1967 Gerald R. Ford Letter & Envelope
Appraised Value: $2,000
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (2:12)
Books & Manuscripts
Senior Vice President & International Department Head of Printed Books and Manuscripts
GUEST: I brought in a letter from former president Gerald R. Ford to my grandmother. He moved here in about 1913.
APPRAISER: As a little boy.
GUEST: As a little boy. My grandmother, according to family legend, was Gerald Ford's kindergarten teacher. We would talk about Gerald Ford every once in a while at home, because he was a celebrity here in Grand Rapids. But she would call him "naughty little Gerry Ford," and we would laugh and we'd say, "Grandma, why is he called-- why are you calling him naughty little Gerry Ford?" And she'd say, "Well, when he would go out the door, "he would always slam the door. And one time, he pushed a little boy into a screen door." Now, my grandmother was very strict. And so we always had a lot of sympathy for naughty Gerry Ford.
APPRAISER:: So poor Gerry Ford.
APPRAISER: Yes. He-he was an athletic boy.
GUEST: (laughing): Yes. Well, a very athletic boy.
APPRAISER: Now, the letter he writes to your grandmother, who then was Mrs. Malewitz—
APPRAISER: "It has come to my attention that many years ago you were my kindergarten teacher."
APPRAISER: And then the next line says, "That certainly does bring back memories." Like that kind of, uh... Yes, he's a master of understatement. Then he says, "I wish to express my sincere hope" for your good health.
GUEST: Yes! Yes!
APPRAISER: "Warm personal regards. Sincerely, Gerry Ford." He was then minority leader in the House. He was in the House for about 25 years, and eight of those, he was the minority leader. And what I learned yesterday at the Gerald Ford Museum, which was fascinating, that he wasn't born Gerald Ford.
GUEST: He was not.
APPRAISER: Leslie King was his name.
GUEST: Yes. Yes.
APPRAISER: That was news to me. In '67, this was written.
APPRAISER: So he had seven more years to go until he would assume the presidency and become the 38th president of the United States. And over here where the stamp would be
APPRAISER: is a signature. It's not a written signature, but a stamped signature. We call it a free frank. That would have been postage for government officials-- mostly notables, like vice presidents, minority leaders. In the old days, it used to be actually written by the officials. And there are people who collect free franks themselves.
APPRAISER: Yeah, so the envelope's important in this case. I would put an insurance value on it of $2,000.
APPRAISER: It's a great letter. It's a great family paper to have and to cherish.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 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.