Buddy “L” Toys, ca. 1925

Value (2012) | $1,200 Auction$1,400 Auction
Watch  

APPRAISER:
So John, how did you come by these?

GUEST:
Well, these were given to me by some friends of the family about 1938. Their boys were too old to play with them. And I've had them ever since.

APPRAISER:
Well, somebody took some good care of these toys.

GUEST:
Well, I only played with them in the house. I don't think I ever took them outside, because I was always told that they were kind of special.

APPRAISER:
Oh, well, that's great because toys like this often do not turn up in really, really great condition, because a lot of times they were played with outside. They were made by a company called Buddy L, who probably made some of the finest what we call pressed steel toys ever made. When you think of Buddy L, normally you think of these big trucks, like the Tonka trucks of today, because Buddy L is most famous for those. The man who started the company was in the business of making fenders for full-size cars. And he was so tired of seeing his son's toys getting so broken up that he started making toys out of the same gauge steel that he was making full-size car fenders out of.

GUEST:
Very interesting.

APPRAISER:
We can identify these easily because you can still see the original red and gold decal, the classic decal, on the bottom. As I said, Buddy L is normally known for the big trucks, but this is a series very popular with collectors today that is called the Flivver series, because they're based all on the classic Model T Ford of the mid-'20s. This is what we call the Flattop Roadster, and this is called the Roadster Pickup. And as I said, they're absolutely wonderful condition. What would you think maybe something like this might be worth on today's market?

GUEST:
Maybe $100 for the pair.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, that would be nice. Well, I'll tell you, this one right here, it's in remarkable condition, complete with the operating steering wheels and everything. This one at auction I think could very easily bring $1,000. Now, on the other hand, this little roadster here, this little roadster pickup, it's a little rarer than that. Very desirable to have this... what we call a convertible top here on the top. In absolutely incredible condition. An example in this quality I would fully expect at auction to bring $1,600 to $1,700.

GUEST:
That's excellent. Makes them worth saving.

APPRAISER:
Worth saving.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, PA
Update (2012)
$1,200 Auction$1,400 Auction
Appraised value (1998)
$2,500 Auction$2,700 Auction
Event
Richmond, VA (August 28, 1998)
Period
20th Century
Form
Car
Material
Steel

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.