Appraisal Video: (4:20)
GUEST: I always read the Chicago Daily News, and my favorite, favorite columnist was Mike Royko. Always for the underdog. Frank Sinatra was in Chicago to perform, and, of course, all these little ladies on Michigan Avenue were always getting mugged on State Street. And Mike Royko wrote a column about the fact that Frank Sinatra had half the Chicago police force acting as his body guards on this whole floor of a hotel. And so he wrote a kind of a cute, funny column that... you know, where were all the policemen? Well, they were taking care of "Old Blue Eyes." Well, Old Blue Eyes didn't appreciate the column and fired off this letter to Mike Royko. So Mike published it in the Daily News and said he would sell that letter to the highest bidder, and the money would go to the Salvation Army. So I decided I'd bid on the letter. And I had a $400 Mother's Day check from my big family, and I was sitting there and I said, "I'll bid $400." And maybe a couple of weeks later, the phone rang. I picked it up. "This is Mike Royko." I just let out a holler! And so that was the story of how I got the letter.
APPRAISER: And it's a historic letter, because Mike put it in his column and Frank was really ticked off about what Mike said. And so he has a few choice words for Mike. He says, firstly, "Let me start this note by saying, I don't know you and you don't know me." And he goes on to say, basically, "Where are you coming up with this stuff? "I don't have cronies. "The police force is being generous. "That's not my fault. Why don't you take it up with them?" He says, "Quite frankly, I don't understand why people don't spit in your eye three or four times a day." This is Frank talking to Mike here.
GUEST: That sounds like Frank.
APPRAISER: You know, he talks about his tough reputation and that no one else can prove that type of allegation. And then he calls Mike Royko a pimp.
GUEST: That was... that was the blow.
APPRAISER: I mean, this is just amazing stuff. Lastly he says, "I will allow you to pull my 'hairpiece'; "if it moves, I will give you another $100,000; "if it does not, I punch you in the mouth. How about it?" (laughing) He signs it "Sinatra," and then copyrights it so if it's ever published, it has to be published in full. Over here we have Royko's columns, and these two are his responses to Sinatra's letter, where he talks about how he plans on auctioning it off, after he found out that people were interested in the letter, and he wanted the money to go to a good cause, the Salvation Army. I conferred with some of my colleagues here, and we all agree that it is the best Sinatra letter we ever read.
GUEST: Doesn't it sound just like him?
APPRAISER: Oh, it's him all the way.
GUEST: And when he called him a pimp? Oh, boy. There were headlines in a lot of papers then about the pimp letter.
APPRAISER: I bet. And it's still a famous letter, and people remember it today. And as such, I would estimate it at auction at at least $15,000...
GUEST: Oh... (gasps) Oh, no!
APPRAISER: And I wouldn't be surprised...
GUEST: Oh, no...
APPRAISER: I wouldn't be surprised if this letter sold for more than that, because Sinatra stuff is as hot as it can get, and it just doesn't get any better than this.
APPRAISER: So with all the provenance and your great story...
GUEST: Oh, my goodness.
APPRAISER: It's just such a great piece. I was so happy that you brought it in today.
GUEST: Oh, gee, I'm going to faint. I'm going to faint. I really... where are my friends?
APPRAISER: Are you all right?
GUEST: Oh, yes, give me a seat! Oh, man! Are they kidding me? Did you all hear that?! Yes! Yes! Did you all hear that?! Oh, isn't that... He offered me a hundred dollars for it. You can't have it for a hundred dollars. Isn't that super? Yeah, that's so super. I'm going to give that money to... If I ever sell it, the money goes to the Salvation Army anyway.
APPRAISER: Oh, that would be good.
GUEST: So the more, the merrier. Oh, listen, you just made my... Why... did you hear that, Betty?
GUEST: I know, I heard it, I heard it, I heard it! (both laughing) They must be nuts! Isn't that great?
APPRAISER: It's wonderful.