1935 Will Rogers & Wiley Post Autographs & Photographs
Appraised Value: $18,000 - $20,000
IMAGE: 1 of 8
Appraisal Video: (3:09)
GUEST: My great-grandparents and my grandparents lived in Alaska, and they homesteaded in the Fairbanks area, on the Chena River. And it was a wide place in the river, so floatplanes could land on it, and Pacific Alaska Airways used to tie up their aircraft at my grandfather's homestead. And when Wiley Post flew to Alaska with his friend Will Rogers, they stopped at my grandfather's homestead in August of 1935. They did some tours and hung around town for a while, and then on the day that they were to fly to Point Barrow, my father and my aunts and uncles that lived there at the homestead ran up to them at the float landing and asked for their autographs. And these are photographs of my father and aunt and uncles getting the autographs. A few hours later, they crashed and both were killed and it created a big national mourning era.
APPRAISER: Let's start with the autographs. Here's the autograph booklet, and here is Wiley Post's autograph. This is Wiley Post, right?
APPRAISER: He was, along with Lindbergh, one of the pioneers of... sort of aeronautical daring. He would go to tremendous heights for that time. They were all daredevils.
APPRAISER: Pushing the envelope of airplane flight at the time. And here's Will Rogers. Now, it's hard to get across how really famous Will Rogers was at the time. He was the fellow who had the lariat, and he used to give these long monologues. He was the one who had great lines like, "I don't belong to any organized party; I'm a Democrat." I mean, just all... "I never met a guy I didn't like." Of course, that was his most famous. That was his tag line. And he was really a megastar of his time. Now, this is the autograph book. And if we go up here, And here's Wiley Post signing this book.
APPRAISER: And this is photographs of the crash.
GUEST: Correct; yes. A native that witnessed the crash ran 12 miles to Barrow to report the crash, and they came back with whale boats and stuff to figure out what happened, and those were the pictures that were taken.
APPRAISER: This is the original front page of the Anchorage Daily Times.
APPRAISER: For August 15, 1935. But this was front page in every newspaper in America. It's also a fascinating piece of Alaska aviation history. It comes to the time we have to put a value on all this. Now, it's seldom that you have this kind of documentation. You can see the actual autograph book being signed by a famous person and then have the actual autograph. It's sort of bullet-proof authentication. The auction value of this autograph book with the documentation, of course, accompanying it, would be $18,000 to $20,000.
APPRAISER: It's hard to put a monetary value on it for the family.
GUEST: Well, thank you.
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