Alka-Seltzer "Speedy" Figure

Value (2012) | $5,000 Auction$6,000 Auction

I was working at a bakery in Los Angeles in 1969, and my supervisor told me to throw all the junk out of the attic that was in the bakery, so I threw all the stuff out in a dumpster with the exception of Speedy. I thought he was kind of cute and thought I'd take him home.

So you took him home in 1969 and kept him there.

And when I moved back to Wisconsin, he came along with me.

What you have here is an absolutely wonderful advertising figure. I understand you've done a little bit of research trying to figure out the value.

The only Alka-Seltzer figures I saw were about six inches high, and they were about $150. I don't have a clue as to what something this big would be worth.

You're right: the little, small figures are the ones you see all the time, and they are worth $300 to $400, $500 depending on the condition. This is a wonderful piece. I've never seen this particular size before, and it is absolutely astounding. I would expect that a collector today would be thrilled to pay $4,000 to $5,000 for this incredible Speedy Alka-Seltzer.

Well, he's as good as gone.

What's that?

He's as good as gone.

Appraisal Details

Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, PA
Update (2012)
$5,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
Appraised value (1998)
$4,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Milwaukee, WI (June 20, 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.