Wanted Posters in Hotel Ledgers, ca. 1900
I got three books that looked like they were hotel ledgers down in a town near L.A. It looks like when the ledgers were brought in and people that had wanted posters to put in there, they just glued the wanted posters over the names.
So it was like a recycled use of these old ledgers. What I imagine, that the hotel would have kept a record for criminals and wanted people, missing people, and wanted to collect them in some way that they could refer to them to make sure that they weren't in their hotel or, you know, they could tip off whoever to make sure that they were caught. It's an amazing record, and that's what's unusual. We sometimes see one poster, we see two posters, but to get this many-- and you've got three volumes-- and each one has hundreds of bits of ephemera we call it. You've told me that you saw in there one of the most notorious criminals of the turn of the century. Because this is from the late 1890s through the early 1904, 1905, I think I saw. And in here, when you look, if you look pretty carefully through these, we see a wanted circular, they call this. And it would have been put out by the Pinkertons, the great detective agency. And the man by the name of George Parker, whose alias we know much better as Butch Cassidy. So, what we have here is actually a Butch Cassidy wanted circular, which is extremely collectible and very valuable in our estimation. And the other great poster, if you could just help me open this out, this circular that was also put out by Pinkerton's. This one includes our old friend here, Parker, Butch Cassidy, but then here, Sundance-- Sundance Kid, who also was under the alias. His real name is Harry Longabaugh. So, I mean, this is an amazing survivor. In that way, this is like what we always hope to see on the ROADSHOW, is something that can escape time. Do you have any idea about value? Have you done some work on what you think it may be worth?
You know, I've gone to a couple local appraisers, and it's all over their head, they say. So I've called around and I've done a lot of research over the last 15, 20 years on the Internet, and it's hard to find wanted posters for that.
It's hard when you have all these different facets to it and how many pieces. Can I ask how much you paid for these three volumes?
It was actually a neighbor that I think maybe got them in some type of sale probably 100 years ago. She was an antique collector and she passed away. And her son inherited them, so he basically just passed these books on to me and wanted me to keep them and go through them.
So you were given them, they were a gift.
They were given to me, yes.
Excellent. Just, for example, the one broadside that we were looking at, the circle here, this has come up and has sold at auction and I think it was a $15,000 range, something like that. That doesn't surprise me. I haven't seen it for condition. It may not have been mounted, which is something to consider. But with that in mind, the fact that there's three posters, we believe, in here-- I know there's two that I saw in the time that I had with this-- based on that value and what else I saw in there, other potentially interesting things-- it's the kind of thing we would probably want to put in auction at $40,000 to $60,000 on. That's a very broad but a good number, and I know at auction, you'll get the kind of participation that would raise this to a price probably beyond. So, it's a wonderful thing. On conservation, when something is worth that much and in this kind of a setting where this paper can brown-- it's got acidic qualities to it-- it will eventually brown and eat into these papers. They've been mounted. God knows what kind of glue was used. It was probably something very, very bad for paper. So you do want to consider the possibility of getting in touch with an archive conservation center, because many of these things will only exist in maybe one or unknown other copies. So some of these could be extremely rare. Thank you for bringing it in. It was a real nice, beautiful thing.
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.
Walt Disney | AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Coming to American Experience September 14 & 15 is the unprecedented look at the complex life and enduring legacy of one of America’s best-known storytellers – Walt Disney
Arthur & George
Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) stars as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a three-part MASTERPIECE Mystery! adaptation of the novel by Julian Barnes. Airs Sundays, September 6-20