Owner Interview: 1936 Lou Gehrig Autograph
I found out that this postcard autograph of Lou Gehrig is worth $10,000. INTERVIEWER: How did that feel?
I'm still stunned. INTERVIEWER: What was it like to learn that it was a real signature?
Well, that was actually my first question and I was relieved because I paid a lot to frame it. I didn't want to frame a worthless piece of paper. I have a lot of rabid baseball fans in the family and this will excite them tremendously. Well, I think when you hear Lou Gehrig most people today think of ALS, what used to be called Lou Gehrig's Disease, and what a classy man he was the way that he admitted that he had reached the point where he had to leave baseball. What a hero he was in the way in which he did it. This was out of a scrapbook and there was another signature and that was Joe Medwick, but that's a player that not too many people remember anymore. It was something that belonged to my husband's grandfather and so, of course, there's the sentimental value from that. It's a treasure. INTERVIEWER: It is a treasure.
I didn't realize what a treasure it was. INTERVIEWER: Do you think that you'll start collecting other kinds of autographs after this?
I don't think so. INTERVIEWER: No?
How do you top this one?
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.