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    1936 Hindenburg Ashtray

    Appraised Value:

    $8,000 - $10,000

    Appraised on: August 5, 2006

    Appraised in: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Appraised by: Rudy Franchi

    Category: Collectibles

    Episode Info: Philadelphia, Hour 2 (#1105)

    Originally Aired: January 29, 2007

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 3 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Tray
    Material: Aluminum
    Period / Style: 1930s
    Value Range: $8,000 - $10,000

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    Appraisal Video: ()


    Appraised By:

    Rudy Franchi

    Heritage Auctions

    Appraisal Transcript:
    APPRAISER: It's funny to have an ashtray on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, but there's something special about this ashtray.

    GUEST: It's an ashtray that was given to my grandfather on October 9, 1936, for a special ten-hour flight of the Hindenburg that left Lakehurst, New Jersey. It went up the coast to Boston, back down, I believe, over Washington and Baltimore and landed that evening back in Lakehurst.

    APPRAISER: And who was on this flight?

    GUEST: Uh, roughly 50 executives, politicians, bankers, uh, media.

    APPRAISER: And everybody on the flight got this ashtray?

    GUEST: Everybody was given an ashtray, from what I understand, yes.

    APPRAISER: Okay. The ashtray is made of forged aluminum. Do you know who made it?

    GUEST: It's made by a company which I believe is still in business in Western PA called Wendell August.

    APPRAISER: Right. And this... model of the Hindenburg is filled with the fuel that drove the four huge engines--

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: --that propelled the airship. So on October of '36, a group of about 50 people went up on the Hindenburg on what's called the Millionaire's Flight. And some of the names were, like, Rockefeller, and…

    GUEST: Uh, Eddie Rickenbacker--

    APPRAISER: Eddie Rickenbacker.

    GUEST: --was on the flight as well.

    APPRAISER: Wealthy and influential people.

    GUEST: Correct.

    APPRAISER: Then the Hindenburg flew, I believe, down to Brazil on its regular route.

    GUEST: Correct. Right.

    APPRAISER: And then over to Germany. Then it came back to the United States.

    GUEST: The following May.

    APPRAISER: And of course, when it got to Lakehurst in May of '37, it caught fire and 36 people died.

    GUEST: That's right.

    APPRAISER: When the Hindenburg was first-- the flight to the United States, they asked if they could use helium, because all the helium came from America at that point.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: And they were denied it because it was a strategic element. So they were forced to use hydrogen, which is extremely flammable. Now, the irony of the ashtray is that... there was smoking, actually, on the Hindenburg.

    GUEST: Isn't that funny?

    APPRAISER: They had a smoking room and each person had in front of them a bowl of water. And there was a crewmember assigned to the room to watch full time, to make sure that not one ash fell away from the bowl of water. And you have a diary here.

    GUEST: Right, this is my grandmother's diary from 1936 and '37. And she just happens to mention in the diary that my grandfather was leaving the next day for this one-day flight.

    APPRAISER: I would think that if this came up at auction, you would be looking at a value of between $8,000 and $10,000.

    GUEST: Oh, great.

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