Antiques and Collectibles at the American Presidential Experience

When I ask visitors to the WorthPoint booth at the American Presidential Experience what type of antiques and collectibles they collect, the answer is most often, “Nothing, nothing at all.” Until I ask a few other questions, then they begin to remember that, “Yes, I have a few of this or that.”

On the other hand, some will be rather specific as to the antiques they’ve inherited or have acquired over the years, although few will consider themselves any kind of expert. When told about WorthPoint and how it can help them evaluate what they have, they are usually very interested and quite delighted to have a credible place to turn to when it is time to sell.

So, over the past two days, I’ve been cataloguing the many different types of collectibles and antiques that folks seem to remember they have at home. As you might expect, stamps and coins, furniture and books rate as the most collected. The value of a Victorian dresser excited one “accidental” collector from Denver when Thom Pattie, our chief Worthologist, placed the value at about $1,000.

For kids, their collections consist of Legos, trains, Matchbox cars, Webkinz and the usual baseball and sports cards.

Autographed John F. Kennedy program

The most awe-inspiring item that came to us was a signed program from a fundraising dinner held in Seattle in 1959. It was a political event to benefit the campaign of a relatively unknown junior senator from Massachusetts named John F. Kennedy. It was also signed by his wife,
Jacqueline. This unusual political item has a value today of $1,000 to $1,500.

Another great item was a book jointly signed by Bess and Harry Truman, another particularly unusual presidential item, with a value of $450 to $600.

What do people collect? People told me they collect thimbles, Royal Doulton, a signed Mickey Mantle baseball, Candlewick china, an original Colorado state flag, Disney movie cells, railroad badges, all manner of weapons including a Daisy rifle, elaborate tally sheets for the game of
bridge in the early 1900s, a Victrola, school textbooks, paintings by C.W. Russell, Winnie the Pooh cookie jars, a John Denver signed photo with both his professional and given name (Henry John Deutschendorf Jr.), a Singer sewing machine dating from the 1920s and even $2 bills.

Collect the chickens, hold the mayo

In fact, one lady told me she collects anything and everything with chickens. I told her I collected chickens. too—on bread and with mayonnaise.

One of the “accidental” collectors I talked with told me she had a collection of old National Geographic magazines. As we talked, we discovered she had some very notable ones such as the November 1917 special flag issue featuring international flags, many of which no longer exist. That special issue has a value upward of $75 today. The July 1959 and 1960 issues feature the new 49- and 50-star U.S. flags with values of $10 to $15, much more than the usual $1 to $3 for general issues.

So, even if you don’t “have” a collection, you can still use WorthPoint to tell you about the “ordinary” things you do have. That is how WorthPoint helps you get the most from your antiques and collectibles.

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