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Auction History Result

1m110 MASTER MYSTERY linen chapter 11 1sh 1919 magic serial, Harry Houdini's 1st movie, ultra rare!

Date Sold 11/4/2018
Sold For: Login or Register to see sold price.


An Original Vintage Theatrical Linenbacked Chapter #11 (The Net) One-Sheet Movie Poster (1sh; measures 27 3/4" x 41" [70 x 104 cm]) (Learn More)

The Master Mystery, the 1919 Harry Grossman & Burton L. King silent mystery magic crime serial ("A super-serial"; "By Arthur B. Reeve and Charles A. Logue"; Houdini is an agent of the Justice Department, sent to investigate a bogus giant company, which is well guarded, especially with the help of a robot, in the movie called "The Automaton", which was the very first robot ever to appear in any movie!) starring Harry Houdini, Marguerite Marsh, Ruth Stonehouse, Edna Britton, and William Pike. Note that this serial movie was Houdini's first appearance in a movie, and the producers knew what his fans wanted, and almost every chapter ended with Houdini captured, and the next one began with him making an amazing escape. Note that 13 of the 15 chapters of this movie presently survive. A restoration was made of the remaining 13 chapters, and title cards and images were used to fill in the missing plot of the two lost chapters, and that reconstruction of this movie is available to be viewed! The great magician Harry Houdini only appeared in this movie and four others, and none of those were serials. Movie paper of any kind from any of those five movies is incredibly rare!
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Important Added Info: As noted above, this movie was Harry Houdini's very first movie, and it was his only serial, and it had "The Automaton", the very first robot in a movie. So it is certainly a very historic movie. Posters from it were unknown until around 35 years ago, when the son of the man who produced the movie surfaced, and he had one one-sheet from each of the fifteen chapters! Those were quickly sold, and over the years, a very few of them have returned to auction (we have auctioned four different chapters). In 1990, we were consigned this poster, and the person who bought it at that auction re-consigned it to us 11 years later in 2001, where it sold for $16,300. Now, the person who purchased it from us in 2001 has re-consigned it 17 years later, and it is still the only example of this poster we have ever auctioned, because it is the very same poster we auctioned twice before. In 2013, we auctioned a one-sheet from "The Grim Game", another Houdini movie, but not a serial, and that poster, which was the same one we had previously auctioned in 1995, auctioned for $67,166, a world record for a Houdini movie poster, and this is the first Harry Houdini movie poster we have auctioned since 2013!

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Overall Condition and Pre-Restoration Defects with Quality of Restoration: good to very good. The poster had three extra horizontal folds 1" above or below the regular ones, and also a horizontal fold 3" from the bottom of the poster. There were creases and some tiny paper loss along some of those folds. The poster had tiny paper loss in Houdini's eyebrow and in his forehead, with a 1/2" tear connecting them. It also had small paper loss in the right of the "O" of "HOUDINI" at top center and in the upper left of the "U" next to it. There was some paper loss scattered in the lower part of the image, with a 1" circular area in the lower part of the lady's skirt and some much smaller areas scattered to the right of that. Small parts of all four blank borders were trimmed off, and there were a few small tears around the edges. Overall, the poster was in good condition prior to linenbacking. The defects are not that severe as the above makes it sound, but I go into such extreme detail because of the value of the poster. Given that it is just under a century old, it has likely survived in pretty nice condition compared to other century old posters. A talented restorer backed the poster many years ago, and it displays really well, and will look wonderful on the new owner's wall. You can see slight signs of the above defects when looking close up, and one could choose to have additional restoration performed (or even to have the poster re-backed), but I would think the vast majority of collectors would be very happy with this poster exactly as it is!
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