We’ve reached the top 3 items in our top 10 list of antiques and collectibles. Historical memorabilia is today’s topic.
This is a broad area and can include political and presidential memorabilia, items from historical events in sports and entertainment, war memorabilia, world’s fairs, circuses along with other notable events from our country’s past and from throughout the world. With New England being so rich in history, there are also a wealth of local historical items and many collectors.
There is strong demand for important historical memorabilia from around the world. Bloomberg reported that a copy of the Magna Carta sold for $21.3 million in 2007. However, in this column we’ll focus on American history and Americana. Webster defines Americana as materials concerning or characteristic of America, its civilization, or its culture.
Historical memorabilia comes in a variety of forms. What is arguably the most important United States document became one of the greatest all time flea market finds. One of only 24 copies of the Declaration of Independence was found behind a torn painting at a Pennsylvania flea market. It was purchased for $4 because the buyer liked the frame. After uncovering the Declaration of Independence, it sold for $2.4 million at auction.
Presidential materials are highly collectible. Signed George Washington letters can sell in the $10,000’s or even higher depending on the content. The more historical significance, the higher the value will be to collectors.
War related memorabilia can also command strong prices. In particular, Civil War and World War II related materials are selling very well. Civil War weapons, uniforms, photographs, documents, flags and banners, diaries and letters are all very desirable. World War II items are also drawing high bids at auction. German weapons and other war trophies captured by U.S. soldiers are coveted by collectors.
There are buyers for memorabilia from all important historical events and much of everyday life of the past. Advertising signs and old stock from stores, gas stations and other businesses that closed many years ago are great finds. An old, weathered gas station structure still brought over $4,000 when we sold it at auction. A jacket that was worn by Admiral Byrd on one of his expeditions reached nearly $4,000. We sold Teddy Roosevelt letters from when he was a student at Harvard University for over $4,500.
Our last auction on August 27th contained a number of historical items. One example was a medicine chest from the S.S. Rita for over $900. The ship was captured during the Spanish American War and converted into a troop ship. A Benjamin Harrison campaign hat realized $265.
I hope to meet many of you who read this column in the Blackstone Valley Tribune at our next appraisal event. It will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday, September 10th at the Douglas Senior Center, 331 Main St. Goddard Homestead has invited me back to lecture on different areas of antiques. The Monday seminars will take place at 11:00 at 1199 Main St. in Worcester on September 14th and October 12th. New sales will be added soon. Keep watching www.centralmassauctions.com. Better yet, join our email list or follow us on social media.
Contact us at: Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique Auctions, Estate Sales and Appraisal Services www.centralmassauctions.com (508-612- 6111), email@example.com