1950s Television Personality Puppets

Value (2010) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Watch  

APPRAISER:
You told me you've been playing around with puppets for, like, 70 years?

GUEST:
Yeah, since I was a child. When I was a child, to see puppets was the greatest thing. And my mother visited her sister who lived in Vienna. So, I used to go to Vienna with her and she put me in to see this theater show, the“Punch and Judy.” I was so fascinated with “Punch and Judy.” I wanted to go every time. So every time she went to see her sister, she left me at the puppet show, “Punch and Judy” because she knew that's the place she'd find me. Later years, when I started with the WPA, I started to make little puppets, and they recognized that I could make bigger ones, too. So I started to make bigger puppets. I used to love to make celebrities.

APPRAISER:
These, obviously, you made in the early '50s.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
And what we have here is a window on 1950s television. You'd use these in nightclub acts and you played in Miami, you played in New York in the clubs.

GUEST:
Yes, yes, they love them. Yes.

APPRAISER:
Well, it's great we're here in Miami, that you came in and you brought some characters who ended up on television from Miami.

GUEST:
Yes, yes they did.

APPRAISER:
I mean, starting with the greatest, Jackie Gleason.

GUEST:
Gleason, yeah.

APPRAISER:
Ed Sullivan.

GUEST:
Ed Sullivan.

APPRAISER:
And Liberace.

GUEST:
Yes, well, I had the piano and his candelabra.

APPRAISER:
And Jack Paar, another great character.

GUEST:
And Jack Paar. Oh, yeah. Yeah, they all have mouth movements

APPRAISER:
Mouth working, and Jerry Lewis. There you are with Jerry Lewis.

GUEST:
Yeah, there's the picture.

APPRAISER:
And here's the schnozzola.

GUEST:
(laughing) Schnozzola, yeah, yeah, he's all right, eh? A-cha-cha-cha. A-cha-cha-cha.

APPRAISER:
Well, these are just fantastic.

(both laughing)

APPRAISER:
Oh, it's fabulous. What are these puppets made out of? They're sculpted, correct?

GUEST:
Well, these are made of plastic wood.

APPRAISER:
Well, they're great puppets, and 1950s, this is part of our history. Sculpturally they're fantastic.

GUEST:
Thank you, I appreciate that.

APPRAISER:
Not a lot of people collect puppets, but there are people who collect Jackie Gleason stuff. And there's people who collect nostalgic items from the '50s. So, it's a hard market to deduce. I think I would estimate these, as a group, conservatively, $10,000 to $15,000.

GUEST:
All of them?

APPRAISER:
All of them.

GUEST:
I've been offered for just Liberace, I've been offered $5,000.

APPRAISER:
Jackie Gleason, I think, is probably the most collectible here. But I really appreciate your bringing them by, because, you know, I love puppets.

GUEST:
It was a pleasure being with you.

APPRAISER:
Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, Pennsylvania
Appraised value (2010)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Event
Miami Beach, FL (July 10, 2010)
Form
Puppet
Material
Cloth, Composite

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.