Model Airplane Kit
Appraised Value: $2,000 - $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:40)
Toys & Games
Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
GUEST: Well, my dad was a salesman in Chicago, and he worked for Marshall Fields and Company.
APPRAISER: Oh, the big department store.
GUEST: The big department store in Chicago. I'm not quite sure what he did with this, but he did a lot of different things to make money, because it was in the early '30s during the Depression.
APPRAISER: Well, you know, at first, when I saw this and you had said you thought it was a salesman's kit-- and of course, I always get excited when I see things in their original boxes and with all the bits and pieces and parts-- and the more I thought about it, I realized what it is. I think this was an outreach thing where your father would go to Boy Scout meetings or Boys Club meetings to demonstrate how to build model airplanes and try and create some enthusiasm among kids for toy planes.
APPRAISER: This was not an uncommon method of creating interest in toys. There were model car manufacturers, who would send representatives out to try and get kids to be interested, or the fabled yo-yo man, who would come around to the schools playing with their yo-yos. So this is what this was, and you can't use the word "unique" too often, but this has to be the only one of these that could possibly still exist.
GUEST: It's possible, yes.
APPRAISER: I mean... and everything about it is just so fragile. I mean, these model planes made out of balsa wood and silk-- I mean, it's incredible. And I... as far as... You know, you dated it, I think certainly properly right in the '30s. It has all the earmarks of a 1930s kind of piece. And it's absolutely amazing-- all these boxed plane sets. So now you probably want me to come up with what do I think it's worth.
GUEST: I'm excited.
APPRAISER: Well, you know, when you have something that is absolutely one of a kind, that you've never seen before, it's not that easy.
GUEST: I know.
APPRAISER: I do know this: that model airplanes themselves of this period don't really command a lot of excitement. You know, an unmade kit might be a hundred dollars.
GUEST: I had it estimated, but they said maybe $400 to $600, you know, like at a local estimate, but I thought it was worth a lot more than that.
APPRAISER: At auction, I think... Well, you never know.
APPRAISER: You never ever know. But I would be surprised if this didn't bring at least $2,000, $3,000.
APPRAISER: Who knows?
GUEST: Who knows? Right. Oh, my.
APPRAISER: You'll never find another.
GUEST: I know.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2013 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.