I had the pleasure of appraising an autograph collection of Hollywood stars at a recent appraisal event held at the Sturbridge Senior Center.
The woman who owns it had written to many different stars when she was a young girl.Some of the stars signed slips of paper in return and others sent her photographs with facsimile autographs. She also received signed letters,signed photos and some stars sent her more than one item.
I’ve discussed some of the reasons that people collect things. Many people collect things from a period in their lives that hold specific significance. For example, the woman at the appraisal event loved Hollywood performers and created this great scrapbook full of memories.
There is a collector for every type of movie memorabilia. Some examples are posters, lobby cards, handbills, props, wardrobe,scripts,movie film cells and promotional materials.
There are news reports where old movie posters were found inside homes. They were used as a cheap form of insulation many years ago. Some suffered damage from water,mold and ripping but,even in damaged condition,they may be worth restoring. Last year, 33 posters were sold that had been discovered in an attic in Berwick,Pa.They were from 1931 and in very nice condition. Posters included in the auction were “Dracula”, “Public Enemy” and “Little Caesar”. The 33 posters sold for over a half a million dollars.
Famous actress, singer and dancer, Debbie Reynolds, auctioned her movie memorabilia collection in 2011. A test pair of ruby, red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” brought $510,000, Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot dress from “My Fair lady realized $3.7 million and Marilyn Monroe’s dress from “The Seven Year Itch”sold for $4.6 million.
You are probably wondering what the appraisal was for the scrapbook with the Hollywood stars in Sturbridge. The answer is that the jury is still out.In an earlier autograph column, I mentioned that the best way to tell that an autograph is real is to witness it being signed. Many movie stars, sports and political figures received so many requests that they had others sign autographs in their name.It was often a secretary who produced these and they are referred to as secretarial signatures. There is also a device called an autopen that reproduces someone’s signature.It creates a copy of their signature in ink. I suggested that the owner use an authenticating service to evaluate the signatures.They can offer their opinion whether the autograph is real or not.If the autographs in the scrapbook are all real,it could be worth thousands.A few thousand dollars for some autographs that celebrities mailed a fan for free might leave anyone seeing stars.
Want to learn more about what items in your home might be valuable and bring an item or two from your home to be evaluated? My “Evaluating Your Antiques” class will be held at Bay Path Adult Education in Charlton on Wednesday,Oct.9,from 6 to 8:30 p.m. It is also available through the Worcester Public Schools Adult Education program at Worcester Technical High School on Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 6 to 9p.m.
If you have any questions about antique auctions and estate sales, call Wayne Tuiskula, Auctioneer/Appraiser at 508-612-6111 or email us today.
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