20th-Century Signed Bandleader Photos
Appraised Value: $15,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 8
Appraisal Video: (2:54)
Collectibles, Sports Memorabilia
Leila Dunbar Appraisals & Consulting, LLC
GUEST: In Sioux Falls, they had an Army airbase. And my dad was a banker, my mom was a baker, and on the weekends they would work at the Arcoda Ballroom, where they had big bands come in and entertain the troops. My dad sold tickets, and my mom was a coatcheck girl. And when she was done doing that, she danced with the soldiers.
APPRAISER: During World War Two.
GUEST: Yes. And my dad, when he went to pay them, because he was the treasurer, he had them sign an autographed picture for him so he would have that for himself. And this is his collection.
APPRAISER: But you never heard about this collection until years later.
GUEST: Right. I really hadn't heard about it at all until just before he died I heard about it.
APPRAISER: But did they talk about those times at the Arcoda Ballroom?
GUEST: Oh, they had a wonderful time. They just thoroughly enjoyed it.
APPRAISER: When you saw this, you recognized who these people were immediately.
GUEST: Oh, yes, yes.
APPRAISER: Here we have Tommy Dorsey, who's best known for "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." Played with Frank Sinatra. We've got here Count Basie, best known for "One O'Clock Jump" in those days. Because we're talking 1943-44, right?
APPRAISER: And we have Glen Gray, who is not as well known, but Casa Loma Orchestra. And here, Duke Ellington. Duke Ellington at that time probably best known for "Perdido." And we have here Cab Calloway. 1943, he was starring with Lena Horne in the movie Stormy Weather.
APPRAISER: Which was fantastic. We have Lawrence Welk without bubbles.
APPRAISER: Pre-bubbles. And then of course Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy's brother, who wrote, "I'm Glad There Is You." And then over here, we have Louis Armstrong. So when you saw this grouping, what did you think?
GUEST: I thought they were wonderful. They were all before my time, but I just love their music.
APPRAISER: So you want to know value.
APPRAISER: And anything else?
GUEST: How I can preserve them, because I know what they're in right now is not good.
APPRAISER: They've been in this notebook for years.
GUEST: Yes. Since probably '43, '44.
APPRAISER: Wow. And there are a total of 58 of them. We have a lot of other bandleaders, some as well known and some not quite as well known. Well, let me talk to you a little bit about value. Each of these would have an individual value that would run probably between $50 for some of our lesser known, up to probably about $500 for your better known. But they're worth more as an archive, because they were all given to your father. A lot of times when they're personalized to someone, it doesn't mean that much, but because you have such great provenance behind them, the whole is actually worth more than the individual parts.
GUEST: Mm-hmm, great.
APPRAISER: Now, they've managed to survive these years, and they're in very good condition. I would take them out and I would back them with archival paper so you can have them last another 70 years.
APPRAISER: In terms of value, for the entire group, I'd put an insurance value of at least $15,000 on the group.
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