1938 Ray Jerome Baker Book, “Hawaii, the Isle of a Thousand Wonders”
I'm one of those people that likes to look for what other people throw out. I looked in a Dumpster at a local park, and I found a bunch of books. And this was one of them, and I thought it was really unique.
It's a book called Hawaii, the Isle of a Thousand Wonders. It's a nondescript library binding of rather cheap cloth. This is the original cloth binding. As we see, they were photographed and arranged by a man called Ray Jerome Baker, who was born in Illinois in 1880, and he died in 1972. So he was 92 when he died. He spent a lot of his time in California until his late 20s, when he befriended Jack London. He was a photographer. And he had a charge against him in California of pornographic photography. And in 1910, he went to Hawaii, where he seems to have lived ever since. And he became a filmmaker and a photographer and a significant book publisher. Here we have the title page, giving the date of publication. But rather like an old book, he does it as a colophon at the end. And here he is. "Photographer, but also publisher of fine books." And here we have him talking about Hawaii, the big island. And each of these books he published has the especially prepared guard sheet with the title. And there are very fine photographs that he took of views in the big island.
Any idea on how many of these might have been published?
There isn't a note of that, but one has to believe that it was a small edition. I would have thought 500 or maybe 1,000. Hawaiian books, and particularly books with early photographs, are collected. And the works of Ray Jerome Baker are sought after. The only comparable I can find at a recent auction was at a specialist sale of Hawaiian books in 2004 in New York, where a similar title, but published three years later, in 1941, brought $4,750.
Oh, my goodness.
This being earlier, and being focused on the big island, I would have thought would have an auction value today of $5,000 to $6,000.
I like it.
So you did very well in the Dumpster.
Current Appraised Value: $5,000 - $6,000 (Unchanged)
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.