1898 Trans-Mississippi Items

Value (2004) | $2,955 Retail$3,165 Retail

GUEST:
The gentleman on the front row there, that is my great-great-grandfather. He was an Omaha native and he was not a policeman, he was a paid actor in the Trans-Mississippi Exposition that was here in Omaha in 1898. They paid these guys to walk around the fairgrounds dressed as English bobbies.

APPRAISER:
Sure, part of the atmosphere. And here's a picture of the fair itself.

GUEST:
Correct.

APPRAISER:
This is the actual bird's-eye view of the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition. It's by E.J. Austin. The original oil of this print is in the Durham Western Heritage Museum, which is just right up the street. During the six-month exposition, they would showcase a particular day. Colorado Day was this particular one on September 9. What I have heard, though, is that September 9 actually changed to Lumberjack's Day, so this poster was never used. So I believe it was just rolled up and packaged away for all these years and that's why it's in such good shape.

GUEST:
I had to have it framed, because every time I showed it off to someone, I would unroll it and something would happen to it-- a chunk would fall off or it would get a little tear in it.

APPRAISER:
You have also collected another version of the same bird's-eye view, in this case on a sheet-music piece. Tell us a little bit about that as well.

GUEST:
Well, this is "The Trans-Mississippi and International March and Two-Step." If you were to open it up, it's sheet music. If you were to compare it to the larger print up here, you'll find that there are some differences. As they printed these off of the original painting, E.J. Austin, the artist, would, you know, change things as they decided, well, they're going to build this building here and put this in the fairgrounds here. These are slightly different.

APPRAISER:
Well, in this larger bird's-eye view of this World's Fair here in Omaha, one of the things they promised people-- that there would be an airplane at this. Well, it never developed, because there wasn't any airplanes to show. The whole tradition of bird's-eye views in America was one of map makers. They would actually make a map, draw the buildings and then they would extrapolate what it looked like from a 45-degree angle. And it's sort of an irony that they have an airplane in here, because aerial photography is what ended up putting the bird's-eye view makers out of business. Any bird's-eye view is very popular. The prices being paid for them are quite substantial. If I had this in my shop, I would put $2,800 to $3,000 on this bird's-eye view.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
The piece of sheet music... Now, some of these things are still selling for $10 or $15, but you have Leon Crandall's autograph on this and it's a presentation copy. There's no reason that wouldn't be worth $125. The photograph, of course, that's purely a family thing. In a flea market or an antique shop, it would probably sell for $30, $40, but it's certainly, to you and your family, worth much, much more than that.

GUEST:
Correct.

APPRAISER:
This really was one of the main events in our history, probably the most spectacular thing to happen to us-- the World's Fair.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
The Philadelphia Print Shop
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Appraised value (2004)
$2,955 Retail$3,165 Retail
Event
Omaha, NE (July 10, 2004)
Period
19th Century
Material
Paper

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