1963 Jim Morrison Inscribed Book, “The History of Magic”

Value (2013) | $8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
I brought a book that was called The History of Magic. It was a Christmas gift to me. A roommate of mine in college, we exchanged Christmas gifts. I think I gave him a print or a drawing. I was an art student, and he gave me this.

APPRAISER:
Well, apparently you've read the book. You've kind of hounded it a little bit. All the edges are worn away.

GUEST:
Yeah, I've...it's not the kind of book you sit down and read cover to cover, but I've looked at it over the years.

APPRAISER:
It's also got wonderful illustrations in it.

GUEST:
Yeah, it does.

APPRAISER:
If you go in, there are actually pieces like this, which are old illuminated manuscript art. Old engraving. Engraving, wood cuts, et cetera, yeah.

GUEST:
The subject matter is, you know, mysterious and interesting.

APPRAISER:
I guess you say it's a compilation, which is true, and it was under the name of Kurt Seligmann, who put it out. But what interested me, you know, this book, I'm going to cut right to a value here for you. This book in this condition is worth about $100.

GUEST:
Oh, really.

APPRAISER:
However, when you had it at the table and you were talking to me, in here, I opened the flyleaf and I noticed who your college roommate was: Jim Morrison of The Doors.

GUEST:
That's right.

APPRAISER:
So all right, let's pounce on that. I have all kinds of questions for you, because I'm a Jim Morrison fan.

GUEST:
Oh, really? I met Jim Morrison, I was in a rooming house renting a room--this was in Tallahassee, Florida--and this other guy lived there and we got to be friends. We'd walk to school and so forth. And he was...it was Jim Morrison.

APPRAISER:
I see that he's inscribed it as a Christmas gift, "1963 from Jim Morrison." And he had been a Florida native, and Jim had bounced out to New Mexico and he ended up back at Florida State, where you were, and he decided to take a few classes. He kind of went in in typical Jim Morrison spirit, and I guess that he had a few run-ins. He was originally in a video that was promoting the college.

GUEST:
I remember that.

APPRAISER:
Really?

GUEST:
Yeah, and that's just a little part of a film that's promoting Florida State. It's really very... it's very dull.

APPRAISER:
Right. So what kind of a student was he? I'd hate to hear that he was, like, a shy and meek guy.

GUEST:
For his age, I'd say he was probably the most...intellectually deep person and well-read I ever met.

APPRAISER:
And he was 19 when you met him? 19, 20?

GUEST:
Probably, something like that.

APPRAISER:
He gave you the book on the occult. It's always been assumed that he had an interest in the occult.

GUEST:
Yeah, he did.

APPRAISER:
In the band, he often took on the name of the Lizard King.

GUEST:
All the band stuff came after I knew him.

APPRAISER:
Right.

GUEST:
And he was, I would say, interested in the idea that maybe people that are criminals are really saints and the saints are criminals.

APPRAISER:
He was so attractive to the public. There was a following after his death. He died young, you know, he has all the components of value. You know, beauty, early death, intelligent, wild. That's Jim Morrison to a tee. So this, what a wonderful early, early view into his life and, you know, his relationship with you as a young college kid. The value on this at auction with the occult level, if it weren't that book, I'd put $4,000 to $6,000 on it. But because it's that book, because it's early in his life, which generally doesn't help, I would say that the value on it is $8,000 to $10,000 at auction.

GUEST:
No kidding.

APPRAISER:
Yes.

GUEST:
Wow. I'm surprised at that.

APPRAISER:
When we're done here, you want to have a beer?

GUEST:
Yeah, we could. My daughter's here, she'd go along with it.

APPRAISER:
We'll take you over and I'd love to hear your stories. That'd be so awesome, yeah.

APPRAISER:
All right.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Timothy Gordon Appraisals
Missoula, Montana
Appraised value (2013)
$8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Event
Baton Rouge, LA (July 27, 2013)
Period
1960s
Form
Autograph, Book
Material
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.