Vintage Queen Mary Collectibles
HOST: Before commercial air travel took off in the mid 20th century, the most comfortable way to cross the Atlantic was on a huge, stately ship: an ocean liner. The RMS Queen Mary began its voyage in 1934. It was one of the finest, fastest ocean liners of its time. During World War II, the vessel was recruited as a troop ship, and since 1971, it has operated as a tourist attraction and hotel right here in Long Beach, California. ROADSHOW met up with appraiser Philip Weiss to tour the ship and to take a look at some treasures of the Queen Mary's glorious past. HOST: Phil, tell me a little bit of history about the Queen Mary.
Mark, the Queen Mary has a very rich history. The Cunard line and White Star line merged and formed the Cunard White Star line, and on September 26, 1934, the Queen Mary launched. Besides being an ocean liner for pleasure cruises, it also became very important during the Second World War as a ship that was converted to transport troops. HOST: We have a poster from the heyday of the Queen Mary right here. Tell me about this poster.
What we're looking at, Mark, it's a one-sheet poster, which refers to the size, 29 by 40 inches. It's a great poster depicting the Queen Mary coming into New York Harbor. The poster is signed by the artist, Tom Curr, and it was done circa 1939. HOST: And this is a poster that we can find today and possibly purchase if it's something we want to collect?
Yeah, absolutely. At auction, I would probably estimate it at somewhere about $1,000 to $2,000. HOST: Tell me about this tea set.
It's a partial tea set. There are two demitasses. You have a cup and saucer, a creamer, sugar bowl, and the teapot itself. It's marked "Foley China." This is made a little bit later, circa 1950s, and very desirable, very collectible but not uncommon at all. You could have had 1,000 if not tens of thousands of pieces made for one individual cruise. And again, it doesn't diminish the desirability of it because there are so many people out there who love to collect this type of stuff. HOST: What would be the value of a set like this?
I would say as a group, at auction, I would estimate it at $300 to $500. HOST: We also have a uniform that has quite a storied history. Tell me about that.
Yes, we do, it's the uniform from Commodore Geoffrey Thrippleton Marr, and Commodore Marr started aboard the Queen Mary in 1938 as a junior third officer who had a long history on the ship and became captain of the Queen Mary as well as the Queen Elizabeth. HOST: What would be the value of a uniform like that?
I would probably estimate a uniform like that at auction at $3,000 to $5,000. HOST: Well, it's great to see all this wonderful memorabilia right here in the wheelhouse of the Queen Mary. Thanks, Bill.
Thanks, Mark, appreciate it.
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.
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