Pawn Stars: Are they Houdini Handcuffs?

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Postby mai-ling » 01/17/11 10:26 PM

I just saw the preview for tonight's "Pawn Stars"
and I someone brings in handcuffs that could be
Houdini...

And Chumlee said "He must've been a great magician."

I cringed.
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Postby JohnCox » 01/18/11 04:56 PM

The episode and appraisal is getting heat at Handcuffs.org.

Story on my site consolidates the criticisms/posts.

http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2011/01 ... stars.html
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Postby mai-ling » 01/18/11 08:52 PM

I finally watched it this afternoon.
No insult to anyone but I figured that
Norm Nielson would be called in as a
Magic Historian Authority...But it was
actually Murray.

This guys brother bought them from the big
auction from 2004 of Sid Radner (sp?) and
they were hand and ankle cuffs valued at
$10,000.00 total.

Anyway, Rick bought them for $6,000.

In the end I was a bit disappointed with the
episode.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/19/11 02:40 AM

My brother called me last night to tell me about it in time for me to DVR it. I just watched it and somethings hinky.

I would think that a pawn broker would want to contact the auction house to see what the set sold for before forking over seven grand, regardless of what Murray said.

Hinky.

(Does anyone know what they sold for in the Radner auction?)
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Postby JHostler » 01/19/11 07:55 AM

Of course, none of us who have posted yet (including myself) know what was edited out, or understand exactly why Murray (a purported "buddy") was brought in. In any case, I suspect the shop's take on this episode more than compensates for the loss on one bad appraisal...
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Postby Terry » 01/19/11 12:28 PM

Why do people have to get their panties in a twist every time something like this is on TV? Grow up. No one here was buying the cuffs so who cares if the appraisal was real or not?

Who really cares if it was Murray that did the appraisal? Magic and Houdini was represented on a syndicated program. This is good exposure for both.

Pawn Stars is an entertainment vehicle. Either enjoy the ride or get off.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/19/11 12:50 PM

A bunch of the manacles floating around out there today with "Houdini" attached to them came off display boards that were set up in movie theaters for the 1953 Houdini film. These were not Houdini's cuffs, but stuff bought for display on the boards. I can't recall if these were sold in the Gibson or Radner auction, but there were a lot of raised eyebrows at the time.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 01/19/11 03:17 PM

Terry,

Did you see the show?
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http://houdinihimself.com/
I buy,sell + trade Houdini, Hardeen items.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/19/11 03:41 PM

I recall one auction--not the Radner auction--that had the cuffs used in the movie "Houdini." The auction house listed them as belonging to Houdini at one time. The problem is that I know for a fact (and I pointed it out at the time) that the cuff display in the movie belonged to Earl Lockman.

Terry: If (and I am saying "IF") false information is being passed off as fact, how is that good (except for the guy who sold the cuffs)?

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Postby Terry » 01/19/11 05:32 PM

Dustin,

If I were buying ANYTHING directly Houdini related, I would ask for verification because of all the questionable material out there.

Considering Pawn Stars is a TV show, it would make me wonder if they really bought anything. Maybe the cuffs were used just as a story prop to attract interest? Maybe they reviewed the auction documents prior to the filming?

Since we are not really privy to the actual who's/why's behind this exact episode, it's comical with everyone getting so upset when it has zero effect on anyone personally.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 01/19/11 05:47 PM

What logic! LMAO!
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Postby JohnCox » 01/19/11 06:11 PM

On the upside, I did like how they showed such reverence for Houdini. I was worried we'd get a "Who's that?" from Chumly or something.
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Postby mai-ling » 01/20/11 02:42 PM

Chumlee makes me laugh no matter what he say's and does.
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Postby Murray SawChuck » 01/22/11 10:43 PM

Wow... alot of unhappy magicians! Doesn't matter what any magician does on TV... someone is bound to become jealous...it's a known fact... I appologize for not meeting the needs of many magicians... but doesn't matter what I do on TV... there is always some discussion of good, bad, or indifferent... No one thought I could vanish a train or do a tiger trick... or ever leave Canada to become successful in the USA... When you are a driven person... you meet many many many jealous people along the way I have found out over the last 10 years!



In regards to the Handcuff episode... for those who do television a lot then I don't need to explain this to you, but for those who don't... they shoot hours and hours of footage... after that it's all in the hands of the editors and directors... Yes, I did make a mistake on my 'first take' calling the cuffs Darcy instead of Darby which was an honest mistake as one of the production team staff members was named Darcy and it just slipped when I was talking about the cuffs. We reshot it many times, everytime with the correct name 'Darby' unfortunately once I walk off set the editting isn't in my hands.



One thing I can be 100% for sure... is YES they are Houdini's handcuffs, they do have all the necessary paperwork... and they are worth the amount stated. Who would spend that much I am not sure... but that is a recorded amount.



Keep watching the Pawn Stars... I am sure I am not done upsetting people yet... ;)

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Postby Kevin Connolly » 01/23/11 03:05 PM

You explanation of the the Houdini Packing crate challenge was very novel. Not true, but novel.
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Postby JohnCox » 01/23/11 03:22 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I had heard Houdini would gaff the truck with short nails after they were delivered to the theater. Wouldn't he insist they be displayed in the lobby for a few days before the challenge? I've never heard of he or his assistants breaking into a challengers shop.

I also think sometimes this this was just the same packing crate each time. Houdini's crate. I'm sure he invited them to build their own -- but he'd also give them the option of just using a ready made one. It was all good for everybody.
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Postby JohnCox » 01/23/11 04:10 PM

Of course, I meant trunk, not truck. And I meant crate, not trunk.

I don't think I'll be appearing anytime soon on Pawn Stars. ;)
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Postby Brad Henderson » 01/23/11 06:30 PM

Murray is one of the few magicians in the world who can make me appear downright lovable.
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Postby magicam » 01/23/11 08:32 PM

Well, one thing seems safe to say: regardless of the genuineness of the restraints, Houdini probably wouldn't have had an issue with the show as aired. :cool:

Murray:

Fair point about the editing we have no idea about the entirety of what you said or did, or who you consulted. A few practical questions:
-- Did you see and examine the COA for these items?
-- Did you confirm beyond any doubt that these items were the items represented in the COA? If so, what evidence did you examine?
-- Did you confirm beyond any doubt that these items were the items represented in the auction receipt? If so, what evidence did you examine?

A few abstract questions:
1. Do you think it's possible that Hardeen owned restraints that were never touched by his brother?
2. Do you think it's possible that Hardeen could have made an honest mistake in claiming these items were owned by his brother?
3. Do you think it's possible that Sid Radner and others in the chain of ownership owned restraints that were never touched by Hardeen?
4. Do you think it's possible that Sid Radner and others in the chain of ownership could have made an honest mistake in claiming these items were owned by Hardeen?
5. Do you think it's possible that some COAs are erroneous?

You will note that deceit has no role to play in the foregoing questions, but of course you know that human beings do lie, especially when prestige and/or profit is to be gained, so

6. Do you think it's possible that Hardeen lied about the provenance of some of the restraints he sold to people?

Are you prepared to answer no to the above 6 numbered questions? Setting aside other factors and possibilities, you would have to answer no in order to be 100% for sure that these items belonged to Houdini. I doubt you're that naive. Really, the only way of being 100% for sure that this stuff belonged to Houdini is if he himself gave it to you. Then again, going back to your comment about editing, in fairness perhaps you gave the pawn guys all of these caveats. But if you did, I don't know how the figure 100% could have been used.

If you want to write off the foregoing questions and comments to jealousy, go ahead but can you be 100% for sure about that? ;)
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Postby mai-ling » 01/23/11 11:04 PM

Today they had a PS marathon.
And someone tried to sell a rickshas that
they had bought that was used
in the seigfried & roy show.

it was used with one of the white tigers.

It was ugly and made in china but not
the real kind used in china.

big hoss didn't buy it.
but Chumlee road the bike, with some level of
difficulty.

I didn't know that rickshas were illegal
in Vegas due to the taxi drivers complaining
about them.

I learned something new today!
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Postby JohnCox » 01/24/11 03:05 PM

Meh, forget the cuffs, Murray. Tell us about Chumlee! :p
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Postby mai-ling » 01/24/11 11:08 PM

did chumlee get out the cuffs?
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Postby Gary Brown » 01/25/11 12:35 PM

magicam wrote:A few abstract questions:
1. Do you think it's possible that Hardeen owned restraints that were never touched by his brother?


Nothing abstract about that question. While writing The Coney Island Fakir Jackie Flosso provided a very interesting answer to that question, which I included in the book. It's a great story. It may also explain the "genuine Houdini handcuffs" on display at McSorley's Pub, which were apparently produced after Harry's death. McSorley's printed a coaster highlighting this mystery.

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Postby JHostler » 01/25/11 09:43 PM

magicam wrote:A few practical questions:
-- Did you confirm beyond any doubt that these items were the items represented in the COA? If so, what evidence did you examine?
-- Did you confirm beyond any doubt that these items were the items represented in the auction receipt? If so, what evidence did you examine?


If every appraisal were held to this standard (essentially proving that something couldn't possibly have been substituted or counterfeited), none would pass. I'm sorry reality doesn't meet your specifications, but authentication is pretty much always an odds game.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 01/25/11 10:44 PM

Yes. But would an informed, respected Appraiser ever claim, "One thing I can be 100% for sure... is YES they are Houdini's handcuffs, they do have all the necessary paperwork... and they are worth the amount stated."

Sotheby's doesnt make that claim. Nor does christie's or swann. They stand by their appraisals and offer recourse if facts come to light that contradict their assesment.

I don't think clay would demand such unrealistic standards if, indeed, the statement under question was at all realistic.
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Postby magicam » 01/26/11 05:09 PM

^^^ That's correct, Brad. I was being playful and using a bit of hyperbole (thus the bolded text) in light of the 100% opinion, which itself seems extremely unrealistic. So I certainly think John H's comment is fair and reflects the uncertainties involved with assessing the genuineness of something, made all the more difficult if the item's value is almost wholly dependent on who owned it, i.e., association value.

Although I think Murray, as a matter of logic, couldn't possibly draw the 100% conclusion he did, in fairness to Murray it's not clear to me what the pawn shop owners were asking from him. Were they simply asking Murray if he thought the restraints were actually the ones sold at the Houdini auction in question? If so, that's a very different question than asking Murray to assess whether or not the items actually belonged to Houdini. Strictly speaking, the former question has little to do with the issue of Houdini's actual ownership, and can probably be answered with a far greater degree of certainty than the question of Houdini's ownership.
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Postby Raleigh » 02/22/11 01:56 PM

Great job on Pawn Stars Murray .
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