1935 Will Rogers & Wiley Post Autographs & Photographs

Value (2008) | $18,000 Auction$20,000 Auction

GUEST:
My great-grandparents and my grandparents lived in Alaska, and they homesteaded in the Fairbanks area, on the Chena River. And it was a wide place in the river, so floatplanes could land on it, and Pacific Alaska Airways used to tie up their aircraft at my grandfather's homestead. And when Wiley Post flew to Alaska with his friend Will Rogers, they stopped at my grandfather's homestead in August of 1935. They did some tours and hung around town for a while, and then on the day that they were to fly to Point Barrow, my father and my aunts and uncles that lived there at the homestead ran up to them at the float landing and asked for their autographs. And these are photographs of my father and aunt and uncles getting the autographs. A few hours later, they crashed and both were killed and it created a big national mourning era.

APPRAISER:
Let's start with the autographs. Here's the autograph booklet, and here is Wiley Post's autograph. This is Wiley Post, right?

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
He was, along with Lindbergh, one of the pioneers of... sort of aeronautical daring. He would go to tremendous heights for that time. They were all daredevils.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Pushing the envelope of airplane flight at the time. And here's Will Rogers. Now, it's hard to get across how really famous Will Rogers was at the time. He was the fellow who had the lariat, and he used to give these long monologues. He was the one who had great lines like, "I don't belong to any organized party; I'm a Democrat." I mean, just all... "I never met a guy I didn't like." Of course, that was his most famous. That was his tag line. And he was really a megastar of his time. Now, this is the autograph book. And if we go up here, And here's Wiley Post signing this book.

GUEST:
Correct.

APPRAISER:
And this is photographs of the crash.

GUEST:
Correct; yes. A native that witnessed the crash ran 12 miles to Barrow to report the crash, and they came back with whale boats and stuff to figure out what happened, and those were the pictures that were taken.

APPRAISER:
This is the original front page of the Anchorage Daily Times.

GUEST:
Correct.

APPRAISER:
For August 15, 1935. But this was front page in every newspaper in America. It's also a fascinating piece of Alaska aviation history. It comes to the time we have to put a value on all this. Now, it's seldom that you have this kind of documentation. You can see the actual autograph book being signed by a famous person and then have the actual autograph. It's sort of bullet-proof authentication. The auction value of this autograph book with the documentation, of course, accompanying it, would be $18,000 to $20,000.

GUEST:
Wow!

APPRAISER:
It's hard to put a monetary value on it for the family.

GUEST:
Well, thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
Los Angeles, California
Appraised value (2008)
$18,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Event
Palm Springs, CA (June 07, 2008)
Period
20th Century
Material
Ink, Paper

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.