Magician Harry Houdini is the subject of two new noncirculating
legal tender coins from Palau.
The copper-nickel $1 and .925 fine silver $2 coins mark the 85th
anniversary of the magician’s death on Oct. 31, 1926.
Harry Houdini was born in Hungary on March 24, 1874, as Eric Weisz.
Together with his family he immigrated to the United States at the
age of 4. Magic fascinated him even when he was a child. In his youth
he read a book about the life of the French magician Jean Eugène
Robert-Houdin. This work impressed him so much that he decided to earn
his living with magic. From then on, in honor of his idol, he called
himself Harry Houdini.
Until he achieved his first successes, he had to appear in
traveling circuses and smaller shows for several years.
Houdini succeeded his breakthrough when he performed escapology
tricks such as the release from police handcuffs. He enhanced his
performances with spectacular performances such as winding out of
strait jackets and chains, and escaping out of closed underwater
cages. At the age of nearly 40 the magician was one of the best-known
artists in the United States of America.
In the final years of his life he claimed he was able to withstand
every punch to his stomach unscathed by tensioning his muscles. On
Oct. 22, 1926, a student applied a number of punches to Houdini’s
midsection. Apparently Houdini had not enough time to prepare himself
for the blows. The escapologist had already suffered strong abdominal
pains for days before, which thereby became worse. On Oct. 31, 1926,
Houdini died as a result of a burst appendix.
The coins, which were issued by the private firm Coin Invest
Trust, feature the same design, except for the denomination, which is
displayed on the obverse with Palau’s coat of arms.
An image of Houdini appears on the reverse, along with his top
hat, wand and stars, his name and the years of his life.
Both coins measure 22 millimeters in diameter and have an antique
patinated Brilliant Uncirculated finish.
The dollar coin weighs 6.5 grams and has a mintage limit of 5,000
pieces; the $2 coin weighs 7.5 grams and has a mintage limit of 1,926 pieces.
The distributor Coin & Currency Institute has the coins, the
dollar coin for $34.50 and the silver coin $46.75.
Shipping and handling are an additional $5.75 per order. Vermont
residents must add sales tax.
To order, write to the firm at P.O. Box 399, Williston, VT 05495,
or telephone the business toll free at 800-421-1866. Visit online at
direct email for the company to firstname.lastname@example.org. ■