Owner Interview: 1960 Inscribed "To Kill A Mockingbird"
INTERVIEWER: All right, Tay, tell me about your experience on Roadshow today.
It has been the most exciting day ever! My book, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” which is signed by Nelle Harper Lee, it was inscribed to my grandmother, Tay, who I was named after. My grandmother was Tay Hohoff, who was the editor of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” When the book came out, my mother and dad and I were living in Tuscaloosa, and my mother threw these great cocktail parties. And I was about six, and I got to be part of the cocktail party if I acted like an adult. Well, I gather at some point in the evening, I was not adult enough, and I got sent to the back porch. I'm sitting on the back porch, feeling very sorry for myself, and who comes and sits with me but Nelle Harper Lee. And we sit on the back porch and talk for about half an hour. And the story goes, that pretty much everybody had left the party by the time we came back in. INTERVIEWER: Did you end up meeting any other kinds of writers or have any other adventures because of ...
Well, I've had a lot of adventures. But when I met Harper Lee, it was also about the same time that I got to meet Truman Capote. Because my grandmother was an editor for Lippincott, and that's who published his books. INTERVIEWER: So where do you keep this book at home right now?
It's been in the plastic bag on the shelf. Bad, bad girl. Ken told me that I needed to get, I believe it's glycine, to put around the book to help keep it from getting any more torn up. And now that I've been here and I know better, I won't put it back in its little plastic bag. I promise. INTERVIEWER: Do you have any plans for the book after ROADSHOW?
Yeah, I gonna be putting it in the safety deposit box. Ken told me that, with the inscription, it would be worth at least $12,000 to $15,000 and perhaps a little more. So yeah, obviously we don't get rid of these things, but perhaps somewhere safer. INTERVIEWER: Do you ever have any relatives that read “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and have you let them read from that copy?
I'm not letting anybody touch this! Go buy a new copy. INTERVIEWER: Perfect, perfect.
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.
Summer Night Concerts
Relax with four amazing concerts from the Vienna Philharmonic and special guests.