1928 Edna Ferber's Copy of "Show Boat"
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000 (2007)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:24)
Books & Manuscripts
Senior Vice President & Senior Specialist, Rare Books and Manuscripts
APPRAISER: You brought in some unusual books today, and the one that caught my eye right away was this one here, bound in blue leather, with this guild- stamped legend here-- “Edna Ferber:” Her Own Copy.” Explain your connection to Edna Ferber.
GUEST: Edna Ferber was my great-aunt, my mother's mother's sister.
APPRAISER: And you inherited some of her books?
GUEST: I did, quite a number of them, and this is probably one of the oldest ones.
APPRAISER: We'll open it up and have a look inside. And the title page tells most of the story here. This is the published score for “Show Boat...
APPRAISER:...the musical, which was based on her novel published in 1926. It was a huge success as a show. The edition of the score was produced in 1928. And the music was by Jerome Kern. The adaptation of the lyrics were by Oscar Hammerstein II. I think it was one of the most successful musicals produced on Broadway before World War II, and it was, obviously, by Edna Ferber. The thing that really is striking about this page is the little note here. "Edna, why do I love-- oh, hell, turn to page 177"-- and it's signed Jerome Kern himself in this green ink that he happened to like and he's penned in a little section of notes here, a little bar of music. Bar clef. And let's turn to the page that Jerome Kern has indicated here. And the part he wanted her to read was this, beginning of this song by Magnolia. "Why do I love you? Why do you love me?" A sort of witty way of expressing his affection for Edna Ferber.
APPRAISER: Your great-aunt. The thing that is probably best known is this. "Ol' Man River." "Ol' Man River," famous from a number of different renditions. This song still gets performed a lot today, as does the whole musical. I conferred with colleagues and we were all very impressed with it and we think that a copy like this at auction should be estimated $3,000 to $5,000.
GUEST: That's very nice.
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