1953 Bishop Sheen Zucchetto & Ephemera

Value (2006) | $2,000 Auction$4,000 Auction

GUEST:
Well, right here is Bishop Fulton Sheen's zucchetto that he wore on television. In 1953, when I was a young lady, I was in the Brownie Scouts. And we had moved from Chicago, and mother had packed the Brownie uniform. We had found the dress, but not the hat. So every day, I came home from school saying, "Mother, have you found the hat yet?" This went on for several months, and every day, it was, "No, I haven't found the hat." So one night, I was watching Bishop Sheen on “Life is Worth Living,” black-and-white TV, and I saw his hat. And I ran into the kitchen, and I said, "Mother, I found my Brownie hat." And she said, "Well, where is it?" Because she was very relieved. I said, "Well, Bishop Sheen stole it." And she thought that was so funny that she wrote him a letter explaining the story. But she changed it slightly and didn't tell him that I said he stole it, that he had it, or he took it. So for Christmas, he inscribed it, "To Frances, God Love You-- Fulton J. Sheen," and sent it to me as a Christmas present. In January, he talked about it on his TV show. And we didn't see it that night, but he said to the kids in TV land, "I sent my hat to a little girl in Iowa. Don't ask for it. I'm not sending any more out."

APPRAISER:
That's great.

GUEST:
So that's the story.

APPRAISER:
That's great.

GUEST:
That's his letter to me, and this is my thank-you.

APPRAISER:
It's just a phenomenal story. You think American icon, you think of Babe Ruth.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
You think of presidents... But this man was probably one of the greatest American icons of the 20th century.

GUEST:
That's right.

APPRAISER:
You know, in 1951 when his show started, “Life is Worth Living,” they actually put it up against The Milton Berle Show.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
One of the most popular shows on TV. And in doing my research, I found a little quip Milton said when they asked him, well, how do you account for the fact that Archbishop Sheen's show is doing so well? He says, "Well, he uses old material also." So, you know, he made sort of a joke out of it, but the truth of the matter was, he was just so popular and so influential. Wrote probably close to 100 books that were just so widely sold. So what you have here is not just something that's important religiously, but American history-wise, it's just a phenomenal piece. The letter is great. It says, "I received a letter from your mother." And he was kind enough to inscribe this and send it to you. Your letter here, which I'm assuming your mom didn't send, but this was a thank-you note, thanking him for the hat. The provenance is great. It's been in your possession since day one.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
As far as the dollar value goes on a piece like this, it's hard.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Because there's nothing to compare it to. For auction estimate value, I would say, easily, I would estimate this between $2,000 and $4,000.

GUEST:
Whoa.

APPRAISER:
Uh, his autograph itself is really probably not going to command that kind of money.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
But the fact that it's something that he did wear, he'd mentioned it, he tied the whole thing together in one package…

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
It's just wonderful. I mean it's an absolutely fantastic package. And that beanie's not bad, either. That's pretty cool. That's the original...?

GUEST:
Yeah, we finally found the Brownie hat.

APPRAISER:
The original Brownie hat.

GUEST:
We finally found it, that's right.

APPRAISER:
That's great.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Philip Weiss Auctions
Lynbrook, NY
Appraised value (2006)
$2,000 Auction$4,000 Auction
Event
Milwaukee, WI (July 29, 2006)
Form
Ephemera, Hat
Material
Cloth, Paper

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