Columbia University Diploma with Dwight D. Eisenhower Signature
Appraised Value: $700 - $900
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (1:47)
Books & Manuscripts
Director, Fine Books and Manuscripts
Bonhams & Butterfields, LA
GUEST: I went to the flea market one day. I was about to leave when I saw this woman with a pile of clothes on the ground and some pictures amongst the clothes. This one happened to have been turned over, so I asked her if I could see the picture. And to my surprise, I saw a very special signature.
APPRAISER: Tell me whose special signature you saw.
GUEST: Dwight D. Eisenhower.
APPRAISER: What you have brought is a master's degree diploma from Columbia University from 1950. What most people don't remember is that in between his great success as commander of Allied forces in World War Two and being president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower spent some time as president of Columbia University in New York City. It was a very brief period of time. Most of his biographers say that it wasn't a particularly successful presidency. Even the Columbia University website said that he was not the most engaged of presidents. He went from Columbia to NATO to running for president. So it is an important moment in his time. When you brought this to the table, what I realized and what the other appraisers realized is none of us had ever seen one of these Columbia diplomas before, and yet we know how many students must have graduated in 1949 and 1950 that there should be several hundred of these, at least, floating around out there. So what did you pay for this when you bought it?
GUEST: Three dollars.
APPRAISER: Three dollars. A normal Eisenhower signature would sell between $150 to $300. Because we've never seen one of these at auction or on the market before, my estimate at auction would be much higher. It would be $700 to $900.
GUEST: Oh my goodness.
APPRAISER: So not bad for three dollars.
GUEST: Not bad at all.
APPRAISER: Well done.
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