Television shows about antiques, auctions and collectibles are all the rage lately. Now there is a new, weekly radio program about a wide range of collectibles which has been launched by Barry Suppler, President of Stuppler & Company in Woodland Hills, California and the Immediate Past President of the American Numismatic Association. The one-hour program, "What's It Really Worth?," is broadcast each Saturday at 9 p.m. Pacific time on one of the top-rated Los Angeles radio stations, TalkRadio 790 KABC-AM, and is available around the world online at www.KABC.com.
"The show is designed to be both entertaining and informative. We'll be covering virtually all areas of the collecting world ranging from art, baseball cards and sports memorabilia, rare books and historical documents, comic books, jewelry items, rare coins and gold bullion," said Stuppler.
"I'll be interviewing experts in various collectibles areas, looking at issues such as storage and insurance, the best ways to buy, sell or trade, and tax issues related to collectibles. The listeners can call in live or email their questions and digital pictures to become better educated about collectibles and their values," he added.
The first show was broadcast on January 22, 2011, and Stuppler awarded a one-gram .9999 gold Credit Suisse ingot to the winner of "the Gold Trivia Question."
It's been 27 years since the fateful day when Michael Jackson was burned while filming a Pepsi commercial. On January 27, 1984, Michael and other members of the Jacksons were filming a commercial for Pepsi at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles when, during a concert scene, explosive pyrotechnics accidentally set Jackson's hair on fire (video is after the jump). Jackson suffered serious burns to his scalp and he never fully recovered from this injury. It is said to have led to his addiction to painkillers. Jackson received a $1.5 million settlement which he donated to the Brotman Medical Center which had treated him after his injury.
A Small Piece of History is selling hair from this sad moment. Executive producer for the Pepsi commercial, Ralph Cohen, was among the first to reach Jackson when his head was burning and he threw his jacket over Jackson's head to help extinguish the flames. The lots feature hair that measures just 1/16 of an inch and is on a display card. There are limited, multiple lots available and purchasers can request lengths to suit. Lots sell for £149.99.
Michael Jackson collectibles have risen greatly in value since his death. Last year, a sequined glove worn during the Victory Tour sold for $160,000.
Forget about wine (just for a second): this season's gift to have and to hold onto is cognac. With its stately maturity and supple, refined flavors, a well-chosen bottle of cognac doesn't just reward your giftee for 2010, its an investment in their imbibing future. If your bottle remains unopened next year it's not because they didn't approve, it's because they deem it an heirloom.
World War I was in its first year when this Grande Champagne cognac began its long journey. Scoring a perfect 100 in France's Gilbert & Gaillard 2010 wine guide, the 1914 vintage ($1,500) is exceptionally developed with yeasty, dark fruit flavors and plenty of woody sweetness. For the rare book collector on your list.
Ever heard of petroliana? That's the word given to antiques related to gas and oil. This category includes gas pumps, oil cans, gas advertisements and more. The petroliana collection of a Texas oilman is being auctioned off on September 11 by Great Gatsby's. The collection is full of old advertisements, vintage pumps and other items. The oilman focused on brands that are no longer around like Frontier, Polly, Gilmore and Magnolia. The sale features around three dozen gasoline pumps including older "visible" models that show the gasoline in a cylinder before it went into the tank so that the customer would be assured of the amount and quality of the gas before it went into the car. The vintage American gas pump shown above is by Gilbert & Barker Manufacturing Company, Springfield, Mass., Model 176 and has the original blue glass gas cylinder, the Lion Oil Company brand logo, and a Lion brand globe. This type was in use in the 1920s and 1930s and is estimated to sell for $3,000 to $6,000.
The oilman's collection also includes everything from antique western saddles to a vintage stock ticker. And as might befit any Texan oilman, there are plenty of wild animal mounts including a wild boar and a South African black buck antelope. Online bidding is being handled through LiveAuctioneers.com. An article on Live Auctioneers says that the consignor of these pieces had two buildings constructed to contain the entire collection. There are a total of 525 lots.
The new owner of late reclusive author J.D. Salinger's compound in Cornish, New Hampshire is apparently selling off some of the house's fixtures with an eye towards cashing on on his literary reputation. The Vault of Forsythe, Inc., a collectibles dealer based in North Carolina, is handling the items and has just listed the toilet from Salinger's home on eBay with a "buy it now" price of $1 million, though other offers are being accepted and five have apparently already been made. This could well be a hoax aimed at those who are overly worshipful of the Catcher in the Rye author, but as the vendor seems legit we doubt it. We won't speculate on the process of authentication however. The full listing for the curious commode reads as follows:
These days most tobacco storage devices are fairly quotidian (except for some beautiful expensive humidors) but it wasn't always that way. After returning to the New World, the early European explorers carried tobacco with them. The practice of smoking took off like wildfire. Within fifty years, cultivation and use of the plant had spread from Continental Europe to Asia and Africa and containers for storage also developed quickly. Soon figural tobacco jars in the shapes of animals and people were very popular. At Bonhams & Butterfields Los Angeles, the August 22, 2010 Sunset Estate Auction will include part III of a single-owner Collection of Whimsical European Tobacco Jars. The sale will highlight several lots of unique glazed earthenware and wooden humidors as well as property from a variety of estates and private collections. The lot shown above features eight Continental earthenware tobacco jars of dogs in a variety of shapes. The tallest is 13 3/4 inches and the estimate is $600-$800, not the priciest of collectibles but ones that still have their charm and offer a look at life as it was long ago.
Swann Galleries has announced that its average annual summer auction of Vintage Posters will be held on August 4 in New York City. The auction offers fine selections of summer resort and beach posters, World War I and II and other propaganda posters and Mather Work Incentive posters. There are also posters advertising tourism to Bermuda, ocean liner and airline posters, Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company posters and some lovely Art Deco works.
Most of the works are estimated to sell for several hundred to a few thousand dollars making them an affordable way to invest in artwork. The posters are also an interesting anthropological study giving clues into the concerns and delights of past generations. The Mather Work posters Incentive were created in Chicago in the late 1920s to boost employee productivity and safety. Some of the summer resort images featuring idyllic seaside scenes would be great artwork for a beach house or a summer home. The posters will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries starting July 30 and an illustrated auction catalogue is available for $35. Shown at right is N.C. Wyeth's work for the Pennsylvania Rail Road, circa 1929. It is estimated to sell for $1,500-2,000.
Baseball is still America's pastime and baseball memorabilia remains popular but one collector has amassed what has to be one of the most incredible collections gathered by a single person. The Jason Savas Baseball & Football Memorabilia Collection is practically a museum on its own. The collection took over 45 years to put together and includes thousands of objects dating from the 1860s to the present. The most expensive items have been auctioned already. These included tobacco tins and cigar boxes that fetched $10,000 to $20,000 each. There is still much more to choose, lighters, cigarette packs, replica gloves, swizzle sticks, baseballs, key chains, bobbleheads and photographs that depict generations of players and tell the history of the sport.
A special section of over 500 items tells the story of the effect of Babe Ruth on the nation. It's one thing to know that Ruth had a great impact on the game but quite another to stare at shelves stuffed with full-cheeked depictions of the legendary Yankee. Too big for shelves, there are 37 coin-operated sports-themed penny arcade games and gum ball dispensers that harken back to a more innocent time. A muto-scope offers a staccato look at the long-ago players in motion.
"Unlike my baseball card collection which was neatly organized and tucked away in shoe boxes in the closet, I was able to display my stadium concessions on shelves," says Savas. "What started as a hobby evolved into a passion over the next 45 years. Over the subsequent years, the sports memorabilia hobby has seen an immense increase in interest in displayable collectible items. Collectors all across the country have found that these display type items can be enjoyed on a full-time basis as they decorate their basements, offices, and dens."
Winston Churchill was rarely seen without a cigar, and his trips to Malta were no exception. So, it's unsurprising that the tiny nation's history is littered with the stubs of Britain's war-time leader. Just recently, one of them was discovered, attached to the glass frame of a photo of the prime minister.
The cigar was found by Wigi Ebejer, grandson of Gabriel Ebejer, secretary of what is now the San Gabriel Band Club. During WWII, he worked for the Demolition and Clearance Department, which cleaned up around the Clock Tower in Vittoriosa shortly after the war's end. He received the cigar stub from a man remembered as Mr. Nappa, who worked as a cook at the Governor's Palace. Nappa received it from Gabriel Debono, a messenger with business for Churchill. Debono used the smoked cigar as proof of his legitimacy.
We've noticed a little something on this site. Whenever we write about a collectible that sold for a great deal of money, some people weigh in with details of their own belongings, some seeking answers on questions of valuation. It's fascinating and we want more. So Luxist is launching a new column, Unexpected Treasures, to help get you some answers. We'll be working with appraisers in a wide variety of fields to help you learn a little bit more about your belongings, and like the optimistic title of this column, maybe we'll find something amazing.
If you want to enter a piece for possible inclusion, email firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to evaluate an object we will need enough good quality jpg images (high resolution if possible) so an appraiser can see the object from every angle and as much history on the object as you have. If your treasure will be of general interest to our audience, we will have one of the appraisers look at the item and post one or more of your images of the object on www.luxist.com along with the appraisal and potentially comments from the appraiser. Because the value of your objects are influenced by many factors that may not be evident from your images, an appraisal will only be a rough estimate of an object's value and must not be used for insurance or other valuations; its true value may be much less or much more. Please take your valuables to a local appraiser for those purposes.
Finally, please note that by submitting images for evaluation, you grant AOL Inc. an irrevocable, royalty free, perpetual, worldwide right and license to use the images and your history of the object in any manner, and syndicate this content in any medium and through any form of technology or distribution.
Ever since his fateful car crash and the ongoing mistress revelations, life seems to have been falling to pieces for Tiger Woods. He may be looking at one of the most expensive sports divorce settlements ever. Some wonder whether his career, including not just golf but also lucrative endorsements, will recover. But if you think that Tiger's tribulations might damage the value of Tiger Woods collectibles, author Daryle Lambert says you're dead wrong. In a CNBC article Lambert says that the opposite is true. As he sees it, the amount of signed Woods collectibles probably won't go up too much given the recent events. People are snapping up Tiger Woods collectibles on eBay. A newsmaking event whether it be death or dishonor, always changes the value of a personal collectible; we saw a similar phenomenon this year with the sudden surge in Michael Jackson memorabilia. On his blog Lambert says that collectors should "take advantage of this opportunity to buy anything associated with Tiger Woods, like clubs, signed hats, photographs with his signature, shoes, bags, signed score cards and any other item that can be directly linked to Tiger."
Sotheby's and Christie's are heading east to seek their respective fortunes. The two auction houses are offering more than $26 million of Asian art this week in London. The lots themselves are attracting record numbers of buyers from mainland China, a section of the market that has shown signs of life this year. Chinese buyers were quite active in Hong Kong last month.
Nicholas Chow of Sotheby's told Bloomberg News, ""We've seen a really aggressive push from mainland Chinese collectors during the last season of sales" and that "they're buying things at the very highest level." An Imperial jade seal, for example, moved for GBP3.6 million on Tuesday, six times the high-end presale estimate.
On November 3, Christie's sold an aggregate GBP5.7 million, beating the presale estimate of GBP5.2 million. Of the 319 lots, a third didn't move. The top seller was an eighteenth century enamel model of a Buddhist shrine, which beat its presale range of GBP60,000 to GBP80,000 with a hammer sale of GBP229,250. Nine of the top 10 most expensive items went to buyers from Asia.
Collectors from mainland China are quite eager to repatriate art and other objects from their heritage, particularly the Qing and Ming dynasties ... a fact of which the auction houses are fully aware. Christie's sent 210 invitations to mainland Chinese for its 12th annual Asian Art in London event, which ends November 7, 2009. Sotheby's pursued a similar number of collectors. Bonhams has invited 30 new buyers from mainland China.
In October, the Sotheby's Hong Kong art auction was good for $170 million, with plenty of bidding and buying by mainland Chinese buyers.
How's this for a golf foursome: baseball icon Babe Ruth, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby and former California Governor Culbert Olson. The four played together as part of a charity golf match in Sacramento in 1942. The scores were kept by Charles Robertson, a member of the golf club, who followed them on the course that day and obtained their autographs in the clubhouse after the match," said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage.The one-of-a-kind autographed scorecard will be sold by Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas on October 1 and is estimated to sell for $2,000 to $4,000.
The autographs are signed in pencil on the scorecard from the Sacramento Municipal Golf Course that was kept by Robertson and then his heirs for the past 67 years. The match play tournament scorecard only goes through the 16th hole. Hope and Crosby apparently had won at that point, and left to catch a flight to attend a charity dinner elsewhere that evening.
A tiny piece of change brought in some big money recently. The 1870-S half dime is a small silver coin struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1870. The coin was sold as part of a New Jersey man's collection of 93 mint-condition half dimes to Laura Sperber, President of Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey. The entire collection went for $2.2 million and the 1870-S has a value of $1.4 million.
This tiny coin, a forerunner to the modern nickel, was not even known to exist until 1978. There were plans to create the coin but Mint records showed that no 1870-dated half dimes were made at San Francisco Mint. Then in 1978 this coin turned up in Chicago. It was sold for $425,000 and changed hands several times since then. It has been certified genuine by Professional Coin Grading Service of Newport Beach, California.
What's really interesting is that Sperber and Legend Numismatics originally bought the coin for $661,250 at an auction in 2004 and then sold to the New Jersey collector. The company re-purchased it five years later for more than double that price, and has already sold it along with the New Jersey man's other half dimes for an undisclosed amount.
As the world mourns Michael Jackson's death, some are beginning to focus on the future value of Jackson memorabilia. Perhaps no one else is as close to it as Darren Julien, chief executive of the Julien's Auctions. Julien's Auctions specializes in Hollywood collectibles. Earlier this year his company was set to sell around 1,400 Jackson items for auction including Jackson's Rolls Royce, Jackson portraits, costumes and even the gates to Neverland Ranch before the auction was called off by Jackson. It's not known yet if an auction could now take place but even the catalogs that Julien's Auctions had created for the event could be highly collectible.
Jackson-related keepsakes are already on the rise on eBay and elsewhere but buyer beware. Joe Orlando, President PSA/DNA Authentication Services warns of a potential explosion of fake Michael Jackson autographs and counterfeit memorabilia: "This happens every time a famous Hollywood, sports or political celebrity passes away," he says. "Online auctions and flea markets are suddenly filled with spurious signatures, and frankly many collectors don't know exactly what they're buying." Jackson did grant some fans autographs but he was reclusive and didn't offer fans frequent autograph access like some other celebrities. Orlando says that even if the signature is accompanied by what appears to be a certificate of authenticity, that may not offer consumers enough protection. "Collectors who purchase autographs or memorabilia need to know the reputation of the seller and the reputation and expertise of the authenticators. The bottom line is that a certificate or letter of authenticity is only as strong as the name behind it," Orlando said.
Michael Jackson also inspired quite a bit of art. Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons are just two of the artists who used Jackson as a subject. Check out this ArtInfo piece for more on Jackson as a muse.