J. Frank Dobie Letter & Publications
Appraised Value: $1,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:02)
GUEST: I got it in an estate sale. J. Frank Dobie, he was a teacher at the University of Texas, and he gave that up to become an author. He was a folklorist especially for Texan material, and he went around the state collecting tales from all sorts of folk-- ranch hands, cowboys, vaqueros. And he's considered one of the greatest of the Texan writers.
APPRAISER: This material includes a letter from J. Frank Dobie to what is clearly a very good friend of his from 1932, about the heyday of his career as a folklorist and a writer, and several pamphlets, each of them inscribed. Some of them are Christmas pamphlets, and some are just kind of offprints from some of the journals that he was publishing in. The letter, it's really fascinating. He says here in the second paragraph, "The hunting was no good, but we had a Yaqui Indian with us, and he proved to be the most fertile yarner I have ever heard, almost. He has stories about coyotes, giants, bears, fairies and every other sort of creature. God only knows what I shall do with all this stuff after I get it down." So one thing that's great about this letter is that it shows this wonderful folklorist right in the middle of doing what he does best: collecting these stories and getting them down into print. And some of these pamphlets are quite rare, too. Do you have any idea about what all this material is worth?
GUEST: That's not why I got it. I saved it, literally, from a burn pile. They were fixing to burn it all.
APPRAISER: Yeah, I'm glad that you did that. Well, the letter itself is worth about $500 or so, and each of these pamphlets is worth between $75 and $150. So all together, the retail value of these items here on the table is nearly $1,000. It's a great rescue on your part. You've joined the spirit of Frank Dobie in rescuing things from the past and preserving them for the future.
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