Appraisal Video: (3:20)
Collectibles, Sports Memorabilia
Leila Dunbar Appraisals & Consulting, LLC
GUEST: I'm a big baseball fan. I've always been fascinated with the illustration art on magazines and stuff. I found it on an online auction and I just liked it so much I bid on it and won it. That was about a year ago.
APPRAISER: Wow, and how much did you pay for it?
GUEST: About $2,100, I want to say. When I got it, it was in terrible condition. It looked like it had been sitting in a garage for years and years. It had stretch marks and it needed to be restored, so I had it restored.
APPRAISER: And how much did you pay for the restoration?
GUEST: It was about $500, I think.
APPRAISER: Well, the painting was done, as you know, by Lon Keller, and Lon Keller is considered to be the Norman Rockwell of sports. And this painting, incidentally, is for, and you have the program here, the 1946 World Series, the Red Sox versus the Cardinals. Lon Keller produced over 5,000 sporting event paintings for covers.
APPRAISER: He had his start in 1932. He did a cover for the Cornell-Penn game, college Thanksgiving game, and a gentleman named Don Spencer loved his artwork, and Don Spencer created a company where they could make college programs more cost effective, and he hired Lon Keller to be his executive VP and to create all of this art. Whereas in prior years the programs would be thrown away, they'd be left at the stadiums, Lon Keller's programs were always taken. It was rare to find one at the stadium. People loved the quality of the artwork and the subject matter. Do you know the Yankee logo with the top hat?
APPRAISER: Lon Keller.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: From 1947 on, they used Lon Keller's top hat logo, and he also helped out on the Mets logo. It's like the best artist no one's ever heard of, but you've seen his art everywhere. Do you know who this Red Sox player is?
GUEST: I thought it was Ted Williams, but he bats the other way, so I think it's just a generic batter, I would guess.
APPRAISER: I agree with you. You rarely see an actual, notable athlete that's on the cover. Like most of Lon Keller's work, this is an oil-on-canvas painting. You had restoration. There were tears here, correct?
GUEST: Yeah, and then there was a hole right in here.
APPRAISER: And was there dirt on this as well?
GUEST: Yeah, it needed to be cleaned, we had it cleaned.
APPRAISER: And you had it reframed.
APPRAISER: And you bought this program afterwards. When you bought this, did you know that it was from this World Series?
GUEST: Yeah, that's what they said, but I had never seen the program or anything. I found the program later.
APPRAISER: What did you pay for the program?
GUEST: About $100.
APPRAISER: I would insure it for, say, $200. In the world of valuation, people like to have things in original condition. That's their preference. However, if the presentation is enhanced and there's integrity in the restoration work that's done, that can actually increase value, and that's what you've done here. If I were going to put an insurance valuation on this, in the condition that it's in, I would put about $4,500.
APPRAISER: So that is much better than the price you paid for it, and it's totally worthwhile.
APPRAISER: So it's your first piece. I think you knocked this one out of the park, and my advice to you for the future: just keep swinging.
GUEST: Thank you.