Ten Valuable St. Louis Browns Baseball Collectibles

The St. Louis Browns were in existence from 1902 to 1953. Valuable St. Louis Browns baseball collectibles included signed baseballs, 1944 World Series programs, team issued baseball cards, souvenir stadium pennants, American League championship rings,

The old St. Louis Browns evoke a lot of memories for those old enough to remember. The Browns began their American League career as the Milwaukee Brewers in 1901, moving to St. Louis the following year where they played their first game at Sportsman's Park on April 23, 1902. Not the most successful franchise in baseball history, the Browns – often overshadowed by their cross-town National League rivals the St. Louis Cardinals – made only one World Series appearance in their history. That came in 1944, where they lost to the Cardinals four games to two. The Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954 and became the Orioles, capturing World Series titles in 1966, 1970 and 1983.

Here are ten valuable St. Louis Browns baseball collectibles that are sure to interest both Brownie fans and sports memorabilia buffs. "First in booze, first in shoes and last in the American League," hometown sportswriters once wrote of St. Louis and its hapless Browns.

St. Louis Browns 1942 Autographed Baseball

In 1942 the St. Louis Browns compiled a record of 82-69, good for a third place finish. An Official American League baseball from that year signed by 23 Browns players, including Rick Ferrell, Al Zarilla, Mike Kreevich, Joe Schultz, Steve Sundra, Al Hollingsworth and Vern Stephens, sold at auction for $334.60.

St. Louis Browns 1942 signed baseball $334.60 - Heritage Auction Galleries

St. Louis Browns Don Gutteridge 1944 American League Championship Ring

The Browns captured their only American League pennant in 1944 with an 89-65 record. Don Gutteridge played second base for the Browns and earned a league championship ring that year. Gutteridge's worn 14K gold Browns pennant ring brought $7,170 at auction. During his 12-year career in the big leagues, Gutteridge had played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Don Gutteridge's 1944 St. Louis Browns championship ring $7,170 - Heritage Auction Galleries

St. Louis Browns 1950s Souvenir Pennant

A St. Louis Browns souvenir stadium pennant from the early 1950s measuring 29 inches in excellent condition sold at auction for $107.55.

St. Louis Browns 1950s pennant $107.55 - Heritage Auction Galleries

St. Louis Browns 1941 W753 Team Issued Cards

The St. Louis Browns issued their own 29-card baseball set in 1941 at a price of 25 cents. Designated W753 in the standard baseball card catalog, a set in near mint-mint condition with every player card bearing an original autograph – including ones for Luke Sewell, Rick Ferrell, Johnny Beradino, Bill Trotter, Zack Taylor, Fritz Ostermueller, et al. – fetched a top bid of $2,151. An unsigned set is valued at $850-1,000.

St. Louis Browns 1941 signed baseball card set $2,151 - Heritage Auction Galleries

St. Louis Browns 1944 World Series Program

It was an all St. Louis World Series in 1944, where the Cardinals bested the Browns four games to two. A 1944 Fall Classic program from Sportsman's Park in excellent condition sold at auction for $215.10.

St. Louis Browns/St. Louis Cardinals 1944 World Series program $215.10 - Heritage Auction Galleries

St. Louis Browns 1944 World Series Press Pin

The 1944 World Series was played exclusively at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, pitting the hometown Browns vs. the hometown Cardinals. A Browns World Series press pin (the Cardinals had their own version) – worn by members of the media – in fine condition sold at auction for $334.60.

St. Louis Browns Lin Storti Home Jersey

St. Louis Browns baseball jerseys are huge with collectors. A game-used #24 Browns home jersey worn by utility infielder Lin Storti in 1933 sold at auction for $7,540. Storti played in the major leagues for only four years – 1930-34 – and all with the Browns.

Lin Storti 1933 St. Louis Browns home jersey  $7,540 - Robert Edward Auctions

St. Louis Browns Armando Marsans 1916 Player's Contract

An American League Player's Contract, dated April 12, 1916, between Cuban player Armando Marsans and the St. Louis Browns brought $2,644 at auction. Both Marsans, who had come from a wealthy Cuban family, and Browns club president Branch Rickey signed the contract, which called for an annual salary of $5,000 in 1917 along with a $1,000 bonus. Rickey of course made baseball history 30 years later when he signed Jackie Robinson for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Pete Gray's St. Louis Browns Baseball Cap

A St. Louis Browns baseball cap from 1945 attributed to player Pete Gray sold at auction for $1,880. Gray, who had only one arm, played but one year in the major leagues. That came in 1945 when he played in 77 games for the Browns and collected 51 hits for a batting average of .218. Many returning veterans from World War II who had lost limbs took great inspiration in Pete Gray's story.

Pete Gray's 1945 St. Louis Browns cap $1,880 - Robert Edward Auctions

St. Louis Browns Eddie Gaedel Signed Photograph

On August 19, 1951, St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck (that's "Veeck as in wreck") sent midget (or little person today) Eddie Gaedel (1925-1961) to the plate as a pinch hitter to face the Detroit Tigers' Bob Cain. Because of his small stature (3'7" and 65 pounds) Gaedel walked, with Major League Baseball immediately banning all midgets thereafter. Gaedel, who made baseball history, later worked as a mascot for Mercury Records. Eddie Gaedel was mugged and murdered in Chicago, Illinois, on June 18, 1961. A super rare Mercury Records real photo postcard autographed by Gaedel brought $6,960 at auction.

Eddie Gaedel signed postcard $6,960 - Robert Edward Auctions

St. Louis Browns 1952 Bowman Baseball Card Bob Cain Original Art

Southpaw Bob "Sugar" Cain toiled in the big leagues for five years, playing for the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Browns. It was Cain, then a Detroit Tiger, who walked midget Browns player Eddie Gaedel in 1951. The original artwork for card #19 Bob Cain in the 1952 Bowman baseball card series sold at auction for $3,735.50.

Bob Cain 1952 Bowman original card art $3,735.50 - Robert Edward Auctions

Yes, that's eleven items – but the Browns were "special" in more ways than one...

St. Louis Browns Credits & Top Image

  • Auction results and images courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas, Texas, and Robert Edward Auctions, LLC, Watchung, New Jersey
  • Top image: St. Louis Browns 1940s mini pennant $39 - Heritage Auction Galleries

Copyright © 2012 William J. Felchner. All rights reserved. 


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Collecting P. K. Silesia Porcelain

P. K. Silesia porcelain pieces are nice vintage collectibles. They were made in Silesia (formerly in Germany and now in Poland) from the 1880s until World War II. But the company was first started in 1860 and its still producing ceramics today. Its vintage porcelain has a lot of antique charm.

The hardest thing about collecting P. K. Silesia ceramics ware is the name.

P. K. stands for Porzellanfabrik Koenigszelt.  Porzellanfabrik is German for “porcelain factory.”  Koenigszelt is the town near the factory’s location, in Silesia in northeastern Germany.

Even the town’s name has a complicated history.  When the railroad was extended into northeastern Germany in the 1840’s, one of the junctions ended up out in the country.  So railroad officials needed to come up with a name for that junction.  Someone suggested Koenigszelt, or “king’s tent” because he thought that Frederick the Great might have pitched his tent nearby during the Seven Years War.  That sounded good, and the railroad went with it.

A town was established near the junction, mostly to provide homes for railroad workers.  Then in 1860 an entrepreneur named Silber built a ceramics factory there, because of access to the railway and because there were clay and coal deposits nearby.  His production costs were so low that he outsold most of his competition.  The factory attracted investors, and grew quickly.

At that time the company was called Porzellanfabrik Silber and Co.  It changed hands a couple of times and ended up as Porzellanfabrik Koenigszelt, or P.K., in 1886.  The company continued to expand and did quite a bit of exporting.  By 1930 it had 1000 employees.

For a while P. K. Silesia had the sole concession to create Mickey Mouse and other Disney images in porcelain.  Hitler apparently was not a fan of Mickey Mouse, and put a stop to the arrangement.  But the factory kept up production throughout World War II.

After the war, Silesia became Polish territory and today the factory is called Zaklady Porcelany Stokowej.  It’s completely modern, of course, and produces dishwasher-safe, microwaveable kitchenware.

P. K. Silesia backstamps have changed a lot over the years, because of changes in the company name, different products, and also the change in the company’s location from Germany to Poland.  The backstamp in the picture below shows that this plate was made between 1914 and 1918.  It’s from the back of the plate in the picture above.

How much are P.K. Silesia collectibles worth?  You can find vintage serving bowls on ebay for between fifteen and twenty-five dollars.  Dinner and dessert plates go for about the same.  Their backstamps mostly indicate that they’re from around World War I. 

P. K. Silesia backstamps from the 1870’s to around World War I tend to have eagles.  For a short time in the early 1920’s backstamps had a tent, and after that many backstamps featured a crown.

P.K. Silesia vintage porcelain has a lot of antique charm.  It isn’t too hard to find, and if you’re like me you can buy pieces in thrift stores for under a dollar and get a real deal.  Then you can turn around and sell them on ebay.  But for now I like just collecting them.

Pictures by Kathleen Murphy 








How to Tell If a Chair is an Antique

How to date an antique chair. Learn how to tell is a chair is actually an antique chair.

You are at a garage sale and you see a chair you love. It’s old, a bit rickety and costs $25. While $25 may seem steep for a garage sale chair, what if it is an antique? What if it is worth five times $25? How will you know?

There are some simple steps you can follow to date your antique chair.

Examine the chair for carved or burnt-in dates and marks. If you happen to have a Blackberry or an iPhone with you…Google any signature or manufacture’s brand you see. If a chair numbered on the underside of the seat it was most likely made in or after the 19th Century. You can use the number you find and your Blackberry or iPhone to search the Patent Office to discover the manufacturer and date of production. You won’t get an exact year, but rather the years in which that particular piece was produced. This will help you narrow in on the chair’s actual production date.

Notice how the chair is put together. The older the screw or nail, the cruder it will be. Old nails will be square. If you find square nails, but not perfectly square, and they are worn down with age, the chair probably dates before 1820. Screws that date from 1720 to 1860 are short with hand-cut threads and a slot that is not centered. The end of these screws are flat. The chair may be put together without any nails and screws at all. This is a sign of quality. If the chair is really old it will be jointed with no nails or screws.

Flip the chair upside down and find an unfinished spot. What does the grain of the wood look like? You are looking for aged wood and aged lines. Wood wears over time. Carvings and edges become less sharp and nicks appear on corners and edges with age – these are signs of antiquity.

You are also looking for solid pieces of wood. Older furniture was constructed from solid pieces of wood. Antique chairs will not necessarily be level or have even lines. Hand made and hand-carved furniture is not machine perfect, but has the character of time and individuality. Know that before 1700 most furniture was made out of oak – after that all hardwoods, such as cherry, walnut, pine and mahogany were widely used. The type of wood is less an indicator than how aged the wood looks.

Look for tool marks. The scratches, grooves and saw-marks of new furniture are parallel or sanded away. If the cuts are curved the chair probably dates after 1860; before that all wood was cut by hand and the marks are uneven – these uneven tool marks are a good indication that the chair is an antique. Additionally, the cuts may not be completely straight and there may be gaps in the wood. These cuts and gaps are also indications of age and should not be looked at as defects.

 If your goal is to search for antiques, invest in books about period pieces...know the difference between American Colonial, Victorian and other antique period pieces.  Become an expert and you can purchase antique chairs with confidence.

Ten Valuable Old Historical Newspapers

Valuable old historical newspapers include Dewey Defeats Truman, the Pearl Harbor attack, Al Capone, the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the John F. Kennedy assassination, the sinking of the Titanic, the Lincoln assassination and the San Francisco earthquake.

Old newspapers have value in the collectibles marketplace. Attracting the greatest attention are the vintage papers with the big historical headlines. Also of interest are your regular newspapers – called "atmosphere" papers – which contain no significant events of the day but do provide a glimpse into a bygone era.

Here are ten valuable newspapers featuring some of history's most famous headlines. They are an eclectic bunch, giving readers a general idea as to collectibility and values. Bear in mind that condition plays a major role in determining value and that newspapers must be original, and not reprints.  

Chicago Daily Tribune, November 3, 1948, Dewey Defeats Truman

The 1948 presidential election, as predicted by opinion polls, projected Thomas A. Dewey the victor. During the wee hours of the night on November 2, 1948, after voting had ceased, the Chicago Daily Tribune rushed this famous headline into print in the midst of a typesetter's strike. Later, after realizing their error, the Trib sent its employees out into the streets to retrieve as many copies as possible. The Tribune was not the only newspaper to get it wrong – just the most infamous – with President Harry S. Truman gleefully posing with the paper's embarrassing "Dewey Defeats Truman" banner headline. In excellent condition, one surviving example of this paper – bearing the stamp "Hickey Brothers Cigar Store" where it was sold – brought a top bid of $1,392.

Chicago Daily Tribune, Dewey Defeats Truman $1,392 - Robert Edward Auctions, LLC

The Stars and Stripes, May 8, 1945, Nazis Quit

The Stars and Stripes serves as the unofficial publication for the U.S. Armed Forces. An EXTRA for the European Theater of Operations, Germany edition, dated May 8, 1945, announcing Nazi Germany's official surrender is valued at approximately $215.

The New York Herald, April 15, 1865, Assassination of President Lincoln

Lincoln assassination newspapers are always in demand. One of the most famous is the April 15, 1865, edition of The New York Herald reporting on the death of the 16th President of the United States. Not surprisingly, this edition was saved by many people. Today, it carries a value of over $1,000 in excellent condition.

The New York Herald, Lincoln assassinated $1,000+ - historybuff.com

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 7, 1941, War! Oahu Bombed By Japanese Planes

One of the most famous newspapers of World War II, the first extra of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin of December 7, 1941, reports the sneak attack at Pearl Harbor. A complete edition in excellent condition could top the $1,500 mark. Reprints abound for this coveted issue, including ones made during the war and taken home as souvenirs by American servicemen.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor $750-1,500 - gohawaii.about.com

The Boston Daily Globe, April 16, 1912, Titanic Sinks, 1500 Die

In the annals of maritime disasters the loss of the "unsinkable" RMS Titanic on its maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York heads the tragic list. A number of Titanic newspapers were printed, with the first report editions carrying the most value. The April 16, 1912, edition of The Boston Daily Globe is worth approximately $200-400.

The Call-Chronicle-Examiner, April 19, 1906, Earthquake And Fire: San Francisco In Ruins

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 remains one of the worst natural disasters in American history. The San Francisco Call-Chronicle-Examiner – a collective effort by the city's three wounded newspapers – dated April 19, 1906, is a rare periodical. A complete edition could sell for over $700.

The Call-Chronicle-Examiner, San Francisco earthquake $700+ - Library of Congress

The Dallas Times Herald, November 22, 1963, JFK Ambushed in Dallas, President Dead, Connally Shot

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy has been called the crime of the century. JFK assassination newspapers are legion, as they were saved by many people as historical keepsakes. The most valuable editions are titles from Dallas, Texas, the scene of the crime in infamous Dealey Plaza. The Dallas Times Herald final edition of November 22, 1963, is highly collectible, with a complete edition in excellent or better condition valued at $50-75.

Fitchburg Sentinel, May 21, 1927, Lindbergh Is Reported Over Channel

Aviation pioneer Charles A. Lindbergh's historic transatlantic flight in 1927 is the stuff of legend. The Fitchburg (Massachusetts) Sentinel of May 21, 1927, reported that Lindbergh in his Spirit of St. Louis had been sighted over the English Channel, bound for Paris. This ten-page edition is worth approximately $140.

The Macon Telegraph and News, October 16, 1931, Al Capone Guilty of Evading Taxes

In 1931 Al Capone, the czar of the Chicago underworld, was convicted of income tax evasion. Capone received an 11-year sentence, eventually winding up on Alcatraz. The Macon (Georgia) Telegraph and News of October 16, 1931, headlined Capone's stunning conviction in federal court. This edition carries a value of over $100. 

New York Daily Mirror, February 14, 1935, Guilty Death For Hauptmann

The Lindbergh baby kidnapping horrified the country during the Depression-era 1930s. Bruno Hauptmann was later convicted of kidnapping and murdering Charles Augustus Lindbergh II, the 20-month-old son of aviators Charles A. Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Hauptmann got the death penalty for his crime, dying in New Jersey's electric chair a.k.a. "Old Smokey" on April 3, 1936. The New York Daily Mirror of February 14, 1935, reported Hauptmann's conviction with the bold headline "Guilty Death for Hauptmann." This edition is valued at around $60 today.

New York Daily Mirror 1935 Lindbergh kidnapping conviction $60. Also pictured is the New York Journal, February 13, 1935 - Heritage Auctions

Literally hundreds of thousands of collectible newspapers await both the collector and history buff. It's all there in black and white – wars, assassinations, moon landings, crime and punishment, sports, medicine and you name it...

Top Image

  • The New York Times, May 8, 1915, the Lusitania sinking $100+ - The New York Times

Copyright © 2012 William J. Felchner. All rights reserved. 

Making Money on Hot Collectibles: Vintage Cigarette Items

Look for one of today's hottest collectibles: older, unopened cigarette packs.

As a longtime collector and dealer in antique and vintage items, I often use my psychic radar to predict what I believe will sell now - or in the immediate future. A while back, I suggested making money on money collectibles - old currencies, tokens, and outdated forms of money seemed to be selling like hotcakes on auction sites (actually selling quite a bit better than hotcakes). I took my own advice and made more than a pretty penny on some antique tokens and coins.  Today, I'm recommending making money on vintage and older cigarette items - particularly cigarette packs, cigarette lighters and cigarette trading cards.

On the SY hot collectibles meter, they are a #3 (meter ranges from 1-5) and climbing! The key to making money on collectibles is to anticipate where the market is going so you can buy now at bargain prices and sell for a profit as the market goes up. For vintage cigarette items, the market is just beginning to light up.  Not only can you make some good change now and in the near future on cigarette items, you can also turn the tables, at least an inch or two, on the greedy tobacco companies that made so much money on us.  If that isn't fun, I don't know what is (as Kurt Vonnegut might have said).

Setting aside how you may feel about cigarettes is primo. If you're ok with trading in them, go for the gusto and keep your eyes open for the vintage cigarette packs (preferably 1920s-60s), for the beautifully decorated Art Deco cigarette cases, for the advertising and novelty vintage cigarette lighters and for the more valuable trading cards that were once promotional items when inserted in cigarette packages. Maybe your Great Uncle Joe has a stack of old Camels he never smoked (worth money now; maybe $7-$20 per pack and up).

Maybe he also had an old lighter, advertising Coca Cola or a Chevrolet ($30 and up).  Maybe your Grandma collected cigarette trading cards featuring 1920-40s movies stars (worth money now; maybe $5 per card and up, depending on the film star).  Tobacciana (as it is called) is a big collectible niche - including everything from those items named above to cigarette holders, pipes and ashtrays. Currently, I see the market as bullish for old cigarette packs (especially those long out of business, and even those popular in the Mid-Century). There's also a decent demand for vintage figural lighters (shaped like guns or even old cigarette machines).

There's also interest in promotional items for popular brands, like GM or Coke. Some people are still treasure hunting for the rarest cigarette cards (a Honus Wagner card, known as The Holy Grail of cigarette trading cards, sold for more than $1 million on eBay a while back). Trading cards must be hard-to-find and in good condition; either sports or entertainer-related, or you must find a quantity of them to make a worthwhile sale.

Perhaps it's because smoking cigarettes is so unhealthy and politically incorrect or maybe it's because state governments are either heavily taxing them now or soon will be, but vintage cigarette items are selling well.  All health and morality issues aside, and speaking only from the collector's perspective, if you can find old packs of cigarettes (intact), you've just cashed (or will soon).

And nobody gives a fig about smoking the old things; they just want the intact package as it was back then. Some people make tobacciana their specialty; others collect for the wonderful, colorful, old-school art graphics on the trading cards or the packages. There are several types of buyers for vintage cigarette items; that's what you want in a collectible item: More demand, less supply.

Here's a list of some of the more valuable, oldest (pre-1920s) cigarette packs to look for: Sweet Caporal, HomeRun, Sunshine, Coupon, Murad, Mogul, Pall Mall, Chesterfield, Fatima and Cravens

The 1920s and later, Depression era and Mid-Century  brands that can still bring you cash: Camel, Old Gold, Lucky Strike, Herbert Tareyton, Spud, One-Eleven, Wings, Picayune, Barking Dog, Airline, Listerine, Twenty Grand, Turf, Rum and Maple, Marvels, Coffee-tone, Philip Morris, Raleigh, Wings. A little later, and more retro - Virginia Slims (you've come a long way, baby), More, Benson & Hedges. The average price for a vintage or antique cigarette pack, in good, unopened condition, goes for $7 and up and up), depending on the condition and  the rarity. Of course, if you land an unopened vintage carton, you're in the chips! (possibly $100 and up).

If you want to branch out to cigarette trading cards - or maybe even start there - this also is a desirable collectible area. Originating in the late 1870s in the U.S. and Canada, cigarette trading cards were introduced as promotional items, known as "enticements." One small card per pack (approx. 1.5" x 2.5"), look for Joe Lewis and Jack Dempsey to actors to first-aid tips.

The sets generally consisted of 25-50 in a series, although some reached to 100. Turf cigarettes featured as series of 1930-40s  film stars (my Ida Lupino Turf trading card watches over my desk), but there were also a series of birds, roses, baseball players, Indian chiefs, famous soldiers, trees and airplanes (I have a large set  of airplane trading cards from Wings cigarettes that I got from a junk store 20 years ago.  I'm thinking about framing them).

Notable cigarette cards: If you find another Honus Wagner card (there were maybe 50-200 published before he demanded they be withdrawn) forget about ever needing to work again; you can buy the company, if you want still want to. You will need to search out the American Tobacco Company's T206 set. And I wish you good luck with that.  If you can't find Honus, some of the rarest cards are those known as "Clown and Circus Artistes" from Taddy. You are much more likely to find other less valuable, but worthy trading cards at a flea market, swap meet or junk store - not at the antique mall. 

Antique dealers will have researched them and marked them way up before you even get a chance to treasure hunt for them. But flea markets and swap meets are often a treasure trove of trash that really isn't. You just have to dig through the stuff to uncover what you're looking for.

Other tobacco collectibles worth treasure hunting for: ashtrays (especially vintage ashtrays from famous clubs, like 21 or restaurants like The Brown Derby); vintage lighters (there are some great stainless steel figurine lighters worth collecting: I sold one shaped like a 1930s airplane), but the novelty lighters are also fun to find and sell: pin-ups or advertising promos from the Mid Century. If you find an old GM or Chrysler car advertising lighter, sell! And, finally: matches.

I recently sold a batch of 5 OLD GM matches (more valuable now because of GM's current problems and changes). I have a big bag of old match books, which I collected mainly for the graphics - but with all the companies going out of business, some of these match books have grown in value since I snagged them at an estate sale. Matches (only those in very good condition, without striker damage) are easy to find at flea markets and swap meets. You won't make a mint off them, but depending on what you find, you can make some fast cash.

Finally-finally, if you are looking for a place to sell your cigarette packs, trading cards, ashtrays, lighters or matches, try eBay, Bonanzle (free to list, easy to use, and friendly) or even Etsy. If you have some time on your hands and a flea market or swap meet close by, you can get started making a little pocket money by looking for cigarette collectibles. Despite the rough economy, there seems to be a thriving collectibles market for tobacco products and for certain collectible niches overall, although  buyers are pickier and looking for bargains. It's a buyers' market now, but that's no reason not to sell the "hot" stuff.

 Resources: Personal experience, Good-bye to All That book (1970), eBay, internet references.


Billy Beer Can Collectibles

Billy Beer was introduced in 1977 by Falls City Brewing Company of Louisville, Kentucky. Also distributed by Pearl Brewing, West End Brewing and Cold Spring Brewing, Billy Beer garners its name from Billy Carter, the late brother of former President Jimmy Carter. Billy Beer cans are not rare today but do command some value and remain an enduring urban legend in collecting circles.

Billy Beer first came on the scene in 1977. It garners its name from the late Billy Carter (1937-1988), the younger, hard-drinking brother of then-President Jimmy Carter. Billy Beer was on the scene briefly, but has acquired its own unique place in urban legend and collectible breweriana circles.

Billy Carter: President Jimmy Carter's Brother 

Former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States in November 1976, narrowly defeating Republican incumbent Gerald R. Ford. With the election of Carter – who hailed from the small town of Plains, Georgia – the media/public focus became even more intense on Carter's family. That attention eventually led to the President's younger brother, William Alton "Billy" Carter III, one of the more colorful members of the prez's brood.

An ex-marine who served four years in the Corps, Billy worked in the family peanut business and also went on to famously operate a service station in Plains, Georgia. Billy, who with wife Sybil (Spires) Carter had six children, first vaulted into the spotlight during his brother's 1976 presidential campaign. Known as a hard-drinking, beer-guzzling good ol' Southern boy, Billy often "campaigned" in bars and taverns, putting in the good word for his brother, the Democratic nominee for President. In one famous incident an obviously intoxicated Billy unzipped his fly and urinated on an airport runway with the press duly recording his faux pas. Well, when you have to go, you have to go...

Billy Carter also made trouble for his brother the President, famously visiting Libya on three separate occasions in 1978-79. He was reportedly given a loan of $220,000 by the Muammar Gaddafi regime, with former renegade CIA officer Edwin P. Wilson later alleging that Billy received $2 million from Libya. Billy's behavior eventually led to President Carter declaring that his brother's foreign activities in no way influenced his thinking or American policy.

Billy Carter, who later quit drinking and did a stint at the Betty Ford Center for treatment of his alcoholism, died of pancreatic cancer at age 51 in Plains, Georgia, on September 25, 1988. 

Billy Carter on the cover of Time magazine, August 4, 1980 - Time-Life, Inc.

Billy Beer Debuts in 1977

Carter fever was at a pitch in 1977, with even Hollywood getting into the act with an ABC sitcom titled Carter Country (1977-79) starring Victor French as Roy Mobey, the police chief of the fictional southern town of Clinton Corners. In July of 1977, good ol' boy Billy Carter once again made headlines, this time as the official spokesman for a new brand of suds called Billy Beer. 

Although a confirmed Pabst Blue Ribbon man, Billy Carter willingly lent his name to Billy Beer for the good times, publicity and a share of the profits – $50,000 a year according to one source. The blue and orange aluminum can said it all: "Brewed expressly for and with the personal approval of one of America's all-time great beer drinkers – Billy Carter. I had this beer brewed up just for me. I think it's the best I ever tasted. And I've tasted a lot. I think you'll like it, too."

Billy Beer was made by four different brewers: Falls City Brewing Company of Louisville, Kentucky; West End Brewing Company of Utica, New York; Pearl Brewing Company of San Antonio, Texas; Cold Spring Brewing Company, Cold Spring, Minnesota. A fairly good seller in the beginning, Billy Beer was discontinued in 1978 because of declining sales. 

Billy Beer: Collectible Cans

Billy Beer's famous novelty run from 1977 to 1978 produced some two billion beer cans by one estimate, with some nine million unfilled Billy Beer cans melted down by Reynolds Metals for the aluminum scrap value. When Billy Beer ceased production in the late 1970s, America was awash in Billy Beer cans. Many people, sensing a great collectible down the road, hoarded unopened cans, six-packs and entire cases, stashing them in basements, garages and attics for some future bonanza. 

Billy Beer really came to the forefront as a collectible in the early 1980s when a man took out ads in a Chicago newspaper offering unopened Billy Beer six-packs for sale. The price: $1,000. The fast-buck entrepreneur then ran additional ads, offering his six-packs for the "bargain rate" of only $200. That apparently opened the floodgates, as offers for Billy Beer saturated newspapers and collectible publications, with everyone and their brother hell-bent on cashing in on their Billy Beer cans at some outrageous price.

Billy Beer can from Falls City Brewing Company 1977 - falstaffbrewing.com

Billy Beer Cans: Rarity & Values

Billy Beer cans – whether opened or unopened – are not rare by any means. They're your basic novelty beer cans, produced and saved in great quantity with supply far outstripping demand. That, however, doesn't mean that they don't possess any value. A collector in need of a Billy Beer can today may pay anywhere from 25 cents to $10 for a specimen, depending on condition. 

Occasionally at auction, Billy Beer cans have been known to bring out the beast in some bidders who still subscribe to the urban legend that they're truly bidding on something rare. In a famous November 20, 2010, episode of the Discovery Channel's Auction Kings, a seller named Robert brought in an unopened case of Billy Beer at Gallery 63, located just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, hoping to get enough money to take his wife out for dinner. Owner Paul Brown brought in a beweriana expert, who pronounced the case "worthless," claiming that the only value it held was in the recyclable aluminum. The gallery's resident picker Jon Hammond begged to differ, however, betting office manager Cindy Shook that the unopened case would sell for at least $100. Come auction day the case of Billy Beer in its original corrugated box attracted spirited bidding, with a man sporting a British accent who owned ten restaurants in Atlanta taking home the unopened case for $100, which he considered a bargain and probably a tax write-off as well. Hammond won the bet: a free dinner courtesy of doubting Thomas Shook. 

According to many beer drinkers of the era, Billy Beer wasn't a particularly good brew. In fact, Billy Carter himself – the beer's supposed number one fan – often admitted to reporters that he still drank Pabst Blue Ribbon behind closed doors. Jimmy Carter later joked that Billy Beer was the principal reason his famous brother gave up drinking.

Got Billy Beer?

Copyright © 2012 William J. Felchner. All rights reserved. 

Collecting Apollo 11 Moon Landing Souvenirs 40 Years Later: What to Buy Now

which Apollo Moon landing collectibles to buy

On July 20th, we will celebrate the 41st Anniversary of Apollo 11's landing on the moon. Oh, what a high time for America!  Not only did we win this race for space by landing the first men on the moon, but our Country was unified and cohesive. We collectively held our breath until the Astronauts returned home safely and then we whooped and hollered at their bravery and our historic achievement.  The manned moon landing became one of the all-time milestones of the 20th Century. There is now increasing demand for souvenirs and mementos from 40 years ago. This is another collectible investment area worth pursuing - items to keep or to re-sell.

There is no better time than now to scout for Apollo 11 ephemera (various collectibles). Many authentic Apollo 11 collectibles are now priced ridiculously low (due to economic woes). Also, every time a significant anniversary approaches, sellers make their items available, hoping to profit on enhanced interest. I am not a Jonnie Sue-come-lately when it comes to Apollo 11. I have been collecting moon-landing items for 40 years, scooping up an item when I see it (but only at a low price).

My collection includes a valuable UPI bulletin announcement, from the UPI ticker tape went Apollo 11 took off from the moon (I worked as a reporter at UPI at the time) and 1969 newspapers and various vintage magazines reporting the Moon Landing details. One of my best treasure-hunting finds was a notebook full of original photographs from the Apollo 11 Mission (shown below). I found 20 of the photos in a plain black notebook, buried under a pile of school notebooks at a local thrift store.  I had the photos authenticated as original (NOT part of the NASA set, but likely from someone associated with the ground control), and I sold off some of them several years ago. I've kept a dozen more to hand down, as I believe their value will grow. Also, I think the photos I saved are awesome; irreplaceable.

My photo notebook was a rare acquisition (one of the more memorable) that would be hard to duplicate, but you can still find numerous other Apollo 11 items worth your time and money. These items include:

1. Authentic Commemorative coins and tokens celebrating the original manned moon landing and its subsequent annual anniversaries. They were composed of copper, bronze and silver metal (the more valuable tokens were actually crafted from parts of original rockets).  I saw some of these in the "sold" column on eBay. As I mentioned in another FZ article, coins and tokens have good investment value  - here's a doublette for you (two reasons to collect tokens).  Apollo 11 tokens are selling now in the $8-$40 range. I see them going up, over time.

2. Stamps. I know little about stamps, but first-day covers of the Moon Landing also have a life of their own. This collectible category is also a doublette (space collectible/stamp collectible), Apollo landing covers seem to be selling well on the internet sites I checked. Again,  authentic stamps and covers are likely to increase in value.

3. Newspapers. These should be in good condition. In the old days, the bigger the headline type, the more important the story. Since newspapers are "folding", right and left, collecting printed history, as an investment, can also only increase in value. Newspapers were so often thrown away, and a good 1969 Apollo 11 newspaper is worth many times face value.  If I saw a 1969 newspaper about the Moon landing, at a reasonable price, I'd buy it. As newspapers continue to fall, these prices will rise.

4. Magazines. It follows that original magazines, like those shown in my collection below, also will have increasing value, especially as more magazines become extinct (Ah, Domino, Gourmet...). If you can find them for little cost, I'd be a buyer here too, especially if I was building a collection.

5. Pins, pens, maps, mugs, glasses & other souvenir items. Here are some lesser collectibles in terms of value, but maybe not in terms of scarcity. If you collect vintage pin-backs (political, rock n roll or otherwise), Apollo Moon Landing pins might be a great addition to your collection. Same goes for writing pens.

6. Careful, careful on the signed and autographed items and some of the other more valuable. I've seen signatures listed at hundreds of dollars, but I'd want indisputable confirmation of any astronaut's autograph. Many items were auto-pen-signed; this is generally disclosed (but not always). As with all buying activities, check and double-check the reputation and integrity of the seller before you spend.

7. Expect to see more Apollo 11 Moon Landing items up for sale the closer we get to July 20. If you have some spare change, consider spending some of it on some of the items listed for bargain prices now on the internet. It is not impossible, but highly unlikely you'll run into many of the items named above at yard sales or flea markets - unless it's a very big flea market (like the one in Long Beach, CA).

8. Finally, if you weren't born before 1969, ask you parents or older friends and relatives just how exciting this year was. While you're asking, it's perfectly good etiquette to inquire if, by any chance, they have kept some newspapers, magazines or souvenirs from Apollo 11's Moon Landing. They just might surprise you with a pile of awesome Moon Landing goods. And then you will have your very own collection.


For further information, consult your friendly search engine for "Apollo 11 Moon Landing collectibles."

Ten Valuable The Man from UNCLE TV Collectibles

Valuable The Man from UNCLE TV collectibles include Gilbert action figures, Aurora Napoleon Solo plastic kits, Illya Kuryakin secret lighter guns, movie posters and lobby cards, card games, lunchboxes and thermoses and toy gun sets.

The Man from UNCLE ran on NBC-TV from 1964-68. Starring Robert Vaughn (Napoleon Solo), David McCallum (Illya Kuryakin) and Leo G. Carroll (Mr. Alexander Waverly), The Man from UNCLE – an acronym for the Untied Network Command for Law and Enforcement – produced 105 episodes and an array of official UNCLE merchandise.

Here are ten valuable "The Man from UNCLE" TV collectibles that are sure to excite UNCLE spy fans and classic television memorabilia buffs. Open Channel D!

The Man from UNCLE Illya Kuryakin Gilbert Action Figure

Handsome David McCallum – often attired in his trademark black turtleneck shirt – had quite a following as Illya Kuryakin, Napoleon Solo's Russian partner. A 1965 Illya Kuryakin action figure made by A.C. Gilbert in mint condition with original box sold at auction for $145.48.

Illya Kuryakin 1965 Gilbert action figure with accessories and box $145.48 - Hake's Americana & Collectibles

The Man from UNCLE Badge Store Display Card

Lone Star produced The Man from UNCLE badges in 1965 for use with their UNCLE cap pistol. An original store display in fine condition brought $168.37 at auction.

The Man from UNCLE 1965 badge store display card $168.37 - Hake's Americana & Collectibles

The Man from UNCLE Illya Kuryakin Pinback Button

Button-World of Brooklyn, New York, produced black-and-white The Man from UNCLE buttons in 1965 for both Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. A mint Illya example sold at auction for $74.75.

The Man from UNCLE Napoleon Solo Toy Gun Set

One of the big UNCLE toy items is The Man from UNCLE Napoleon Solo gun set, made by Ideal in 1965. A mint-in-the-box example could top the $700 mark.

The Man from UNCLE Napoleon Solo 1965 gun set $500-750 - Hake's Americana & Collectibles

The Man from UNCLE Napoleon Solo Aurora Model Kit

Aurora Plastics made model kits for both Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. A still sealed mint-in-the-box unassembled Napoleon Solo version is valued at $300-500.

Napoleon Solo 1966 Aurora model kit $300-500 - Hake's Americana & Collectibles

The Man from UNCLE Illya Kuryakin Card Game

Milton Bradley produced The Man from UNCLE Illya Kuryakin Card Game in 1966 as game #4662. One example in excellent condition sold for $75.

Illya Kuryakin 1966 Milton Bradley card game $75 - Hake's Americana & Collectibles

The Man from UNCLE Illya Kuryakin Special Secret Lighter Gun

Ideal produced the fantastic UNCLE Illya Kuryakin Special Lighter Gun in 1966. It looks like a cigarette case/lighter, but in reality houses a secret cap-firing gun and radio compartment. A mint example in its original box fetched a top bid of $760.44 at auction.

Illya Kuryakin 1966 secret lighter gun and radio $760.44 - Hake's Americana & Collectibles

The Man from UNCLE Lunch Box and Thermos

King-Seeley produced the highly coveted The Man from UNCLE lunch box and thermos in 1966 which carry artwork by Jack Davis. One example which managed to survive the rigors of childhood in excellent to near mint condition with an original thermos, advertising booklet also in the mix sold at auction for $330.63.

The Man from UNCLE 1966 lunch box and thermos picturing both sides $330.63 - Hake's Americana & Collectibles

The Spy in the Green Hat 1966 Belgian Movie Poster

Several two-part The Man from UNCLE episodes were edited into feature length movies which found their way into theaters under new titles. A folded fine/very fine Belgian poster (14x21-inches) for The Spy in the Green Hat (1966) brought a bargain $10 at auction.

The Spy in the Green Hat 1966 Belgian poster $10 - Heritage Auction Galleries

One of Our Spies Is Missing 1966 Lobby Card Set

Robert Vaughn and David McCallum swing into action in One of Our Spies Is Missing, released to movie theaters in 1966 by MGM. A complete set of eight international lobby cards (11x14-inches) in very fine condition sold at auction for $24.

One of Our Spies Is Missing 1966 lobby card set $24 - Heritage Auction Galleries

The Man from UNCLE Credits & Top Image

  • Auction and sales results courtesy Hake's Americana & Collectibles, York, Pennsylvania, and Heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas, Texas
  • Top image: David McCallum, left, and Robert Vaughn in One Spy Too Many 1966 lobby card, one of eight in the set. Auction result for set in very fine+ condition: $21 - Heritage Auction Galleries

Ideal's Robot Commando: Collectible 1960s Toy

Ideal Toy's Robot Commando was released in 1961. Robot Commando is a huge collector favorite with near mint in the box models worth $800-1,000 in the vintage toy marketplace.

The year 1961 was a banner year in American history: John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as president; Alan B. Shepard became the first American in space; West Side Story, the eventual Oscar winner for Best Picture, was all the rage at movie theaters; the New York Yankees (surprise) won another World Series; the Apollo program of U.S. manned space flight was launched…

On the all-important toy front (important to kids, that is), the Ideal Toy Corporation, founded in 1907, continued its tradition in grand style, bringing to the marketplace a number of memorable playthings for the younger set. Leading the way was Ideal’s Robot Commando, one of the decade’s truly magnificent toys and a real favorite among vintage toy robot collectors today.

Ideal Toy Corporation's original Robot Commando with box (1961) - William J. Felchner

Ideal Toy Robot Commando Origins

Robot Commando was not Ideal’s first foray into the toy robot field. In 1954, Ideal had launched its now-famous Robert the Robot, America’s first plastic toy mechanical man. Robert, who was constructed of red and silver plastic and stood 13-inches tall, was quite a marvel for its time. A gun-like remote controller linked by a wire to the toy’s back directed the action, making the robot walk forward, back up, and turn right or left – with arms swinging and eyes lighted up. Robert was also equipped with a special talking device which, when cranked, spoke the now-classic words in robotese: “I am Robert Robot, mechanical man. Ride me and steer me, wherever you can.” Robert the Robot became a pop culture icon in the 1950s, as much a part of the American landscape as Howdy Doody comic books and Davy Crockett coonskin caps.

Robot Commando, a direct descendant of Robert the Robot in the Ideal toy line, was designed by the late, legendary toy inventor Marvin Glass (1914-1974). Headquartered in Chicago at LaSalle Street and Chicago Avenue, Marvin Glass and Associates would create a number of other well-known toys and games, including Ideal’s Mr. Machine (1960) and Odd Ogg (1962), Marx’s Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots (1964), Milton Bradley’s Mouse Trap (1963) and Operation (1965), Schaper’s Ants in the Pants (1969), Kenner’s Smash Up Derby (1971), and Parker Brothers’ Masterpiece (1971) and Tug Boat (1974).

Larger than Robert the Robot at 19-inches high, Robot Commando was constructed of red, blue, yellow, black and white plastic. Like Robert, Robot Commando’s action was directed by a remote control device tethered by a wire to the robot’s back. A faux “mike” on the controller, in which a child could bark commands to the robot, was an added feature, along with bulging, hypnotic eyes that rolled when the automaton was on the march.

Robot Commando, as its name implies, was a “fighting robot,” equipped with orange plastic balls which could be launched from the toy’s swinging arms and soft rubber, red-tipped white rockets which could be fired from the head. Regarding the latter, the robot’s head dome would rise on command, out of which a single rocket could be blasted from a spring-loaded launcher. The robot’s power source was three “D” cell batteries which could be installed at the bottom of the toy.

Robot Commando Packaging

Robot Commando came packaged in a patriotic red, white and blue box constructed by the Atlantic Container Corp. of Long Island, New York. Billed as “Robot Commando - The Amazing Mike Controlled Robot!” (A little creative advertising there as it had no functioning microphone), the toy rested inside a protective cardboard collar surrounded by thin storage paper. Adorning the box was a rendition of the robot in action along with a blond-headed boy directing the toy’s movements. Come-on slogans on the box included “Mike Controlled Robot Obeys Your Command,” “Turns Right…Turns Left, Moves Forward,” “Searching Eyes,” “Robot Arms Whip Missiles Into Space,” “Emits Beeper Signal,” and the pies de resistance, “Head Dome Rises…Fires Rockets Into Air.”

Robot Commando Marketing

Robot Commando was promoted by Ideal – the company’s motto at the time: “It’s A Wonderful Toy…It’s Ideal” – in both print and the electronic media. The latter, of course, meant the all-important small screen, with Robot Commando appearing as the star of its own television commercial. And then, of course, there were catalog listings, store displays and word-of-mouth advertising, with the burning news that there was a new robot in town spreading from one household to the next among the small fry crowd.

In subsequent years, Robot Commando also garnered some free publicity. In a November 17, 1964, episode of NBC-TV’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. titled “The Double Affair” (Act I: “One For The Money”), Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) emerges from Del Floria’s tailor shop where he is met by a pair of wild-eyed assassins in the form of two Robot Commandos. The whirring toy robots then take deadly aim at Illya, launching from their opening domes three exploding missiles in his direction. Grabbing a garbage can lid as an improvised shield, Illya is able to deflect the missiles and snuff out his smoldering, would-be robotic assassins with his suit coat. Deadpan Illya to Del (Mario Siletti): “I think someone is sending their Christmas presents a little early this year.”

Robot Commando also reportedly put in an appearance on another NBC series, Car 54, Where Are You? (1961-63). A look through a detailed guide for all 60 episodes of that classic sitcom, however, has failed to yield any definitive data.

Upon its release in 1961, Robot Commando’s list price ranged from $10 to $12. An original, handwritten retail store notation in the designated white circle at the top of one box reads $10.66. Yes, “double figures” back then for a toy usually meant “big money” for many households.

Robot Commando Collector Toy Value

Ideal’s Robot Commando is one of the big kahunas in the world of collectible robots. Just looking at various websites on the Internet, Robot Commando still generates a lot of excitement from collectors, dealers and just plain nostalgic baby boomers.

“After months of begging, I got a Robot Commando for Christmas in 1963,” posted David Wharton, now a professor of classics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. “His eyes spun, he shot rockets from his head, he threw ping-pong balls from his mighty fists. With him at my command, I terrorized my 3-year-old cousin, our dog Topper, and our cat Snowflake.” But alas, David’s Robot Commando did not last the rigors of childhood, as he later told the author: “Mine was inoperable within a year, and I think was in the trash by 1964.”

Book values for Robot Commando in near mint condition with the original box are generally in the $800-1,000 range, making it one of the most valuable American robots of the 1960s. An excellent to near mint example sans the box is valued at around $350-500. One dealer has offered the box only – in good condition – at $249.99.

Robot Commando, which is also the name of a computer game designed by Steve Jackson, was "reanimated" in 1970. This time around the big robot was purple in color and sported a clear dome out of which its missiles could be launched. “Ideal’s Robot Commando is here to help you,” crowed the 60-second TV commercial. “He’s your one-man army!”

Ten Valuable John Wayne Movie Collectibles

Valuable John Wayne movie collectibles include posters, lobby cards, adventure comic books, autographed photos and costumes from such films as Dakota, True Grit, Island in the Sky, Stagecoach, Dark Command and Riders of Destiny.

John Wayne (1907-1979) still reigns as one of Hollywood's most beloved movie stars. Born Marion Morrison in Winterset, Iowa, on May 26, 1907, The Duke made his first film appearance as a Yale football player in Brown of Harvard (1926). Wayne's most popular films include Stagecoach (1939), The Shepherd of the Hills (1941), Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), The High and the Mighty (1954), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Hellfighters (1968), True Grit (1969) and The Shootist (1976).

Here are ten valuable John Wayne movie collectibles that are sure to please movie memorabilia buffs. John Wayne – The Duke – riding tall in the saddle again...

John Wayne Texas Terror One Sheet Movie Poster

John Wayne spent years making low-budget B westerns on Hollywood's so-called Poverty Row. He plays John Higgins in Texas Terror, released by Monogram Pictures on February 1, 1935. A standard one sheet stone litho poster (27x41-inches) in fine+ condition on linen sold at auction for $334.60.

Texas Terror 1935 one sheet poster $334.60

John Wayne Blue Steel Insert Movie Poster

John Wayne appears as John Carruthers in the 1934 Monogram western Blue Steel. A stock insert movie poster (14x36-inches) in good/very good condition brought $537.75 at auction.

John Wayne Dark Command Lobby Set

John Wayne plays Texas transplant Bob Seton in the Civil War drama Dark Command, released by Republic Pictures on April 15, 1940. A complete set of eight lobby cards – once displayed in a theater lobby for promotional purposes – in fine+ condition sold at auction for $597.50.

Dark Command lobby set $597.50

John Wayne Dakota Pinstripe Jacket Costume

The Duke plays gambler/adventurer John Devlin in Dakota (1945). The pinstripe jacket worn by Wayne in the picture, complete with the personalized Western Costume Co. label, fetched $2,868 at auction. An 8x10 movie still picturing the Duke wearing the jacket alongside leading lady Vera Ralston accompanied the piece.

John Wayne Adventure Comics #29

John Wayne Adventure Comics published by the Toby Press ran from 1949-55. Issue #29 from 1955 in very fine/near mint condition sold at auction for $286.80.

John Wayne Autographed Photo

John Wayne autographs command big bucks. An 8x10 black-and-white movie still from Rooster Cogburn (1975), the sequel to True Grit (1969), inscribed, dated and autographed by the Duke brought $1,254.75 at auction.

John Wayne Rooster Cogburn signed photograph $1,254.75

John Wayne Stagecoach Keybook Still

John Wayne rocketed to fame as the Ringo Kid in John Ford's Stagecoach (1939). A handsome 7x9-inch keybook still portrait in very fine condition sold at auction for $119.50.

Stagecoach 1939 keybook still $119.50

John Wayne Signed Letter

An October 29, 1973, typewritten letter on personal stationary signed by John Wayne brought $1,075.50 at auction. The letter was addressed to Marjorie Nicholson of Reader's Digest, thanking her for the "loot" for the laugh in the November 1973 edition. Apparently, Wayne was paid for contributing a piece of humor to one of the magazine's regular columns.

John Wayne Island in the Sky LP Record Album

John Wayne plays Captain Dooley, whose transport plane crashes in the frozen wilderness of Labrador in William A. Wellman's Island in the Sky, released by Warner Bros. on September 5, 1953. An LP record album was released by Decca that year in which Wayne narrates music from the soundtrack. One rare copy in excellent condition sold at auction for $310.70.

Island in the Sky LP album $310.70

John Wayne True Grit Six Sheet Movie Poster

The Duke finally won a Best Actor Oscar for True Grit (1969), playing the cantankerous, hard-drinking lawman Rooster Cogburn. A huge six sheet poster (81x81-inches) in near mint condition soared to a top bid of $230 at auction.

True Grit 1969 six sheet poster $230


  • All auction results and images courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas, Texas
  • Top image: Title lobby card for Riders of Destiny (1933) $1,254.75

Ten Valuable Casablanca (1942) Movie Posters & Collectibles

Michael Curtiz's Casablanca debuted on November 26, 1942, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Valuable Casablanca movie memorabilia includes one sheet and half sheet posters, lobby cards, pressbooks, autographed movie stills and French, German and Czech movie posters.

Warner Bros'. Casablanca rates as one of Hollywood's greatest movies. Directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, Casablanca features Bogie as Rick Blaine, an American expatriate whose involvement with his old flame Bergman leads to danger and intrigue in early World War II North Africa. Made for $950,000, Casablanca premiered in New York City on November 26, 1942, earning eight Academy Award nominations: Best Picture (won), Best Director (Curtiz, won), Best Actor (Bogart), Best Screenplay (won), Best Supporting Actor (Rains), Best Film Editing, Best Black-and-White Cinematography and Best Music Scoring.

Here are ten valuable Casablanca movie posters and collectibles that are sure to interest discerning movie memorabilia collectors with a little heft to their wallets. "Play it once, Sam. For old times' sake." Bogie as Rick Blaine to Dooley Wilson's Sam the piano player  

Casablanca One Sheet Movie Poster 

A restored one sheet movie poster (27x41-inches) in fine+ condition on linen sold at auction for $11,950. Casablanca was principally filmed at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California. On-site locations included Flagstaff, Arizona, and Van Nuys, California, the latter of which served as the airport runway scene.

Casablanca one sheet poster $11,950

Casablanca Movie Pressbook

A movie pressbook in uncut very fine+ condition brought $1,195 at auction. Sample Casablanca advertising/poster images can be found inside.

Casablanca pressbook $1,195

Casablanca Window Card

A window card (14x22-inches) in fine/very fine condition sold at auction for $7,767.50. Michele Morgan as Ilsa? Morgan had asked for $55,000 to play Bogie's lost flame but producer Hal B. Wallis got Ingrid Bergman for $25,000 instead.

Casablanca Lobby Card

A lobby card (11x14-inches) featuring Bogie and Ingrid Bergman in fine- condition brought $2,539.38 at auction. Hedy Lamarr was also considered for the role of Ilsa – one which she eventually played in the 1944 Lux Radio Theater presentation of Casablanca. Alan Ladd played Rick in the same drama.

Casablanca lobby card with Bogart and Bergman $2,539.38

Casablanca French Affiche Movie Poster

A restored post-World War II French affiche poster (31x46-inches) in fine+ condition on linen fetched a top bid of $11,352.50 at auction. Casablanca came to France on May 23, 1947.

Casablanca French affiche poster $11,352.50

Casablanca Ingrid Bergman Autographed Movie Still

An 8x10-inch movie still picturing Bogart, Dooley Wilson as Sam at the piano and Ingrid Bergman signed by the latter performer brought $310.70 at auction.

Casablanca German A1 Movie Poster

A post-World War II German A1 movie poster (24x34-inches) in very fine condition sold at auction for $388.38. Casablanca debuted in West Germany on August 29, 1952.

Casablanca German A1 poster $388.38

Casablanca Half Sheet Style B Movie Poster

A half sheet style B movie poster (22x28-inches) in fine/very fine condition sold at auction for a staggering $38,837.50. This particular poster is one of the rarest Casablanca items in the movie memorabilia field.

Casablanca half sheet style B poster $38,837.50

Casablanca As Time Goes By Movie Sheet Music

Sheet music from 1942 for Casablanca's timeless theme song "As Time Goes By" in fine/very fine condition brought $18 at auction.

Casablanca Czech Movie Poster

A post-World War II Czech movie poster (11x36-inches) in very fine/near mint condition fetched a top bid of $5,377.50 at auction. There was never any truth to the planted 1941 story that Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan were set to star in Casablanca.

Casablanca Czech poster $5,377.50

Casablanca Movie Memorabilia Credits & Top Image

  • All auction results and images courtesy Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas
  • Top image: Casablanca post-World War II French poster (63x90-inches) in fine/very fine condition on linen $16,100

Copyright © 2011 William J. Felchner