Bob Hope Auction: Live on Auction Network

Beverly Hills is an excellent location for the Oct. 18-19 sale of the legendary Bob Hope estate. The sale features personal items, presidential mementos, sports collectibles and a rare and unique collection of radio, film and television items that mark the life and time of this incredible performer and humanitarian. It is being run by Julien’s Auctions. To add to the excitement and collector accessibility, Auction Network will be carrying the auction in real time, online.

I will have the good fortune to be a part of this sale working with Auction Network on site. Some of the items that I found of special interest are Lot 452, an original photograph of Bob Hope, photographer unknown, with an estimate, low in my opinion, of $100 to $150. The photo is a three-quarter pose showing Hope in a reflective mood. Has great collector appeal.

Lot 345, the Gruen Curvex Precision wristwatch engraved “Bob Hope, Hollywood Press Photographers” and an accompanying Movado rectangular wristwatch engraved “Bob Hope, The Cleveland Press Christmas Show 1944” are estimated together at $600 to $800. I feel that items such as these will have great appeal as they are of a personal nature.

Bob Hope ran for president?

Lot 447 has Bob Hope-for-president buttons. The pins, with Hope’s photograph, read “Hope for President NBC October 28 1980.” Estimate of $200 to $300 for a collection of 17 buttons.

An oil-on-canvas, half-length Hope portrait by American artist Louis Saphier carries an estimate of $1,000 to $1,500, which I predict will be blown out of the water.

Presidential Worthologist expert Tom Carrier thinks the Lot 98 photograph has merit because President Richard Nixon personally signed the photo of Hope and himself as opposed to most other presidential photos that were more than likely autopen signed. Carrier also feels this particular photo has significance due to the personal nature of the inscription, which reads “To Bob Hope, Like me the Nose is all, from Dick Nixon,” and the fact that Richard Nixon rarely signed his name on a dedication as “Dick.” To a collector, this piece is significant and will exceed its $400-to-$600 estimate.

Nixon cufflinks

Tom is also interested in Lot 101, a pair of presidential-seal cufflinks with an estimate of $1,000 to $1,500. The cufflinks were presented to Bob Hope by President Nixon and are designed in a polychrome-enamel over gold. They are accompanied by a personal letter from Nixon typed on White House stationery, dated September 8, 1972. What will give these cufflinks more value, according to Tom, is if there is an engraved signature of the president, as was usually the case, on the back. The catalog makes no mention of this, so I will be sure to flip them over when I’m there.

Chris Hughes, WorthPoint’s militaria specialist, is intrigued by Lot 10, army boots, probably worn by Hope on a USO tour. Hughes feels the boots will be interesting to a collector because they were a private purchase as opposed to standard issue. This sets them apart from the norm. He thinks the estimate of $75 to $100 is very good.

Chris also feels that Lot 28, a theater-made cap with hand-embroidered “Vietnam” on the front, part of the Special Services Entertainment of 1966, is different and collectible. The estimate of $40 to $60 is low. He believes Lots 59 and 64 to be significant. Lot 59, a Vietnam jungle jacket with USO and name tapes, embroidered with “Bob Hope #1 Citizen,” is very conservatively estimated at $200 to $300.

Personalized army boots

Chris sees Lot 64, army boots made by Genesco, as unique and underestimated at $100 to $150. These are not army issue but instead personalized with colorful side panels and would have even more potential value attached if connected with a specific USO show.

Chris and I both agree that Lot 177, a sterling-silver golf club made by Tiffany for Hope’s 95th birthday, is a highlight pick from the large collection of sporting memorabilia. The estimate of $2,000 to $3,000 is good going in and because of its uniqueness, will probably top much higher.

I think Lot 408 will be one of the favorites of the show—Bob Hope’s Native-American headdress. This headdress with red-and-white feathers on a beaded band was worn on the 1971 Fourth of July “Stars and Stripes Show” special and was also featured on the May 11, 1962, cover of Life magazine.

– Christopher Kent is a member of the WorthPoint board of advisers and director of evaluations for WorthPoint. He is also an antiques and collectibles generalist, fine-arts broker and president of CTK Design.

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