On Friday, Pat Croce hopes to make Harry Houdini disappear.
The former Sixers president, through Briggs Auction, is selling off 62 pieces of his collection of magic memorabilia, including a shadow box full of "wrist and ankle shackles" collected by the legendary escape artist (estimated value: $60,000 to $80,000).
But that's only a third of the assorted valuables and curiosities going up for bid on Friday afternoon in Garnet Valley, available because Croce and his wife, Diane, chose to sell their Villanova mansion and move to smaller local digs.
Gallery: Pat Croce's Main Line mansion
Some items are even suitable -- and affordable enough -- for that man cave.
There are opulent decorative objects, including vases, urns, candlesticks, fireplace screens, and a 19th-century French gilt bronze clock and candelabra set valued at $2,500 to $3,000.
There are fancy furnishings, including an assortment of chests, chairs and tables, including a French Empire walnut center table supported by carved winged lions ($6,000 to $8,000).
There are impressive garden statues, including four life-size marble maidens, purchased in Rome, valued at $15,000 to $18,000. There's even a statue of David standing on Goliath's severed head ($4,000 to $6,000).
But don't assume it's all for fans of Houdini or Louis XV.
There are swords, putters with Sixers and Harley Davidson logos, ceramic pirate heads, an original screenplay from Braveheart, a rattlesnake skin cowboy hat, "Pirate Island" signs from two mini golf coures at the Shore, a street sign for "Pat Croce Blvd." and an 1805 Navy-themed gentleman's mannequin, all valued for $50 to $100.
Slide Show: "See treasures Pat Croce plans to auction"
Sorry, sports fans, but physical therapist turned Flyers conditioning coach and Sixers trainer seems to be keeping his pro sports memorabilia, though there is an autographed "76ers Pat Croce" sign ($50 to $100).
Pricier are a cigar store Indian ($600 to $900), a bronze mermaid ($750 to $1,500) and a Chinese bronze weapons rack ($1,500 to $3,000.)
The magic memorabilia also includes European castle locks collected by Houdini, (estimated to be worth $50,000 to $70,000), memorabilia of Houdini’s famed water-torture cell ($3,000 to $5,000) and various show advertisements (one of which might fetch $3,000 or more), including publicized challenges, like one vowing to nail him in a box, wrap it with ropes, then nail the ropes.
And those eye-popping lifesize or large-than-life sculptures of a mermaid, Chinese warriors and David stepping Goliath's head? "I'm the one that bought them. I'm the crazy Italian who loves statues," said Croce in December when he talked about the downsizing.
No, he laughed, despite rumors, "I'm not selling my house to make money for the Pirate Museum."
The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum has been thriving since moving from Key West to St. Augustine, where it's become a favorite for school field trips, he said. He also has a living history museum there called Colonial Quarter, as well as a half a half-dozen taverns in Key West, and a couple of others in St. Augustine.
The asking price for his Main Line mansion hasn't changed: $7.95 million.
The auction is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, at Briggs Auction, in Garnet Valley, Delaware County, with exhibitions continuing noon to 5 p.m. today, noon to 7 p.m. Thursday, and starting at 9 a.m. Friday.
The auction house can accommodate hundreds of visitors, and several thousand registered bidders, who can join in through the Internet or by phone, explained John Turner, president of Briggs Auction.
Croce, who has dabbled in reality TV, is also well known for inspirational best sellers, including his autobiography, I Feel Great and You Will Too.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.