Ernest Hemingway Signed Hat and Book, ca. 1935

Value (2010) | $4,500 Retail$6,750 Retail

It's a small collection of memorabilia from a dude ranch that my grandmother was part owner in in the late '30s. Ernest Hemingway wrote a couple of books up there while he stayed there. He spent a part of five different summers between 1928 and 1939. And this is a picture of a cabin that was built for him. This is a hat that all the guests signed, and it's kind of a veritable who's who of Cody, Wyoming. But Ernest Hemingway signed it here. And this is my grandmother here that owned the ranch.

You also had a book that Ernest Hemingway had at the ranch. And he was good enough to leave his signature in it.

That's correct.

A lot of places-- you go to hotels, you go to estates and they have a guest book. And you walk in and you have the normal guest book that people sign their name in, maybe they add a little here or there. But it's a book. You have a hat. The Hemingway signature is right here. Now, it's also... what was the L-Bar-T...


So it says where he is, but then it goes around and tells sort of a history of the other people who were out here visiting. Now, were they all visitors to the ranch?

No, a lot of them were either outlaws or dignitaries in Cody, Wyoming. There was a lot of ranch owners, dude ranch owners. Here's my grandfather. He had the Diamond Bar ranch. Here's Frost Richards, which was a big dude outfit. Under this hat band there's a little signature here that is Lee Molesworth of Molesworth Furniture. Lee was his son and he snuck in and signed this hat in an obscure place. There are just a lot of people who were of some importance and/or happened to stop by and sign the hat that lived in Cody in the late '30s.

As far as value goes, the book, it happens to be a copy of Swiss Family Robinson. If you didn't have this book signed by Ernest Hemingway, it has no value. None. It's not in good condition. The fact that it's signed by Ernest Hemingway, probably $500 to $750.

I'll be darned.

That is a retail value. It's not a Hemingway book. If it had been one of his, it would be worth much more. The hat is the real thing, though. I think where the real value of this comes in is historically, researching, looking up, checking who all the other people on the hat are, and then somebody locally is just going to go wild for it. It would be such a showpiece. I think, conservatively, this is a $4,000 to $6,000 hat.

Oh, you're kidding.

And with further research, I think it could even go a lot higher.

Appraisal Details

Brattle Book Shop
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2010)
$4,500 Retail$6,750 Retail
Billings, MT (June 26, 2010)
20th Century
Autograph, Book, Hat

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