Tobacco Card Collection, ca. 1885
GUEST 1: When my grandmother died, my father was cleaning out his bedroom, and in his closet, in his bedroom, he found the box with some other assorted things. When he opened up the box, he saw all of these cards in there with other odds and ends inside the writing box. So that's where the box comes from. GUEST 2: And when we looked in the box, we realized that the cards were very old, and they were in excellent condition, so of course, we're concerned about how much they're worth, and how to preserve them.
What we have here is the genesis of baseball card collecting, okay? This is the late 1880s, and these were tobacco cards. These were actually put in packs of tobacco as stiffeners. GUEST 1: Yeah.
Now, people collected them. Some people gave them to kids, some people pasted them in scrapbooks. These were put in this beautiful box and tucked away for 100 years. You don't really see that too often, okay? This first set here, these are called Allen and Ginter cards. And you can see the most beautiful color lithography you've ever seen, just fantastic. And here we have four of the best cards in this group. These are four Hall of Famers-- we have Tim Keefe, we have John Montgomery Ward, we have Charles Comiskey, who Comiskey Park is named after. GUEST 1: We recognized that name.
And Adrian "Cap" Anson. These are the best cards in this particular set. Now, you also have these right here. These are called Old Judge cards. These are also from the 1880s, and it's the first card to actually use a photographic image. And here we have three of your best ones in this collection, including Hugh Duffy, who's a Hall of Famer, Jim Mutrie, the manager of the New York Giants, and Buck Ewing. Here we have the most beautiful cards I've seen in years. I mean, these are just absolutely pack-fresh, if you will. So you have about 40 of these. Collectors look for condition. That's the number-one thing. They're also looking for the individual, obviously. As far as value is concerned now, I would estimate the collection that I see right here at approximately $12,000 to $15,000, okay? GUEST 1: Oh, my gosh, yeah.
It's a wonderful collection, it's very exciting to see, and thank you so much for coming in. GUEST 1: Thank you. GUEST 2: Thank you.
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.