Lindbergh Kidnapping Trial Archive, ca. 1932
Well, my great-grandfather David Miller Kline, he took care of the jailer for the... Hauptmann during the Lindbergh trial.
And so a lot of these pieces were part of a collection in the family, and then they donated part of the collection to the New Jersey State Police Museum in Trenton.
Lindbergh in 1927—called "Lucky" Lindbergh—did the first solo transatlantic flight. And he was an instant success. He was good-looking, he was charming, he was eloquent, and America instantly fell in love with him like a sweetheart. So when this terrible tragedy happened on March 1, 1932, his baby of 20 months old was kidnapped. It was a sensation. In fact, it was called the "crime of the century." And the baby was found dead close to the property. So since your great-grandfather was involved with this trial, we have some really interesting memorabilia here. We have the original signs, the wanted posters. The law enforcement poster shows the specimens of handwriting that were found on the alleged kidnappers, which eventually were linked back to them. These posters obviously were in the thousands put up all over the place, and then ripped down because they found the child. And so, so unusual to see these in a condition that's not folded, crumpled. The fact that they still exist is wonderful. But this trial was a circus. America was just furious, and there was such an interest to have souvenirs and to sell artifacts from this. So one of the pieces you have is a first-day cover, which has an imprint on it of the infamous ladder that incriminated Hauptmann, because he was a carpenter, and the way he put this handmade ladder together was part of the incriminating evidence. Also, we have another piece, this penny. They stood outside the courthouse at the time and imprinted the penny with these courthouse imprints on them. You also came up with this Lindbergh-signed first-day cover. We also see here the very ticket that you needed in order to attend. It's a wonderful collection, you've brought big volumes of things. The posters in general in this condition at auction would bring between $2,000 and $3,000. And the extra material that you have just here would add another $1,000 to $1,500. Thank you so much for bringing this in.
Thank you, Miss Kathleen.
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.