SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

Support ANTIQUES ROADSHOW by supporting public television! Give Today
  • ON TV
  • ON TOUR
  • WATCH ONLINE
  • WEB EXCLUSIVES
  • RESOURCES
  • SHOP
  • The Roadshow Archive

    Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Book, ca. 1928

    Appraised Value:

    $10,000 (2013)

    Appraised on: August 10, 2013

    Appraised in: Kansas City, Missouri

    Appraised by: Ken Sanders

    Category: Books & Manuscripts

    Episode Info: Kansas City (#1811)

    Originally Aired: April 7, 2014

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 5 Next 

    More Like This:

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

    Related Links:

    Understanding Our Appraisals
    Useful tips to keep in mind when watching ANTIQUES ROADSHOW

    Comment

    Appraisal Video: (4:00)

    appraiser

    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 in looking through it?

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

    APPRAISER: Well, the book's around a hundred 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.

    GUEST: Yes.

    APPRAISER: Book is not dated. Seems to be a little unclear. I haven't been able to determine its exact date.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: And it indeed is... the very first book published for hair styling and fashion for African-American women, which is very, very unusual. 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 born into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation.

    GUEST: I didn't know that. I didn't know that.

    APPRAISER: That was a pretty big deal.

    GUEST: Yes.

    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 I believe 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)




    WGBH This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
    ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
    WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
    PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

    ROADSHOW on Facebook ROADSHOW Tweets ROADSHOW on YouTube