PBS - Back to the 1960s: A Week of Live Discussions with Guests We've Known Ever Since
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'Antiques Roadshow'

Antiques Roadshow
At "Antiques Roadshow" in Omaha, Nebraska, a man owes his 15 minutes of fame to the paper dress he purchased for his wife during the swingin' 60s. (Courtesy of PBS)

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Rudy Franchi
Appraiser
Monday, September 26, 2005; 11:00 AM

Appraiser Rudy Franchi was online Monday, Sept. 26, at 11 a.m. ET to answer your questions about the special edition of "Antiques Roadshow: Tomorrow's Antiques" that celebrates three memorable decades: the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

The episode, which airs on PBS on Monday, Sept. 26, at 8 p.m. ET (check TV Schedule), features such oldies but goodies as a 1955 Dodgers World Series baseball that could hit $4,000 to $6,000; a portfolio of Ansel Adams' photographs that could see $30,000 to $50,000; a paper Campbell's Soup dress valued at a hearty $1,500; and a costume worn by Elvis Presley, appraised to the tune of $15,000 to $100,000.

Born and raised in New York, Franchi has been involved in the movie business since he was 16 years old. He ran a film society while in college at Fordham and then went into New York exhibition as program director of the Bleecker Street Cinema during the early 1960s. He was a film critic for New York Magazine, Variety and Show Magazine when he started his own publication, NY Film Bulletin, credited with introducing the Aauteur Theory of film criticism (via France's New Wave) to the United States. He went on to become director of New York newspaper publicity at 20th Century Fox and in 1969 started the Nostalgia Factory with his wife, Barbara.

The transcript follows.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm sure you'll get several questions similar to mine, but I have to ask anyway: Of all the items brought to an Antiques Roadshow event, how many would you say are the kind of valuable antiques that end up being featured on-air? In other words, what percentage of the overall items at an event end up on-air?

Also, what advice would you give to someone looking to develop a keener eye for valuable antiques? I go to flea markets and yard sales and antique stores, but everything looks the same to me. What resources would you suggest looking into to refine my ability to spot valuable pieces?

Rudy Franchi: The numbers are a bit daunting. An average Roadshow draws close to 6,000 visitors, each with 2 items to be appraised (some sneak in a few more and some have vast collections of such items as postcards.) Of those 12,000 + items, only 53 are chosen to be taped with a full appraisal. This is not to say that some other interesting items came in also. In many cases, we have recently done a similar item or there is some technical reason (the main one being the person bringing the item is not its owner....often it belongs to a friend.) Each appraiser decides which item would be of interest and presents it to a producer who makes the final decision. On a typical taping day, I will present about 3 or 4 items I think worthy of taping and if I am having a good day, will be selected to tape 1 of these. There are 70 appraisers on duty and only 53 spots and while the odds are better than on The Titantic, some appraisers are not going to make it on air that show, even though they have found items they think worthwhile. As for developing a keener eye: keep looking until something strikes you. It is dangerous to make a calculated choice of what to collect. It has to be something that attracts and interests you. True collectors are beyond fascinated with what they collect, they are obsessed.

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Kaneohe, Hi: I recently purchased a framed sketch, done on newsprint with a black felt tip pen. I recognized Yoko Onos signature and above hers, John Lennon May l969. The inscription says "We the undersignees hereby name this room ole peace bag." A male and female head are sketched. I'm guessing, this sketch was done in Montreal during their bed in for peace. Do you have any information or idea what the sketch is worth?

Rudy Franchi: Sounds like it is part of the Bag One series and indeed they were don in Montreal. I would suggest contacting one of the larger auction houses since this is the type of item that does very well in major Beatle sales.

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Vienna, Va.: I was fortunate to go to Antiques Roadshow in Providence with my sister, where by far, we had the most fun by far meeting you and all of your cohorts at the Toy Table (I had an autographed Rubik Cube).

We couldn't help but notice that even with our late entry tickets, there seemed to be a competition, especially among newer appraisers, to identify more valuable antiques that could "score" air time. We wondered why that didn't seem to be true at your table? It was quite delightful--you are all just as delightful and amusing as you appear on TV!

Rudy Franchi: Well, I wasn't at the toy table. Collectibles ( the table next to it ) is my field. They are usually a very relaxed group at toys since they have a fairly good idea of the type of items they will see show in, show out. At collectibles, we know we will get certain items we have seen before, but since we are a sort of catch-all category for those giving out the appraiser designations up front, there are some very strange items that show up. We have to keep our energy levels up since we never know when some great treasure will come through. At our last show of the current season, Los Angeles, a woman came in with an actual Oscar and tons of Academy Award emphera from her father who had been associated with the Academy. We caught the last taping spot available.

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Philadelphia, Pa.: I have come across a 1955 RCA television with cabinet the model is 17T172, it is in excellent condition.

I would like to know the worth of this piece?

Thank you

Rudy Franchi: Mid50s is getting a bit late for valuable Tvs. Late 40 through early 50s are the golden age. In good condition, your set should fetch about #300 to $400.

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Maryland: Is there anything made today that's even worth collecting, what with cheaply made, mostly imported trinkets?

Rudy Franchi: There are many things being made today that are worth collecting, but I have no idea what they are. I've been at this for 37 years and 20 years ago I should have been putting away Pez Dispensers. 30 years ago I could have accumulated a fortune in lunchboxes for a penny on the dollar of current value. I could also have saved many other things that are totally valueless today. Trying to predict what to collect is what the British call a mug's game.

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Wheaton, Md.: I remember a show where you found some movie posters that were used as wall boards. I was surprised that they didn't do terribly well at auction.

Rudy Franchi: Problem is, they weren't true movie posters. They were examples of lobby art: paintings done by a local craftsman to decorate the interior of a movie theatre's entrance. Movie poster collectors are purists and are interested only in studio issued, theatrical release film paper. They might collect a bit of the ancillary material, but they will not pay top dollar for it.

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Lima, Ohio: Would like to know if the Road Show will be in this area, and if so when? Lima is about half way between Dayton and Toledo. Thank you

Rudy Franchi: The appraisers on the show don't find out the schedule until it is published, usually in April. We are sent a sheet with the dates of the shows and asked which ones we which to participate in. We do a lot of shows in the mid-west, so chances are there will be one within driving distance of your area. We do have people who drive huge distances to come to show and some even fly across the country.

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San Francisco, Calif.: In the 1960's, I purchased a Peter Max Silk Scarf. Size: 26x26 inches. It depicts the Astrological Signs with a multi vibrant psychedelic color scheme. In very good condition. What would the scarf be worth today?

Many Thanks

Rudy Franchi: Now here's an example of pop junk that has become valuable. Why did you buy only one? You could have found the wholesale and bought a gross. But of course, like myself, it never occurred to you that these would have any value. Well the scarf is now worth about $200.00.

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Louisville, Ky.: Out of 12,000 items, obviously, some are going to be junk. How hard is it to tell someone that grandma's antique heirloom is just a worthless knicknack?

Rudy Franchi: You develop a set of responses to what you see. Actually, most people know that something is worthless and are not really upset when you tell them it has only sentimental value. Many people really aren't interested in the value of item. They are more curious about its age and its origins.

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Klamath falls, Ore.: I have a 1935 price list of chassis parts august 15 1936-37 lincoln-zephyer in very good condition. Also have ford service bulletin mechanical vol. 18 august 1937 book. Do you think they might be worth something?? or can I just throw them away?

Rudy Franchi: This kind of automotive ephemera is quite popular, but not tremendously valuable. It could be sold at an on-line auction, but these items would fetch under $15 each.

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LA: Can you tell me how much an unopened copy of the comic book of The Death of Superman would be worth?

Rudy Franchi: Comic book values are determined by a book called Overstreet's. They set the values and it is quite like referring to stock tables in your daily newspapers. I would consult an Overstreets at your local library. Condition is the major factor to watch out for.

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Fairfax, Va.: The Roadshow has appointment TV in our house for years, but we are also quite addicted to the UK (original) version of Cash in the Attic. It is fascinating to see the reactions to the things that they have used so casually (and are major finds with corresponding values) or the other side, things that they think are treasures, but are fakes.

What has been most favorite item that you have appraised? Where you almost jumped out of your skin the minute that you saw it?

Rudy Franchi: There's now a U.S. version of Cash In The Attic, hosted by Tim Luke who was a long time appraiser on the U.S. Roadshow. I guess the piece I got most excited about was the menu from The Titanic. It was on the back of a rather bad painting of the ship and as a long time Titanic collector I recognized it as an original (of an item that had been often reproduced.) I estimated its worth at $70,000 to $100,000 and it sold at auction for $75,000.

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Anonymous: What should I do with my records from the 60s and 70s, hold or sell?

Rudy Franchi: Almost all records from this period have very little value, but like old books, they should not be tossed without seeing what you have. There are several good price guides to old records and it might be worthwhile to go over the collection with once of these at hand.

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Chevy Chase, Washington, D.C.: My wife and I always wonder if any of the dealers make offers to people at the road show to purchase items. Or is this sort of exchange prohibited?

Rudy Franchi: We are strictly forbidden to make any offers for items we see. We are allowed to keep our business cards at a desk next to the exit from the show. If we are contacted, we cannot see anyone in the city where the show was taped and cannot talk business with them until after we leave that city. Any infraction of these rules leads to dismissal from the show.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Love the show. I have a set of Looney Tunes glasses from Burger King in the early 70s. Should I have bought more or do I just enjoy drinking from Petunia Pig?

Rudy Franchi: Glasses from the major fast food chains were produced in the millions and for some reason seem to be indestructible since so many of them show up. They have not moved in value over the years (a few dollars apiece) except for complete sets, which are worth about double.

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Maryland: How much time do you spend perusing that giant online auction site for valuables?

Rudy Franchi: I have certain key words listed and every time one of them is used in a title or description, I receive an email. Anyone can sign up for this service and it is quite useful. The keywords are related to areas I collect (London Transport Posters, ephemera about 60s psychedelic posters) and not material I deal in.

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Washington, D.C.: My grandfather passed down his coin collection to my brothers and me. How do we go about finding a reputable appraiser for these coins? We truly have no idea what they are worth. They are all U.S. coins if that makes a difference.

Thanks!

Rudy Franchi: Roadshow doesn't evaluate coins or stamps. I suggest you contact Heritage Galleries in Dallas. They are major coin dealers. I represent Heritage on Roadshow since they have an active collectibles department with major movie posters sales

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Maryland: Now that vinyl records are mostly obsolete, can CDs become collectible even if they may not be as archival as records?

Rudy Franchi: Again, I wouldn't try and second guess the collectibles market. A technology might well develop that makes CDs obsolete. Collectors love things that are obsolete.

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Dunn Loring, Va.: Hi there -- I am often curious to know how much items featured on the Roadshow later sell for at auction (it's pretty easy to tell who will sell and who would be horrified at the very suggestion!). Is there any online resource that tracks this information? I'm especially curious, of course, about that famous blue-and-white striped blanket (with the shaky Kit Carson provenance) that appeared a few years ago!

Rudy Franchi: The new spin-off show Roadshow FYI does a lot of follow ups on items that have gone on to be sold. If you are curious about a particular item, I suggest you contact the appraiser who valued it. They usually know what happened. All the appraisers are listed, with their contact information, at the Antiques Roadshow Web site.

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Hereford, Tex.: I have a picture of JFK and Jackie when they were married. My aunt bought it about 35 years ago. I found it after she died. She also has one of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King about the same time. Is it worth anything? It was one of those picture that came in metal frame with a light in it. Is this worth anything? The picture are all in the metal frames with the light in them. They are about 16" long by 12"wide.

Rudy Franchi: This type of memorabiia was sold in great quantities and has little value now. It is hard to imagine it acquiring much value in the future.

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Ashburn, Va.: I inherited a collectible Princess Diana doll; scaled to size, in her wedding gown. I have been looking to have it professionally cleaned as there is a spot on her dress as well as inquire on proper storage. Under what professional category would I look to find such services and information.

As of now, it is being displayed on a bookcase (open to dust, but way from any direct light source).

Rudy Franchi: Look for a doll hospital. They are usually listed in the phone book or try online.

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Maryland : Does your wife complain about filling the house with collectibles or does she share your enthusiasm? Does your collection fill every room?

Rudy Franchi: My wife is more of a collector than I am. It is the only way we have survived. Most collectors (and most of them are male) have to make elaborate deals with their spouses about adding to their collection. "Let me buy this Green Marvel #10 and you can have that whatever you always wanted" type of bargains. Seldom, as with Barbara and myself, you find a couple who are both avid colledtors. We both share an enthusiasim for London Underground Posters from the 20s and 30s and because we both focus with some ferocity on acquiring them, we have a collection that, we've been told, might be the best in private hands.

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Madison, Wis.: I have a poster question for you:

Do you have any suggestions on places (on-line, or catalogs or especially well-known stores) to find 60s-era posters for events like the Olympics, Grand Prix races, etc.? I love the design sensibilities from this decade and would love to get one for one of my boys. My keyword searches on the internet haven't turned up much.

Rudy Franchi: Try Swann Galleries, New York and Christie's London (South Ken). They both have regular auctions that feature this material.

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Washington, D.C.: Does being a famous face on the Roadshow help your own business?

Rudy Franchi: Roadshow appraisers are the like the Hawaian missionaries: we went to do good and we did very well. All those associated with Roadshow have had their careers and businesses boosted by appearing on TV. Barbara and I received a lucrative book contract and wrote Miller's Movie Collectibles. I also do public speaking and I have been hired to do appraisals of several major private and public collections. Now if I could only find a way to sell the 150+ cartoon character ties I've accumulated over the years.

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Ashburn, Va.: I have a doll given to me by my great grandmother. I've been trying to determine the name of this doll, any suggestions. I've done several internet searches without success.

Rudy Franchi: We don't do dolls at the colletibles table. Contact Roadshow appraiser Richard Wright.

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Kensington, Md.: I recently donated an Ed Wormley Drexel Precedent collection dining room table and chairs, china cabinet and buffet. (Bought it on E-Bay but it was too big for our dining room!) The chairs had their original upholstery and I'd say, with the exception of one out of six chairs, were in excellent condition.

What would the approximate value of this set be? I'm trying to figure out how to value it for tax purposes. Also, do you know of good sources for the value of mid-century modern furniture? I have several other pieces I need to research. Thanks!

Rudy Franchi: Furniture is not my area of expertise. If you go to the Roadshow website, the cross reference appraisers by category. I'm sure one of them can help you. As for modern design: it is an area experienceing a boom, but there is a paucity of expertise. The major auction houses each have experts you might wish to consult.

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Tallahassee, Fla.: Thanks for taking my question. Being from Florida, I've collected a lot of 2000 election items. Do you see these thing being collectable in the future or is it an era people would like to forget!

Rudy Franchi: They are certainly collectible, but as with all recent material, will take several decades to increase in value.

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Wheaton, Md.: Do those of us with huge mounds of old Life magazines or Nat'l Geographics have any hope for wealth?

Rudy Franchi: Before on line auctions, Life magazines had some value, but little did we know that there were milliions of them out there. They have plummeted in value because of the immense amount dumped on the market. Nationa Geographics never had much value since so many people kept them. The very ealry issues (c1910) are more collectible.

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Washington, D.C.: What do you think of the Franklin Mint type "collectibles" that are specifically sold as collectibles? Do items like that ever appreciate?

Rudy Franchi: Very seldom. A limited edition collectible is usually only limited by the number of people who want to buy it. We see a lot of Franklin mint stuff and have to let people down gently as to its value. Back in the 80s when gold and silver was booming, some of the FM materail sold at a premium because they were made from precious metals.

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Washington, D.C.: Are baby boomers more nostagic than anyone else?

Rudy Franchi: Each generation is nostalgic about its past. Baby Boomers seem to be the victim of nostalgic merchandising ... inundated with phony diners, phony juke boxes and other faux artifacts from the 50s.

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Washington, D.C.: Do all the appraisers get along with each other?

Rudy Franchi: Mostly. It's interesting to see the appraisers from the major auction houses at the show. During the week these people are at each others' throats trying to get top consignment and come Saturday we are told by the producers to get along with each other. Well we do and we work very closely consulting with each other on values and the background of items. The competition to get on air is very stiff, but I've never run into a situation where information was witheld to stifle this competition. Actually, at most tables, there is agreement among the appraisers that every attempt should be made through cooperation for all of them get on air during a show.

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Alexandria, Va.: I have looked for years for a poster of the S.S. France, a ship I voyaged on twice in 1970 and 1971, but have never found one. Do you know if one exists?

Rudy Franchi: There are several excellent posters of the S.S. France. I had one (by Bob Peak) in a an auction of Vintage posters I ran for Heritage last year. I see it pop up in on line auctions about every six months. I was aboard the France and it was wonderful ship.

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Washington, D.C.: How does one sell items stolen from museums and the like? Are there collectors who don't mind buying stolen or looted goods?

Rudy Franchi: Yes, there is an active underground market for stolen items. Actually, many items are stolen from museums on order. A collector will desire a particular piece and let be known he is willing to pay x$ for it. Such items disappear from public view and stay with the collector and in many cases with his family for many years. They sometimes surface, but are hard to sell because there is no clean provenance.

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Washington, D.C.: There were several shows where items appeared to have come from public records or a public archive. How much do you guys worry about ownership of such items?

Rudy Franchi: We are not concerned with ownership. We only give a verbal appraisal, If the item is chosen to go on air, the producer closely questions the person with the item as to its ownership. I keep a list with me of better known stolen items in my field, but have yet to find one at Roadshow. I guess I'd call over our head of security if one showed up.

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: Hi there!

About fifteen years ago, a friend of mine brought back an Orthodox hand cross that was clearly gold plated at one time. In the middle of the handcross is an oil painting of the crucified Christ of oil on canvas and this figure is held in place by what looks to be a brass cross frame. There are four medallions of Gospel scenes on the four arms of the cross.

I was told by a well-known Russian iconographer that this cross is probably from the 17th Century and, since it came from Sarajevo before the war and the gold leaf was scratched off, it was probably at one time very well used. The varnish over the painting was so dark that I took it to a restoration expert and had the varnish refreshed. The painting is actually quite vivid, with the loincloth a bright white...

Do you see these sorts of icons very often? How do I actually get information about this specific piece?

Thanks!

Rudy Franchi: Icons are sent to he jewlery table where Burge Zavaian looks at them You might contact him via the Roadshow website.

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Columbia, Md.: Does it make your day when you bring a person to tears after they find out they have a valuable antique?

Rudy Franchi: Finding a great item makes my day. Our guest's reaction is sometimes surprising, but I am so focused on the piece we are evaluating, I often miss it altogether.

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Chevy Chase, Md.: My family has a large collection of political memoriabilia as my grandfather was very involved in the labor movement during the 60s-we have everything from signed photos to letters from presidents, senators, congressmen and everything in between. I was wondering if you know of any resources for getting this appraised. Thanks!

Rudy Franchi: The leading dealer in political memorabilia is Ted Hake. I don't know if he does private appriasals, but I'm sure he would be able to recommend someone.

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Herndon, Va.: Hi Rudy:

Thanks for the chat -- I love the show!

I used to part time at a coin store and I well remember how unpleasant it was to tell someone that their 1957 $1 silver certificate was worth a $1.50 when they were absolutely CONVINCED it was worth hundreds if not thousands. I wouild imagine at the Roadshow, you get this a heck of a lot more than I ever would have. How do you all handle that there if the person does not take it well? If there's any one thing you would like to never see another one on the Roadshow, what would it be?

Rudy Franchi: About once a show someone gets upset with my evaluation. We do not allow appraisal shopping (i.e. going to other appraisers to get another opinion), but if the person is truly obnoxious, I will bring in one of the other people at the table and ask them to evaluate the item. 99% of the time they are within 10% of my price.

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Washington, D.C.: What are the more common items that people think are valuable but are really mostly worthless?

Rudy Franchi: Hummels. Hundreds upon hundreds of the ugly little statues are brought into Roadshow every week. There are millions of them out there and I'm convinced that during the week these gnomic creatures reproduce in great number since there are hundreds more at the next Saturday taping. There are only a handfuol of Hummels that are worth more than $50 and the chances of finding one of those are on a par with there one day being a Rex Reed Junior.

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Pacolet, S.C.: How do I get a value on a hunting badge with license 1937-38 south carolina?

Rudy Franchi: Try $80 to $100.

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Maryland: How much American nostalgia is hidden overseas? Is it possible to make a find outside this country?

Rudy Franchi: Yes. Some of the best itmes i've handled over the years have been found aborad. The U.K. is a major source of great U.S. stuff, especially from the 40s. Some of the great find of U.S. Beatles material have been found in Liverpool for example. The city was headquarters for

Cunard lines and the crew members, back in the 60s, would bring back all kinds of Beatle items (records, collectibles, etc.) from the States to sell in the Beatles hometown. I've made a few good finds in italy, but France has not been as fruitful.

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Redding, Calif.: Hi Mr. Franchi, Will you Please give me some advice? My wife found a drawing that we think is of great importance and may very well be an original charcoal and pastel by Galle'n Kallela signed before he changed his name. Dated 1907 with his initials GK. titled Rocks in Snow. There is more writing on the front and on the back of the picture. Mr. Galle'n's name and something else, That we cannot make out is written on the front. Please advise should you like to see an image. We have searched everywhere looking for a value or some information and can find nothing. Thanks

Rudy Franchi: Let me refer you Coleen Fesko at Skinner Auctions in Boston. She is a Roadshow appraiser with expertise in this area. Check the appraiser pages on the Roadshow web site.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Is there more competition for good stuff at auctions or estate sales since Antiques Roadshow went on the air?

Rudy Franchi: Roadshow has definetly had an effect on the market. Mostly, it has brought out of hiding many items we thought were in limited supply. A major exampe of this is animation cels. When I first doing Roadshow during the first season 10 years ago, I saw a stream of major animatioin matererial from the Disney Golden Age (Snow White, Fantasia, Bambi, Dumbo) and was amazed since material of this quality was only showing up at major auctions. Over the years more and more cels have shown up, driving down the prices of top animation items dramatically. This has happened in other areas of collecting. But as with all collectibles and antiques, the very top rated items have gone up in value, as with a fantastic cel I found last season showing all 7 dwarfs from Snow White.

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Maryland: Are your appraisal prices based purely on experience or do you access books and computer data bases?

Rudy Franchi: 90% of the values I place on items is based on experience. For the rest, I consult a few online databases and at Roadshow, other appraisers.

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Wheaton, Md.: Do you ever see a valuable item and try to convince the person that it should be put in a museum?

Rudy Franchi: I have suggested that with some very valuable and/or fragile pieces. Many of the people who bring things to Roadshow would never part with them. They are often family treasures. But i do ask them what will happen when they are no longer around to take care of them. I always advise people to place information on or near a piece since I have many times gone to buy material from a private source and found items that the heirs knew little about.

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Olney, Md.: Would a person do better selling at an auction or or a site like Ebay?

Rudy Franchi: It depends on the item. High end items (over $2000) should go to auction. Lower priced items are better on eBay.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Is there value in 1940-50 Girl Scout memorabilia?

Rudy Franchi: That's a bit late for Scout material. Values really haven't escalated much for items from that period.

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Sticky question: I have a late relative who I think stole some very valuable items from a corporate employer in the 1920s. I don't know where he worked or if he actually stole them. I'd like to sell them, but worry about the ethics involved. I'd return the items if I knew who they belonged to or if he actually stole them (old tiffany vases, a tiffany lamp, rookwood pottery, and a bronze sculpture)

Rudy Franchi: If you don't know where they belong, it is rather difficult to return them. Sell them and give a chunk of the money to charity.

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More on stolen items: I've been wondering the point of stealing something well-known like "The Scream." Was it a weird political statement or do you think someone might have actually wanted it? It's not like you can hang it up over your fireplace and tell people it's not a reproduction!

Rudy Franchi: There are many works of art stole to order and kept in private collections.

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Washington, D.C.: My husband has many original silkscreen posters for rock concerts from the late 60s/early 70s in the Bay Area. He used thumb tacks in the corners to display them as a student. Do they retain any value after such treatment?

Rudy Franchi: Tack holes are not a major problem with rock posters. The major problem is that there are so many of them out there. This is another area that has been subject to what I call The Roadshow Effect. As soon as we put a high value on something, tons of them come flying out of every closet and attic in America. The value of 60s rock posters have fallen dramatically beause of this.

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Steubenville, Ohio: I have an Edison Phonograph, circa 1903-1906 with the huge morningglory horn, the player is like and oak "lunchbox." It plays wax cylinder records. Any idea of the value, it is in great shape, the only thing not factory is the rod which holds up the horn, (the bracket it fits in is original). My late father collected antique phonographs, this was the only one I could confiscate.

Rudy Franchi: Sounds like a great item. We see several a show and they are usually valued in teh $2000 to $3000 range (if in excellent conditon.)

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Maryland: I have some old bottles that my brother and I dug up in various New England locales. I doubt there's anything really valuable but I'd like someone to check before I dump them. Who can you recommend in the DC area?

Rudy Franchi: I don't know a specific appraiser in your area for old bottle, but there are several excellent illustrated price guides that your library should have.

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St, Petersburg, Fla.: I used to live in Tokyo and picked up a bundle of original Japanese movie posters for the local release of western movies. Some are for major releases, such as Jurassic Park and Dirty Harry 2. Others are for lesser films. They meet your "studio issued, theatrical release film paper" standard from an earlier answer. Do they have value? If so, how would I market them?

Rudy Franchi: There is an intense iinterest in original Japanese movie paper. These would do very well in an on line auction.

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Alexandria, Va.: My family still uses NOMA Christmas tree lights which date back to my father's boyhood in the early 1930's. We still have the original boxes, although the boxes themselves are in so-so shape.

Do they have more than sentimental value?

Rudy Franchi: Highly collectible, especially with original boxes. They sell for about $150. a set.

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Mclean, Va.: Does every item from all of the hundreds of people who visit the Roadshow get an appraisel?

How do very large pieces of furniture get to the site?

Do any mishaps occur, such as a person dropping an heirloom and destroying it?

Rudy Franchi: We will do 2 items per person. If they bring in a "collection" -- like a book of postcards, I'll take a quick run through the book with them, pointing out more valuable cards. But we get people who bring in entire wagons of material. This season I had a person bring in several thousand pieces of sheet music. I gave the value for about 20 pieces and tried to tell them what to look for and refered them to a price guide. Most of the funiture is pre-selected. For several months before a show the local PBS outlet in the city we are going to visit solicits people to send in photos of furniture they think might be of interest. A committee of Roadshow appraiser (who will not be evaluating furniture at the show in question) select some items and they are brought to the show. Only about 1/2 of them actuall appear on air. Every show we hear a crash, but we are really too busy to follow up on it; I've never had any major breakage at the collectibles table.

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Mendenhall, Ms: Rudy, I have a Decker Brothers piano patent date is july 18, 1885. I am interested in finding out the value of this piano if you know that information. It is in excellent condition. Thanks.

Rudy Franchi: Not my field. There are several excellent appraisers of musical instruements on Roadshow. Check the website.

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Olney, Md.: Have you come across any of the "Holy Grail" items in your area of interest?

Rudy Franchi: The only one that would fall into the that category is the Spear Enlist WWI poster I found in Indianapolis a few seasons back. It is the rarest of WWI posters and one i've been hoping to see for years. The other posters I would love to find on air are the most valuable movie poster (The Mummy $450,000) and the raresest (the U..S. release version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis from 1926, which I feel would fetch 1 million $, if it ever came up for sale.)

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Silver Spring, Md.: Is there any interest in Buddy L? We found an old green one when we cleaning out family house. It is the kind a kid would sit on and ride around. It is dirty but in decent shape.

Rudy Franchi: Lots of collectors for this. I suggest you contact Noel Barrett. You can reach him via the Roadshow website.

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Columbia, Md.: Are Chinese artifacts from around 1900 worth anything? I have a carved apricot pit made into a little boat with working doors on the side and a story on the bottom. I also have a carved ivory Buddha, about 1 inch high, with a crack on his head so it can't be really used as a Buddha. And various assorted bamboo people doing things, like carrying a wheelbarrow or a coffin, all about 2 inches long.

Rudy Franchi: These items were mass produced for export and have relatively little value.

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Washington, D.C.: I have a ticket to Clinton's last State of the Union address? Does this have any value?

Rudy Franchi: This item falls into the category of things everyone keeps. Most things associated with a famous event take quite a while to increase in value because people tend to hang on to them.

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Charleston, S.C.: I have three wooden Joannes Adler flutes they are wooden and we found them in a trunk my grandfather brought back from Germany right after WWII. Where can I find information on these flutes?

Rudy Franchi: I would refer you to one of our musical isntruement appraisers on the Roadshow website.

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Arlington, Va.: I have a couple of colorful tin drinking cups that at least slightly pre-date my childhood in the 1950's. They may have been something one got as a bonus in a detergent box. Could you fill in my knowledge gap here?

Rudy Franchi: They sound more like 30s five and dime wear. They sell for about $10 apiece.

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washingtonpost.com: Antiques Roadshow

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Oakboro, N.C.: I have a pair of earrings purchased from a flea market. They are marked sterling silver, pierced with a wire. They are signed Koons and look aztec with a face of straight eyes, nose, and mouth. I was wondering who Koons is, and if these earrings are of value. Thank You.

Rudy Franchi: Such "art jewlery" is quite sought after. Consult one of the jewlery appraisers on the Roadshow website.

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Alexandria, Va.: Is there a big demand for Charles Lindbergh memorabilia?

Rudy Franchi: Yes, Lindbergh items are quite sought after. But be aware that a huge number of items were produced and we see quite a few of them on Roadshow. The material that has real value are those closely associated with the actual flight.

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Rudy Franchi: This session seems to be finished. I had a great time and there were some quite good questions. Might I suggest you build spell check into this program? Tough to type fast and be accurate. Goodnight and Good Luck!

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