1937 Hindenburg Relic Grouping
My dad was in the Marines, and when the Hindenburg crashed in Lakehurst, New Jersey, his unit was sent to guard it till they had the investigation about why it crashed. Some of the guys picked up some of the stuff they were throwing out, and...
So he could pick whatever he wanted.
I love this note that he typed. "I was in D Company, 5th Marines, stationed in Quantico, Virginia, on May 6, 1937, when our company was called to Lakehurst, New Jersey. The German dirigible Hindenburg had burned and crashed on landing. My company was assigned to guard the wreckage while the investigation was carried on," and it's signed by your father. It's a great display. And obviously, a lot of folks know the story behind the Hindenburg. It was on its transatlantic voyage, and it suddenly burst into flames, the hydrogen core. Folks probably remember, "Oh, the humanity!" And so much debris fell, and obviously, there were lives lost, so it had to be a controlled site. What's interesting about this grouping is that you've got so many different types of material. You have a pull rope, part of the metal strut, which is the thing we more commonly see. You have here this labeled "upholstery." I think it might actually be canvas from the skin of the airship.
Oh, it could be.
But that would require a little bit more examination. Plus, you have the window section, which is very unusual. And plus, you can see what had happened to it, it's charred and started to melt. So this type of grouping at auction, because with the solid provenance of your father being an actual guard on site, I would say we're somewhere in the $5,000 to $7,000.
And for insurance, I'd be at, like, $10,000.
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.