20th-Century Queen Mary Memorabilia

Value (2005) | $4,000 Auction
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APPRAISER:
I gather you're an ocean liner memorabilia collector.

GUEST:
Absolutely.

APPRAISER:
And you specialize in one ship?

GUEST:
Well, I love the Queen Mary above all others. She has a special place for me, especially since she's here in Los Angeles and I can visit her. I always think of her sort of as a beached whale trapped there, you know?

APPRAISER:
Yes.

GUEST:
She can't get out to sea.

APPRAISER:
Now, um, the first piece of memorabilia is directly from the ship itself -- the telephone.

GUEST:
Right. It's a telephone from a first-class stateroom, and I believe only the first-class staterooms had telephones.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm, I think you're right. So, what did you end up paying for that?

GUEST:
I paid just under $400 for the telephone, maybe four years ago. I found it on the Internet.

APPRAISER:
Okay, because they were divesting the Queen Mary--

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
--of a lot of its fittings, so they sold off the fittings -- desks and phones and stuff like that. Um, then we have the launch booklet, and if you notice, it was before the ship was named.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
It's the famous "534." It's always known as 534.

GUEST:
Yes, she wasn't known as the Queen Mary when she was launched.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, and that was given to the guests at the launching where they do with the champagne and the... sending it down the ways. Then you have some other ephemera here. This is a study of the Queen Mary. There's an on-board booklet, and this is the maiden voyage souvenir booklet.

GUEST:
Yes, that was a gift to passengers on the maiden voyage.

APPRAISER:
So, what did you pay for these as you go along?

GUEST:
Less than a hundred dollars each -- about, $60 or $70 for this, $70 for the souvenir book from the maiden voyage.

APPRAISER:
The Shipbuilder here in the center, that's always a beautiful piece. It's got tremendous illustrations.

GUEST:
It's gorgeous, right? I paid about $120 for that.

APPRAISER:
The centerpiece of your collection is the Chad Valley toy. And let me demonstrate what this is. This opens up, it rotates, to show every deck. It's very detailed, down to each individual stateroom. And you have the original box. And you also have the insert, which is a key to all the decks.

GUEST:
Correct.

APPRAISER:
Okay. And, interestingly, you have an original advertisement for the Chad Valley toy that appeared in a British magazine at the time. This is all mid-'30s.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
She was launched in '34, and her maiden voyage was '36, right?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Now, let's go through with some current values.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
This phone here at auction has a value of about $1,500.

GUEST:
Oh, that's incredible.

APPRAISER:
The launch booklet is a couple of hundred now.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
These bits of ephemera would go for about $100 each.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
The souvenir booklet goes for about $250, and this guy goes for a couple of hundred.

GUEST:
Good, good.

APPRAISER:
Now, the last Chad Valley I sold was to a museum in Miami Beach, and that was a few years ago, and that was about $900. Now, I would put a value on it now... without the ad, it would be about $1,200.

GUEST:
Oh...

APPRAISER:
Now, what did you pay for this little ad?

GUEST:
About a dollar or two.

APPRAISER:
But that adds over 20% to the value--

GUEST (chuckling): Fantastic.

APPRAISER:
--to have the ad with the piece, so you're looking at $1,500.

GUEST:
Oh, that's amazing.

APPRAISER:
I haven't got a total of what you spent.

GUEST:
I think it's most likely under $1,000. Well under.

APPRAISER:
Yeah. You're looking at closer to $4,000--

GUEST:
Fantastic.

APPRAISER:
--for all the stuff on this table.

GUEST:
I couldn't afford it now. (chuckling)

APPRAISER:
I mean, this is the original "buy low, sell high," you know?

GUEST:
It sure is.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
Los Angeles, California
Appraised value (2005)
$4,000 Auction
Event
Los Angeles, CA (August 13, 2005)
Period
1930s
Form
Ephemera
Material
Paper

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