mother passed away in 1913.

Evidently, Miss Jackman must have written Bess a thank you for her letter of Dec. 19th and Bess is again answering Miss Jackman's second letter.

In this letter, Bess (in part) says:

"Thank you for your sympathy, the world will never know what I've lost. I have taken up the study of birds, and have quite an aviary now of the dearest canaries, and one darling parrot. I am also writing a book, a brief history of our lives, my dear hearts and mine, you will receive one of the first copies off the press."

The first letter measures approx. 8 1/2"x11" and the second 8"x10 1/4".

Both letters and photos have been professionally matted with a beautiful museum quality framed. Over all size of the frame is approx. 20 1/2"x41 1/2"

The glass looks cracked, on the letter to the right, but this turned out to be only a hair, on the camera lens. The glass isn't cracked.

Ken Silverman used the information, in these letters, to confirm Bess working with birds in her aviary -and- how she was "crushed" over Houdini's death. The letters are referenced in Silverman's book, "Notes To Houdini" (pages 180-181), which lists all his research material for his Houdini biography

Two RARE and informative handwritten letters by Houdini's widow, in such a short time after Houdini's passing. And, two Wonderful original photographs. - $5,000.00

         

4147-5467) HARDEEN TYPED WRITTEN, PERSONALLY SIGNED LETTER with ORIGINAL PHOTO

The letter (which shows his New York address)  is dated April 4th, 1945 and is on Hardeen's stationery in which he states he is: 'The Master Illusionist" -and- "Successor to his famous brother HOUDINI".

Hardeen would pass away, only a couple months later, on June 12th.

The letter is to Mr. Otto J. Regling, Hardeen writes:

"Replying to your letter of March 13th, wish to let you know that you can get a swell umbrella trick from Abbott. I have one, but it is not for sale. Have a nice Fish Bowl production from which you can produce a 14" fish bowl and at the same movement produce a large pot of flowers. Price complete with table $35.00. Have a couple foulards of Houdini's at five dollars each. Also a nice small gallows trick. Perhaps some day you may be able to come and se me at my home (by appointment) and then I could show you some of Houdini's belongings. Best wishes, I am Sincerely yours".

And it's signed "Hardeen" with "Theo. Hardeen" typed beneath this.

Letter measures approx. 8 1/2"x11" and while there is some chipping along the edges, none of the printed area is missing.

The letter is framed, along with a great Original photo of Hardeen, seated, wearing a suit, 3/4 face pose.

Photo is stamped: "Proof, Mitchell Galleries, 1500 B'way, NY".

This oversized photo measures approx. 9 3/4"x12 3/4".

There is a vertical crease, in the photo, 1 1/2" from the right border. This only goes through Hardeen's coat jacket, just up from his right wrist.

Letter and photo have been professionally matted with a beautiful museum quality frame. Over all size of the frame is approx. 22 1/2"x31 1/2" - $1,500.00

     

LayAway is available, just email for details.

   

   

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Please CLICK HERE to check out my BioPage. Besides the Bio - there are 40 great photos of RARE Houdini items. Many from my Personal Collection.

If you've any questions or need further information, please don't hesitate to contact me:

Stephen A. Sparks (a/k/a Sparky)
The Stephen A. Sparks Collection
Specializing in Houdiniana
2873 Foxtail Creek Avenue
Henderson, Nevada 89052 USA

702-558-6110 (HomePhone)
702-350-5076 (Cell)

 

Email: Houdini374@aol.com       Ebay's: Gran*Houdini

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We, at SASC, are pleased to offer a LayAway Plan for those of you who would like this service. Just email for more information.

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