One of the legendary items that belonged to the world's most famous magician, Harry Houdini, will soon become the property of the highest bidder at the Houdini Auction on April 8 2017, hosted by the respected auction house of Potter & Potter - The Royal Crown Brooch.
This rare and historic emerald and ruby encrusted crown, which according to Beatrice "Bessie" Houdini, was presented to Harry by the Czar of Russia at a dinner party in their honor, will be making is first appearance before the general public in decades.
Since the Pharaohs of Egypt to ancient Greece and Rome, through the Middle Ages, historical records tell of masters of trickery and illusion becoming powerful influences in politics. However, none have been as famous as the great Harry Houdini. Houdini's access to heads of state and power players on his frequent trips to Europe and special abilities, like subterfuge and sleight of hand, made him an ideal candidate for first person royal and political voyeurism.
According to story's Bess Houdini shared with dear friend Geri Larsen, Harry Houdini performed his astonishing illusions and escapes for Czar Nicholas and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra, during his tour of Russia in the spring and summer of 1903. Harry was so phenomenally successful that they actually believed he had magical powers. So much so, that they invited him to stay at court and become their spiritual adviser - A position Houdini declined and would later be given to a notoriously faux spiritualist named Rasputin. Harry and his wife Bess remained stars of the Czar's court, until they fell afoul of the leader because of a single glass of wine, when the Emperor conceived Houdini's failure to drink during a toast as an insult. In reality, Houdini simply did not indulge in alcohol.
Among the items they retained was The Royal Crown, which Mrs. Houdini made into a brooch and presented it to close friend, and the first woman to host her own televised magic show (KTLA 1949), Geraldine Larsen. Together they had formed The Magigals, the world's first organization devoted to women magicians.
Geraldine and her husband William Larsen Sr., an attorney who handled Mrs Houdini's legal affairs until her passing in 1942, would later become the renowned Larsen Family of Magicians. Their sons Milt & Bill Larsen Jr. created the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and founded The Academy of Magical Arts club for magicians. Milt's wife, Arlene, said her mother-in-law told her that Bessie Houdini said the brooch could also be used as a pendent and has a small hook where she believed, a small miniature portrait of the Czar in a diamond-encrusted frame once hung.
Until now, the Houdini Brooch has only been seen at very special occasions for the magical community and has been in the possession of members of the two very magical family's The Houdini's and The Larsens.
The decision to part with this remarkable piece of history was to raise money that will be invested in a new venue - a smaller version of its predecessor, The Magic Castle, called "Magic Castle Cabaret." The goal is the same as the original, which has featured the most iconic names in entertainment, to promote and support excellence in the art of illusion as a private club for magicians and their fans. The new location will be in Montecito California by the Santa Barbara bird sanctuary lake only 2 blocks from the ocean. Although the 4000 sq foot facility has been known to locals as the "Cafe Del Sole" restaurant for 25 years, the "Magic Castle Cabaret" will not offer a restaurant, but will include a lite menu at the Magic Bar, as well as walk around magicians and a small 50 seat theatre for close up magic and charming variety shows of one or more performers.
For more information, or to request an interview with Arlene Larsen, please contact B. Harlan Boll, the publicist for Magic Castle, Inc and the Larsen family.