Treasures: Prices Realized

By Eric Bradley

WORLD COINS

William and Mary ruled the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland beginning in 1689, with the William & Mary Guinea minted every year from 1688 to 1694. This 5 Guineas, graded MS63 PCGS, was struck in 1692. The “Elephant and Castle” hallmark below their busts indicates the gold used to mint this coin came from mines operated by the Royal African Company. It realized a world record $258,500 at an August 2016 Heritage auction.

JEWELRY

A pair of Gold Cuff Bracelets by Van Cleef & Arpels, given by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to stepsister Nina Straight, maid of honor when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953, sold for $162,500 at a September 2016 Heritage auction. Jacqueline surprised Nina with the bracelets when she served as Straight’s maid of honor 21 years later.

RARE BOOKS

Among the most valuable examples of modern bound fiction, a first edition, first impression three-book set of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, including The Fellowship of the Ring, saw interest by six bidders who pushed the price to $30,000 at a September 2016 auction.

SPORTS

The baseball that Chicago Cubs pitcher Orval Overall tossed for the final out to clinch the team’s 1908 World Series victory over the Detroit Tigers realized $119,500 at a November 2016 Heritage auction. The team’s World Series win last year ended its 108-year championship drought. 

ILLUSTRATION ART

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is one of the most beloved films of all time. For the Steven Spielberg sci-fi film, producers hired movie-poster artist John Alvin to create the promotional art. It eventually ended up in private hands, and for the past 13 years, the acrylic on board decorated the office wall of Hollywood producer Bob Bendetson. He decided to auction the piece and in October 2016 it realized $394,000.

TRADING CARDS

A mint-condition example of the elusive Pokémon Pikachu Illustrator trading card sold for a world record $54,970 in November 2016. It was one of no more than 40 known to exist, and more than 16 fans pushed the price to a trading-card record.

HISTORICAL

An 1852 U.S. Mint Medal presented to Secretary of State Henry Clay – struck in nearly 30 ounces of California gold and lovingly passed down through his family – sold for $346,000 at a September 2016 Heritage auction. Clay has been called America’s greatest statesman.

ESTATES

Two pairs of tap shoes belonging to child movie star Shirley Temple sold for $20,000 in December 2016. The two-day auction of jewelry, outfits, awards and other keepsakes from the estate of Shirley Temple Black brought in more than $1.6 million.

ILLUSTRATION ART

The year 1974 was a classic, peak period of fantasy painter Frank Frazetta. His oil on masonite from that year, Red Planet, was published as the cover of Time War by Lin Carter. It realized $346,000 at an October Heritage auction. Proceeds benefitted the Frazetta Art Museum in Pennsylvania.