Lucille Ball Charm & Photograph

Value (2005) | $5,000 Auction

GUEST:
This charm belonged to Lucille Ball. I'm a very big Lucy fan. And when I saw it, I couldn't resist it. It is a gold charm-- has a figure of a golfer on it. She and Desi lived on a golf course, Del Mar. Her monogram is on the back of the charm.

APPRAISER:
Let me just show that. There, it's "L.B."

GUEST:
And I purchased the charm about seven years ago here in Houston, at a jewelry show that had large estates of stars.

APPRAISER:
Right. So you bought it almost on faith, in a way.

GUEST:
Absolutely.

APPRAISER:
They told you it was from Lucille Ball. They gave you this certificate that said "14kt Gold 'Golfer' Charm." And you paid...

GUEST:
A thousand dollars.

APPRAISER:
$1,000. Now, even six years ago, certificates of authenticity-- C.O.A.s, we call them, were sort of suspect. Now, with Internet auctions, they're... I mean, you could stick them in cereal boxes. They really have no value. They've been so debased by being attached to fake autographs. Everybody says, "I'll give you a C.O.A. on that." And that's almost like an alarm signal that you're dealing with something that isn't legit, as soon as you're offered a C.O.A. You really have to trust the dealer's reputation and background. So afterwards, you obtained this photograph, right?

GUEST:
Yes, I started searching for photographs where she might be wearing the charm, and I purchased this photograph on an Internet site and didn't know anything about the dating, the piece. Then I got on another site and found the same picture with a date, and the date was February 18, 1953. I still do not know who gave her the charm. From what I understand about Lucy, she was very frugal, so I don't think she bought it for herself. I think someone may have gifted her with it.

APPRAISER:
She did have that reputation, that's true. This photograph from 1953 is her and Desi Arnaz signing their contract with Philip Morris for another season of their famous show, which was the highest-rated television show at that time. And there she is, wearing the actual piece. Now, you paid $1,000 for this. I had our jewelry people l look at it. They tested the gold-- it is 14-karat gold, and it's about five pennyweights of 14-karat gold. You have seed pearls and very small rubies set into the image of a golfer. In their opinion, it would sell today for about $500 or $600. That's its intrinsic value. Its wholesale value is about $250. Now, we at the collectibles table don't deal in intrinsic values. (laughing) I mean, things come to us that are made of plastic that are worth a fortune. What a thing is made of, whether it's gold, sapphires or tin, has nothing to do with its collectible value. So this piece, just by doing this bit of research, and being able to prove, beyond this rather suspicious certificate, that it is actually worn by Lucy, elevates the value of this to about $5,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my goodness! That's fantastic.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
Los Angeles, California
Appraised value (2005)
$5,000 Auction
Event
Houston, TX (July 16, 2005)
Period
20th Century
Form
Necklace
Material
Gold

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