Lone Ranger & Tonto Dolls, ca. 1930

Value (2012) | $1,000 Auction$1,200 Auction

Originally, they were my father's. He got them for Christmas when he was nine years old, 1938.

Well, the Lone Ranger was one of the great radio shows in the 1930s. And in the 1950s, it was one of the first of the national television shows. One of the great western characters and one of the great characters of American popular culture. And what you have here are just two remarkable dolls. Tonto, his faithful Indian companion, the Lone Ranger here. What's intriguing is these dolls came with so many accessories. And what is so rare is when you have all of them together. Even the hat with the paper hat band has survived saying, "Lone Ranger." You have the original string tag. You have Tonto's rubber knife. You have the original cap guns. Even his badge. You even have remnants of an original box, with the original price of $3.50. It's very rare to find these dolls in that kind of condition. Especially considering that the dolls themselves were made out of composition, which is like, basically, pressed sawdust and glue. So they're in a remarkable state of preservation. The last Lone Ranger I've heard of selling at auction in the original box brought $1,300.

By itself?

By itself.

Oh, boy.

So now you have the Lone Ranger and Tonto. I'd say the pair on today's market would easily bring $2,000.


Appraisal Details

Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, PA
Update (2012)
$1,000 Auction$1,200 Auction
Appraised value (1998)
$2,000 Auction
Los Angeles, CA (August 01, 1998)

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.