Appraisal Video: (2:49)
APPRAISER: Betsy, when you brought these autographs to my table, you mentioned that some were signed, some were printed.
GUEST: Right-- this is Bing Crosby. I'm pretty sure that's a printed one.
APPRAISER: Right. And it has a minimal value. I mean-- to a Crosby collector, you know, $15 or $20.
APPRAISER: This one here is signed. It's dedicated, "Hello to Betsy," from Joan Crawford. Could you tell me how you acquired these photographs?
GUEST: Well, when a friend and I were in the seventh and eighth grade, we didn't have much to do then-- it was a small town. We used to read movie magazines, so we'd write these movie stars, and ask them for their pictures, and then we'd get mail, and that would be real exciting. So that's what we spent our rainy afternoons doing.
APPRAISER: It's amazing, because there was a whole staff that many of these people had, and they would send out autographs to people all the time. And it's wonderful that some were signed by the original people.
GUEST: Right, it's exciting to get one with your name on it. And then you wrote to someone... This one was fun. When I was in the ninth grade, we had this new coach that moved in town, and he was so cute, and he was single, and all the girls had a crush on him. And so we found out that he liked Marilyn Monroe, so we decided to make him a scrapbook, so we cut all these things out of magazines, and made him a scrapbook, and I said, well, I would write and get an autographed picture for him, and so, when they sent the autographed picture back, it had "To Betsy" on it. I was just expecting it to have "Marilyn Monroe" on it. And it was a great big one, you know, and autographed in red ink. So I thought that was really neat.
APPRAISER: Well, when you wrote away to a movie star, I would say 95% of them were signed by secretaries. Marilyn, when you see a blue or black ink autograph-- you can be sure it was signed by a secretary. Because Marilyn Monroe, when she signed, mostly signed in red. You have an original autograph.
GUEST: Oh, it is... ooh.
APPRAISER: Aside from the fact that I've handled her before, and that is her autograph. So we have to get to the area of value. This is a keepsake of yours.
GUEST: Yeah, it is.
APPRAISER: But it's turned out to be a rather valuable keepsake, because her autograph at auction now goes for $4,000 to $6,000.
GUEST: $4,000 to $6,000?
APPRAISER: $4,000 to $6,000, yes.
GUEST: Oh, my. I'm just overwhelmed.
APPRAISER: She signed very few pieces.
GUEST: Oh, I can't believe it.
APPRAISER: That's why they're so scarce and rare.
GUEST: That's shocking. I thought maybe... someone said they thought it might be worth $1,000, you know.
APPRAISER: Oh no, it's one of the major entertainment autographs.
GUEST: Well, now, does security walk me out of here?
APPRAISER: Yes. Somebody will be with you.