Field Trip: Willie Nelson Objects
HOST: When Willie Nelson appeared on the first episode of Austin City Limits in 1974, he was at the beginning of a new chapter in his career. (SINGING): j& Whiskey River take my mind... j& HOST: One that would eventually make him a country music legend. Nelson had been a successful songwriter, but Austin, the live music capital of the world, embraced his laid-back outlaw style, and helped grow his reputation as a performer. ROADSHOW appraiser Laura Woolley met us at the University of Texas out of Austin to look at a few items from the country star's amazing life and music. Laura, the Briscoe Center has an extensive collection, and you've selected a few prime items to take a look at. And before we do that, let's talk about Willie Nelson.
Well, Willie Nelson is Texas' son. He was born in Abbott, Texas, on April 30, 1933, and went on to become obviously one of the greatest country singers I think the world's even known. HOST: And we'll start with these boots that are from another country western icon. These were Gene Autry's boots.
Yes. Gene Autry was actually one of Willie's heroes when he was a child. Willie had his first guitar at six, but he says it wasn't until he was about eight years old and used to travel to Hillsborough every weekend to watch Gene Autry and Roy Rogers on the big screen, the singing cowboys, that he knew exactly what he wanted to do, and he wanted to ride his horse, play his guitar, and shoot his gun, and become a singing cowboy, and that's exactly what he did. Gene Autry's widow gifted these boots to Willie Nelson after Gene Autry passed away in 1998. We also have the archives here of the Lucchese Company, another Texas institution, who made these boots. And in their files they have the paperwork showing a letter from 1954 from Gene Autry's wife writing to Lucchese, specifically ordering these boots and a couple of other pairs. Today at auction I would expect a pair of boots with this kind of provenance and this kind of story to sell anywhere between $7,000 and $10,000. HOST: They're incredible. And then we have this poster here, a concert poster. Tell me about this.
He was writing songs in Nashville. He moved there in 1960, and he had great success as a songwriter. But his phrasings were a little offbeat and artsy. He had very complex melodies that didn't fit in with some of the two and three-chord country songs of the time. So he actually found himself playing a lot of the Texas beer joints and commuting back and forth. In 1971, he decided it was time to pack it in, and leave Nashville, and head for home. It's called the Hello Walls poster, 1972. It's at the Armadillo World Headquarters, which is another institution in Austin. He's a little bit unrecognizable here. He doesn't have the braids and the beard that we're used to in this poster, but it's a great poster, and it's a wonderful moment in his career. This is a developing market. In the auction market and that kind of world it's quite young. Right now the market for posters like this is probably in the $100-$150 range. HOST: Tell me about this platinum record.
This is a platinum record award for one million copies sold of the album Always On My Mind. It actually eventually went triple platinum. The thing to look for when you see these is that they're from the RIAA, which is the Recording Industry Association of America, which is the official certification body in the United States. Anyone who was involved with the album might receive this as a thank you for their hard work in creating the success. So to have the one that's actually presented to the artist themselves is really the most important one. Because this one is his personal copy, at auction I would expect this anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000. HOST: Really great to see these examples here. And also incredible that he's given this collection to the Briscoe Center that we can enjoy. And thanks for sharing.
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.
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