Pearl Harbor Buttons, ca. 1941

Value (2012) | $1,000 Auction$1,500 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
My dad was in Pearl Harbor when they bombed Pearl Harbor at the time, and he was on a ship called the U.S.S. Tern, which was a minesweeper and commonly known as a bird boat. And I believe from the time after that, he had joined into the Pearl Harbor Survivors, the association. And he started picking up these pins and buttons over the amount of years. He passed away about eight years ago, and my mom turned around and gave them to me and said she thought I should have them.

APPRAISER:
This material was produced after Pearl Harbor. Of course, it was a traumatic event in our history. To be so unprepared for something. And we turned it around to create an incentive to energize people's interest in the war effort. And these were all produced shortly after that period to a great extent, as incentive pieces. Now, I've had, over the years, several of these pieces through my hands. Some of them are fairly common. Some of the buttons, like "Remember Pearl Harbor," turn up with great regularity. And they sell in the $15 to $20 range. But some of these pieces I've never seen before. This one here, the three bombs, "Remember Pearl Harbor." I think it's just an amazing example of what we call war jewelry. And another interesting piece is this compact, which is a lady's compact. And it's in excellent condition. Some of this jewelry work over here is extremely rare. They were done in Hawaii mostly and didn't even come over to the mainland. So he was quite an avid collector.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
When did he start to talk about this event with you?

GUEST:
He didn't talk about Pearl Harbor until the '70s.

APPRAISER:
Really?

GUEST:
Yeah. And I'd asked him about it, and he really didn't elaborate on it at all. And later in life he even started talking about what the damages were, what he saw. Because he was on the ship that turned, went over, and it helped the sailors that were killed on the Arizona.

APPRAISER:
Oh, really?

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Which is the monument.

GUEST:
But you know, it made me think, as I see this picture of this woman right here and I wonder where she is now.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, it's so evocative, these old photographs. What happened to those people, and where are they? Well, these were very effective tools in the war effort. Well, this type of thing is always difficult to put a value on because you have to start adding up the individual pieces, which I was doing when you first brought it to my table. And you would have here, in aggregate, a value of something between $700 and $1,000.

GUEST:
That much?

APPRAISER:
Oh, yeah. Well, some of these pieces just don't appear.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
Los Angeles, CA
Update (2012)
$1,000 Auction$1,500 Auction
Appraised value (1998)
$700$1,000
Event
Los Angeles, CA (August 01, 1998)
Form
Pin

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.