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    Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Book, ca. 1920

    Appraised Value:

    $10,000 (2013)

    Updated Value:

    $10,000 (2014)

    Appraised on: August 10, 2013

    Appraised in: Kansas City, Missouri

    Appraised by: Ken Sanders

    Category: Books & Manuscripts

    Episode Info: Celebrating Black Americana (#1934)
    Kansas City (#1811)

    Originally Aired: April 7, 2014

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 5 Next 

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    Form: Book
    Material: Paper
    Period / Style: 1920s
    Value Range: $10,000 (2013)
    Updated Value: $10,000 (2014)

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    Appraisal Video: (3:55)


    Appraised By:

    Ken Sanders
    Books & Manuscripts

    Ken Sanders Rare Books

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: I don't really know a whole lot about the book. I believe it's the first African-American beauty book.

    APPRAISER: How did you acquire the book?

    GUEST: A friend of mine. I'm a hairdresser, and he gave me the book. He thought I might enjoy it.

    APPRAISER: The cover title says it's the textbook of Madam C.J. Walker Schools of Beauty Culture.

    GUEST: Yes.

    APPRAISER: So at first blush, it just seems to be a textbook, and in the antiquarian book trade, we don't think a whole lot of most textbooks, but you really caught my attention when you said that this was an early hair products and hair care and styling book for African-American women.

    GUEST: Yes.

    APPRAISER: That definitely caught my interest.

    GUEST: Mine, too.

    APPRAISER: Did you learn anything from the book?

    GUEST: Actually, I did. There are some home remedies I've tried out of the book, and then some of the product in the book you can no longer get.

    APPRAISER: Well, the book's around 100 years old, so...

    GUEST: Oh, really?

    APPRAISER: Not surprising.

    GUEST: Yeah.

    APPRAISER: Let's open the book up here to the title page.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: Here we have The Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Manual. First edition. And it indeed is the very first book published for hair styling and fashion for African-American women, which is very, very unusual. There's one more page I'd like to turn to here in the back that shows some of the hair care products. Quite a big, healthy line of different products.

    GUEST: Yes, it was very fascinating to me, looking at it and looking at the prices back then.

    APPRAISER: Pretty nostalgic.

    GUEST: Yes, yes.

    APPRAISER: You said that some of the methods and products involved in the book are still valid today?

    GUEST: Some are and some are not.

    APPRAISER: Okay. You would know far more about that than I.

    GUEST: Yes, I am a licensed beautician.

    APPRAISER: What's interesting about this book is Madam Walker was actually Sarah Breedlove. She was born on a Louisiana plantation in 1867.

    GUEST: Really?

    APPRAISER: Her family were a slave family on a plantation, and she was the first child in her family born into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation.

    GUEST: I didn't know that.

    APPRAISER: And the company that bears her name is still in business to this day making hair and facial products for African-American women.

    GUEST: Really?

    APPRAISER: She also, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is the first American self-made millionaire female.

    GUEST: Are you serious? I didn't know that, either! I had no clue.

    APPRAISER: Pretty fascinating.

    GUEST: Yeah.

    APPRAISER: Do you have an idea of what the book's worth?

    GUEST: Oh, I'm not for sure what it's worth. Maybe $3,000.

    APPRAISER: The book's in very good condition. It's not a fine condition copy, but in today's market, with the interest in early and important African-American material, the first edition of this book is scarce enough that at retail, this book would sell for $10,000 plus.

    GUEST: (laughing) $10,000?! Are you serious?

    APPRAISER: I am serious.

    GUEST: Oh, you're kidding!

    APPRAISER: No, I'm not.

    GUEST: $10,000?!

    APPRAISER: Yes, ma'am.

    GUEST: (laughing) I don't believe it! Thank you. (laughing)

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