MARK WALBERG: "Antiques Roadshow" has treasures that will make you shudder with fear.
My sister, she jumped, she kind of screamed.
APPRAISER: It fascinates me, it drives me crazy, and it kind of scares me, too.
WALBERG: Watch it now on "Antiques Roadshow: Kooky and Spooky."
♪ ♪ WALBERG: Hair-raising heirlooms, creepy collectibles, and weirdly wonderful things appear at Roadshow in every city.
These are treasures that give some people thrills and others chills.
APPRAISER: Well, it is a human skull drinking vessel.
It's worth a few hundred dollars, but certainly it's got to be one of the most bizarre things we've seen on the... on the Roadshow, yes.
WALBERG: What do you think of this little devil?
Would you love him or leave him?
MAN: About 25 years ago, I went to a historical society sale, where people donated items to keep the historical society going.
And I collected Halloween, and I walked in and he was sitting on the floor and I purchased him.
He cost a whole ten dollars.
I inquired about who made it, and it was a local gentleman who worked in a factory, and supposedly it was like around 1920 or 1930.
This is the epitome of American folk art.
Here's a guy who was probably a millworker along the Monongahela River...
I think the date is correct for it, because we're sort of in the era of Prohibition and the big temperance movement.
So, devils are out there, and they're warning you about the evils of drink.
It's just one individual's kind of inspiration and humor and capability, and it's just got such personality.
It's the beauty of American folk art.
This piece could probably bring between $4,000 and $5,000.
Well, it sat on my front porch during Halloween for 25 years in October Right.
for the whole month.
And he had cornstalks around him and everything, and I think we're going to be bringing him in.
You've got to find another centerpiece.
(laughing): I know.
He's just... he's delicious.
He's quite a guy.
This painting was given to my mother by a woman in Louisville, Kentucky.
APPRAISER: Well, this is an exciting folk art painting.
It's on a wood panel, unbroken.
It's a child.
And usually children are part body.
This is a three-quarter length child.
It has a wonderful lacy bonnet, you know, with the little bows in it.
But the best part is this...
I know you call this "this cat with the scary eyes."
But he is so terrific with those funny little eyes.
And then all this hand-painted detail on this little stool.
Look how funny her little arm is in comparison to her head.
It's just not in proportion.
Nothing is in proportion.
Now, it definitely needs to go to a good conservator.
There's something going on here.
I can see something going on here.
It's under layers and layers of varnish.
And it probably should be reframed.
The date is 1830s, so it's a really nice early painting.
I would say in today's market, it's probably in the $30,000 to $40,000 range.
And if she were a very attractive child she'd probably be worth $60,000.
WOMAN: They're memorial rings, and some of them have coffins and skulls on them.
They generally have the person's name and the date of their death, sometimes the date of their birth and their age.
I had read about a coffin ring once in a mystery novel when I was young and was intrigued by it and sort of began a search and then noticed memorial jewelry and I was fascinated by it because I thought it had a story to tell and it was an interesting custom.
It was a charming custom and something that, if you're not familiar with it, seems a little creepy and odd and macabre, but there was a reality about death, and the idea that people didn't always live that long and they were prepared for it and recognized it.
And one of the things that the wealthier families did as a custom, particularly in the 18th century, was to leave arrangements in their will.
A suitable amount of gold mourning jewelry would be made and distributed to the family members.
And you have collected a wonderful range of items.
From this side, a wedding band with black enamel, a pearl ring, and I think there's some hair under glass in the center of it.
This is an 18th-century band that's dated 1750.
So, a lot of these are before our American Revolution.
I believe that all of these items were made in England.
This is the kind of memorial jewelry that was made for British consumption.
And, you know, those sepia tones were little pieces of hair that they cut up and made into a paste and painted with that.
Let's focus on these three rings, because they are the rarest ones and the most desirable.
This first one here has a coffin-shaped rock crystal.
And underneath that rock crystal is a little painting on paper of a full skeleton, and then around it in enamel are figures of a skull and crossbones and the shovel they would use to dig the grave.
It's very macabre and very kind of just fascinating if you like that kind of stuff.
(chuckling): ...kind of stuff.
The middle ring here, this one, is a silver skull with ruby eyes and a gold shoulder.
It's a very early one.
I would say it's late 17th or early 18th century, and it's quite good.
And this third one has this skull under a rectangular rock crystal, but this has some marvelous enameling going around the body of the ring.
And I just want to see if we could show this.
The enameling depicts the entire skeleton, starting with his head and going down his shoulders and his rib cage and his pelvis, (chuckling) down to his feet, and it's in amazing condition.
This ring dates about 1720, and it's a superb example that one seldom sees.
You have a sense of the value of what you paid for these things, and you've done this for how long?
Probably 25 years, maybe.
20, 25 years.
Well, 25 years of collecting.
Can you estimate what you've invested in this collection?
We have 15 rings and one brooch.
Some pieces maybe a couple of hundred dollars, some pieces a couple of thousand... At retail, in the collectors' market, the three skull rings-- these are the most sought after of the memorial ring collectibles-- a collector would be happy today to spend at least $5,000, take your pick, for any one of these three rings.
The whole collection, as I see it today, at retail in the collectors' market is $40,000.
So it pays to do your homework.
It pays to do your homework-- it does.
Thanks for bringing them to the Roadshow.
Oh, it's been wonderful.
MAN: It's very ornate, but I'm not sure what it is.
APPRAISER: Well, what you've got is a Civil War era medical bleeder.
You know the old pictures that you see of the doctor sitting around with a jar of leeches?
This took the place of the leech.
(chuckling): That's good.
Get rid of the bad blood.
Today, most of them in this kind of shape, with the engraving, will usually run about $200 to $350.
A painful but nice piece.
(chuckles) WOMAN: This is a mood piece that Clem Hall designed for the movie "Rosemary's Baby."
Some really well-known artists used to work in the studios, and I think this kind of shows a loose, atmospheric piece.
The film, let's be honest, is really creepy.
We feel at auction you'd put at least $1,000 to $1,500 on it.
Wow, I'm glad I saved it.
I'm glad you did too.
(laughs) Well, my mother received this as a wedding gift.
She has Norwegian heritage.
The witch, whom I was a little afraid of as a little girl, represents the former Pagan traditions of Norway.
And he's turning her into a tree.
I do feel that the tapestry is sort of circa 1900 based on the color palette, and some of the designs in the border.
I could say, conservatively, a $4,000 retail price.
WOMAN: Well, my husband's great-grandfather was a pioneer physician, and I live in the house that he built in 1853, and his implements and things that he used in his pioneer physician days are in my possession now.
He made the rounds with these saddlebags, and delivered babies.
This is an OB kit, which frightens me.
I always said I want to hold my legs together when I see that.
So he did a little bit of everything.
Oh, yes, yeah.
Country doctor had to know just about everything.
And so he also did something, some dental work, too?
Yes, he did, he pulled teeth, and I don't know why, but he kept the teeth.
I keep them in my kitchen.
I think it's an appropriate place to keep them.
Absolutely, where else would you put them?
It's really like a snapshot of what a doctor would have in the field back in the 19th century.
What we see here is, with the wooden handle, you know, that's before we understood bacteria.
And so that was later replaced and became all stainless steel.
So we see that, that's probably circa 1850s, 1860s.
And then the saddlebag, which would have some medicines in it that he would carry around, again, right around that kind of mid-19th-century timeframe.
And the picture shows the Dr. Arnold?
And then who are the other folks in the picture?
They're the two other Dr. Arnolds.
So it's a family of doctors.
Three generations there.
To the right collector, retail value, adding everything up, I think we have at least $1,000 worth of items here.
Rob, you've brought us a very scary and interesting piece of Weller pottery-- Weller being one of the many art potteries that operated in the Zanesville, Ohio, area about 30 miles east of here.
And you actually have an interesting history being, I guess, a member of the Weller family going back many years.
Right-- my great- grandfather was a second cousin of Sam Weller who started the pottery.
He's collected Weller pottery for about 30 years.
And he went to an estate sale about 20 years ago and purchased this piece of Dickensware for $85.
What would be the function of it?
Well, whoever owned it stored their smoking tobacco in it.
You think this could be a commentary on not smoking?
That would be a good commentary, I think.
He is a very scary fellow.
Just to show people, besides being a skull he actually has a small skull as the finial on the top.
We can see the marking, very simple.
It says "Dickens Weller" and you can see the opening in the top where you could put a sponge to keep the tobacco moist.
This one happens to be the rarest of all the humidors.
From what I understand there might be only five or six of these known to exist.
And because of the great rarity not to mention the scariness of it I would say that this piece would probably sell in the $2,000 to $3,000 range today.
He is quite interesting and extremely rare.
I don't think I'd want to meet him in a dark alley.
(laughs) 1939 was the golden age of films.
That year they created one of my all-time favorites, "The Wizard of Oz."
Tell me about these movie props.
Where did you get them?
I purchased these swords from the "Wizard of Oz" movie from an auction company in California.
I paid $595 for them back in 1984.
"The Wizard of Oz" is one of the most beloved films, based on the books by Frank Baum.
These swords belonged to the guards of the Wicked Witch of the West, and they actually were called Winkies.
The designer of the costumes was a very famous costume designer in Hollywood at the time, Adrian.
And he designed these spears, or pikes, as sometimes they're called, as part of the costume.
Now, there were probably about 15 of the Winkies, so it's hard to know how many actual spears exist.
In the 1970s, MGM Studios, that produced these films, held their own auctions, which sold such iconic things as the ruby slippers as well as movie props like this.
One of them sold in the late '90s for $7,500, and the price has escalated since then.
One now on the auction market would bring about $15,000.
You have two of them!
And two of them would bring in excess of $30,000.
WOMAN: It belonged to my aunt who lived in Highland Park, Illinois...
...outside of Chicago, and this was in their study.
And they used to have me sleep in that room, and I was terrified of this chair.
I remember insisting that they either removed it from the room or that they covered it up.
I was about five or six, and it just terrified me.
Okay, I understand that.
They used to call it the man chair.
And the only thing I heard about it, and it's more of a family myth than anything else...
...was that my grandfather won it in a poker game in Chicago and that it came out of a bordello.
Well, this comes under the umbrella of fantasy furniture, when a traditional furniture maker departs from the normal chairs that they're making or furniture they're making... Mm-hmm.
...and creates something that's otherworldly, that's purely fantasy.
And this man, this mask in the back, has roots centuries ago in history.
We call it the Green Man.
And this chair, which is late 19th century, actually is green.
That's the original green paint.
This mask we see in Europe on churches, on medieval castles, you'll see it as keystones.
This Green Man has always symbolized rebirth, life, regeneration, and nature.
We usually see this mask on beds, on sofas, we'll see this mask, but never...
I've never seen the whole body of the Green Man.
This has the knuckles.
Look at these hands.
Feel that, when you hold it.
These branch-like, twisting, almost like they're growing, vines supporting the legs.
Very Art Nouveau in influence.
If we can turn this over-- if you can help me... Mm-hmm.
Look on the, on the bottom, there's this little label here.
And it says "The Harry J.
Dean Co., special furniture," and then "Detroit."
So we know it was made in America.
This was made in about 1890.
The great thing is, look at that original paint, all the green.
And look at these, these feet.
I'd put a value on this, probably, for fair market value purposes, right in the range of $3,000.
MAN: This painting was done by Demetrios Jameson, who was my father.
Dad did this in, I believe, around 1947 when he was a student at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Now, he studied with Max Beckmann at that time.
Yes, he did.
And Max Beckmann is this larger-than-life German expressionist artist, and you can really see he was picking up on the things that he was taught by the master.
Yes, and he had very, very high regard for Max, and they communicated for many years after.
This painting used to hang in my grandmother's house...
It's a little spooky-- it didn't scare you?
No, it doesn't, it never has.
The only thing is, I keep waiting for her to turn around, and I've been waiting for about 60 years for her to turn around.
He moved on to a different style, a more modernist style.
Yes, he did.
And so this is an early example of his work.
This is... that's one of the reasons I picked this painting, other than the fact that I love it, is that we know very little about, you know, the values, or what have you, for this era.
There's not very many like this.
Of all the markets that have remained stable in our very wobbly economy, for American art, the modernist movement and the surrealist movement are very strong and very sought after.
And this painting is just a terrific example of American modernism/surrealism.
We have this crumpled-up piece of mysterious paper; we have this enigmatic figure with red hair and an acidic green skirt; then we have these cracks in the concrete; the broken silo; the crumbling columns.
Central casting, wonderful surrealism.
The painting is an oil on canvas.
I would insure this one at $15,000.
I think he was a very important artist.
Well, I agree, I think so as well.
Well, you're a good son.
(laughter) Well it kind of almost looks like mohair.
I used to have a whole flock of angora goats.
Found the right guy.
So I kind of know about their hair a little bit.
I can see them asking easily like $100, $150 for this.
She's going back in the attic.
Just back in the attic?
(chuckling) Not out on the wall now?
She's kinda creepy.
Oh, I think she looks like a fun gal.
WOMAN: Well, he came from a pet cemetery that was located in northwest San Antonio.
Well, so, this is Blackie.
And he died in 1948.
Now, this, of course, is a concrete statue of Blackie, and Blackie was taken care of at the pet cemetery.
MAN: This was from the '40s, and I know the artist is J. Clinton Shepherd.
It used to hang at the top of the stairs in my grandmother's house, and when I was about five years old it was terrifying to go up the stairs.
It was kind of scary with the alligator and the shotgun and the spookiness of the swamp.
Shepherd was an illustrator and this is among the best of what I've ever seen by him.
And Florida subject matter is highly collectible.
So I would say an auction estimate on this today might be between $5,000 and $7,000.
MAN: I got them from various autograph dealers in the early '80s.
APPRAISER: How much did you pay for them?
Maybe $2, $2.25.
We have here Lon Chaney, the Man of a Thousand Faces.
Lon Chaney is an extremely rare autograph.
Unfortunately, the photo is not autographed, it's just the piece of paper.
So just this at auction, you're looking at $500 to $700.
If the image were signed, you're probably looking at $1,000 to $1,500.
Bela Lugosi, also very rare to find his signature, that's about $1,500 at auction.
Elsa Lanchester, Bride of Frankenstein, this is a later image.
So here you're looking at about $300 to $500.
And here we have a later 8x10.
It's signed by numerous people who where in the movie "House of Dracula."
And here you're looking at about $200 to $400.
Well, I would say you made a monstrously good deal.
(laughs) MAN: I went to a local auction, just walked in, and it caught my eye.
They told us after the auction that it came out of a museum in Texas.
APPRAISER: A museum in Texas, okay.
So I don't know, that's all I know about it.
You bought this at auction about how long ago?
We purchased it probably three years ago.
It's a very exciting object, visually.
Lots of people have been walking by, and I have to say, almost no one can walk by without looking and having something to say about it, because it is... it's such an over-the-top object.
Horn chairs and horn furniture like this, the genesis of that style is in the late 19th century.
In the 1870s, and really by the 1880s, there was a great fad for this kind of furniture.
And it was being made in Texas, as you might imagine, but also in St. Louis and Kansas and Chicago and even in Massachusetts.
They were shipping these horns around because there was... there was real popularity for it.
It was really the time of the Wild West.
And the object is very evocative of that kind of feeling.
Where does it live in your house?
Our home's very eclectic, so it just fits right in.
Very eclectic home.
So you don't have a Western theme going?
No, no theme.
Well, the horns are steer horns.
Originally, these often had cowhide seats, but also different kinds of fabric seats.
You've got leather on here.
It's sort of a fun mix of faux alligator in a couple different colors, deer skin here, and lots and lots of steer horns.
Now, is it comfortable?
Do you sit in it?
Yes, it is, actually, we do use it.
There are actually four other horn chairs, and we use it as, like, a dining set.
Oh, that's great.
So it's fun.
Have steak probably... (both laugh) So I guess there's good news and bad news here, in a way.
The good news is, you bought a terrifically eye-catching, snappy object, and in the market right now, the things that people gravitate to are things like this, that have great visual appeal and great presence.
But the piece itself is not very old.
It could well have come from a museum in Texas, but I don't know if...
It would be a "museum" in quotes, I think.
I think it was made probably in the last 20 or 30 years.
I've never seen a period chaise or settee like this.
They could have made them, but chairs were really the most popular form.
Now, what did you pay for it?
I think we paid $3,000, maybe.
Okay, okay, well, I think at auction, I would expect it to have an estimate maybe in the $2,000 to $3,000 range.
You know, I'd ask the viewers out there, "Would you have this in your living room?"
WOMAN: I've been collecting for many years.
This is a sampling of diverse items that I have.
A lot of things that I collect are signed and/or numbered, including the doll.
Your collection showcases the vastness of what Edward Gorey really did and how truly macabre his mind was.
I was most caught by the two dolls you brought here today.
This one's named Figbash, and it's a hand-designed Gorey doll, and it states that it's filled with rice.
And you mentioned you have a lot of signed items here, which you do, and here we have Edward Gorey's trademark signature, where he invariably crosses out his name and then signs underneath the crossed-out name.
I've hardly seen any Gorey signatures over the years that didn't follow that pattern.
And tell me about the other doll here.
The other doll is a Bahhumbug.
And he came with the limited edition signed, numbered book.
Which you also have.
The books are rare and collectible in their own rights, but the dolls, particularly since Mr. Gorey's passing, have become very, very difficult to find and have escalated in value.
The dolls just didn't stay with the books very well.
You brought one Gorey item here today that I've never seen before.
Yes, the tarot cards.
They're just a delightful assortment of his postcard work.
And this is also signed and numbered.
Edward Gorey was one of the most original and creative, if not oddly disturbing, (laughs) artists and authors of the 20th century.
Yes, one of the reasons I like him so well.
He really had an off-kilter sense of humor, and what I love about, from a bibliophile perspective, Gorey wasn't just interested in books.
You brought us the "Amphigorey" play poster, signed by Edward Gorey.
We have here also a pop-up book that's quite nice.
And then you brought one very early book of his, over by your side there.
Oh yes, "The Green Beads."
That's one of his earliest books, and that copy is also signed.
One of my favorites is, over here, the... "The Dancing Rock," and this is by Ogdred Weary, which anyone that knows Gorey would know that that's one of the endless names that he made up.
And this is a back-to-back, or dos-à-dos, book, with "The Floating Elephant" by Dogear Wryde.
And this charming little book is also signed by both of his aliases on each side of the book.
May I ask you what you might have paid for these items?
The Figbash doll, I bought that at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and they were $20 apiece.
The tarot cards I bought when they were first issued, and I believe I paid $50 for those.
So pretty much most of this material you acquired new, as it came out, and got at the issue prices.
"The Green Beads," I didn't.
I paid more for that.
I paid about $150 to $200, perhaps.
I think "The Headless Bust" here, with the Bahhumbug doll, could be the centerpiece of your collection.
And I would estimate that its value, at retail, would be approximately $1,500 for the book, for the dust jacket, (laughs) the box, the doll, Sorry... and, of course, the all-important autograph.
That's nowhere near what I paid.
I am very surprised.
(laughs) I would estimate a fair market value, at retail, for your entire collection would be $5,000-plus.
(laughs) Oh, my gosh.
It's very hard to believe, and I have so much more at home that I didn't bring.
Well, yeah, we should mention this is just the tip of the iceberg, yes.
I'm very pleasantly surprised.
WOMAN: I've been collecting holiday items about 30 years.
What drew you into holiday pieces?
Christmas, the old Santa Clauses, and color, and... And you put them out every year?
Where'd you get the devil lantern?
I bought it about ten years ago at a flea market here.
Okay, and how much did you pay for it?
I bought that lantern and another one that is in mint condition for $150.
And the Santa?
The Santa I bought recently from a dealer Mm-hmm.
and, uh... paid, I think $250 for it.
Well, let's start with the devil lantern.
The best lanterns come from Germany.
They were made in Germany from the early 1900s all the way up to World War II and they're the most collected today.
Finding a molded devil lantern like this is very unusual.
He's got his original horns and ears, which is also unusual.
They were made with paper inserts as you can see in the eyes, the nose, and the mouth.
When you put the candle in and you lit it, and it would flicker, gave that kind of eerie glow Yes.
that you would get on Halloween night.
Well, too often, of course, it would catch fire, the inserts would go up in smoke.
So to have these here adds a lot of value to the lantern.
Also has an original base to it.
It's been a little shellacked and a little faded, but value on it would still...
I'd put it at least $400 to $600 as an auction estimate...
even with the little tear here.
Now, let's take a look at the Santa.
You said you bought that recently for $250.
I'll tell you, I've been collecting for years.
Occasionally, we all get fooled and, unfortunately, on the Santa, he is new.
These should be tagged as new and sold as new, but some dealers are taking them and selling them as old and it's not just the Santas.
It's also a lot of Halloween material and you've got to be very, very careful when you're buying them.
You've got to be able to say to the dealer, ask them straight out, "Hey, is this new or is this old?
I'm not sure."
So you had a feeling it might be new?
Yeah, yes, that's why I brought it.
But it didn't stop you from buying it.
And you still love doing this?
And, look, you've also been able to come on here and been a great sport-- which I appreciate-- and you've helped to educate a lot of other people who won't make the same mistake.
Thank you for doing that.
MAN: Well, it came from South Jersey.
And believe it or not, it was in the home that was purchased, in the eave of the garage.
For several years we never even realized that it was there.
APPRAISER: So, what did you think when you first saw it?
Were you afraid to pick it up?
I think I started to dance around, and my niece describes it as the happy dance.
Because it was something so peculiar that I knew it was special.
A piece of folk art has to have a lot of things going for it to be great.
It has to draw you in.
And that's exactly what this does.
Back around 1890 or 1900, somewhere in that time period, somebody decided that they wanted to make something out of roots, and once they got started, they couldn't stop.
It has a great old finish on it.
And it's kind of like those spooky trees...
...in the old tales.
It fascinates me.
It drives me crazy and it kind of scares me, too.
And that's exactly what something like this should do for you.
There's a little bit of wear up here.
But I tell you something, to a non-folk-art person, this is probably ugly as a mud fence.
But to the people that collect folk art...
...it's a thing of great beauty.
So much detail, several different snakes.
Cat, my favorite.
Another cat... and a horse head over there.
And as far as value is concerned, we really agonized over that part of it.
I would say a good auction estimate would be $30,000 to $50,000.
(laughs) That's really welcome news.
WOMAN: I inherited them kind of by default.
I thought they were kind of big scary moths, like my idea... if this was real, that'd be terrible.
APPRAISER (laughing): I'd say.
They were really bad.
Well, there is a realistic element to them.
Really that size, yeah.
It's called pochoir.
Pochoir is the use of stencils, and then they would use a roller or a very heavy brush.
So that's why it's so bold and strong.
WOMAN: I brought in this invitation to an execution, actually, a hanging.
APPRAISER: It's a fascinating example of Western frontier justice.
Public executions were a way of administering justice and making everyone around you know that, "Hey, if you're going to commit a crime, this was what may happen to you."
And people really love collecting these morbid bits of memorabilia.
(laughing): It is a little morbid.
This is a two-headed llama that was purchased at a PBS auction.
APPRAISER: It's obviously we know what it is, it's the "Pushmi-Pullyu," the two-headed llama from "Dr.
This was made by Steiff in 1967 for the promotional tours of the movie.
And the cool part about it is the heads turn around.
There you go.
WOMAN: These posters were taken from the Fulton Theatre in Lancaster County in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
My father-in-law was a magician, and he collected everything magic.
A whole house was full of magic, doves lived in the basement and these were some of the pieces that he had that he thought were very valuable.
These are lobby cards for a performance that Thurston did in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
And the images, to people who collect magic, are going to be very familiar because these were both posters that were produced in a much larger format-- about 27 inches wide by 41 inches high.
So maybe two and a half or three times this size.
And the images were used to promote his shows around the country.
Now, the regular posters that were larger didn't have the strip on the top that gave information about the actual performances.
They were more generic in that they just showed Thurston.
The one closest to you, magicians tried to portray to the ticket-buying public that they were capable of communing with the black arts.
And so it was a very commonly seen theme or meme to have little imps, little devils whispering into the ear of the magician-- a sort of an arcane explanation for the tricks that he could do.
Then on the poster closer to me, you actually have an exhibition of one of Thurston's levitating tricks.
"She floats all over the stage."
So, one of the big mysteries about these kind of magic posters is that they're very hard to date.
Because the performer would have printed thousands of copies that were then used to be overprinted by the local theaters.
Even with the full-size copies, we don't know the exact date.
So when these have come up for sale at auctions, they're dated as circa 1935.
But I did a little detective work, and using a sort of a reverse historic calendar, I took a look to find out what year April 4th fell on a Saturday.
April 4th fell on a Saturday in both 1925 and 1931.
Now, 1925 is too early for these posters, so we can now accurately date these to 1931.
Now, just to put a fine point on it, it's possible they were printed earlier in the thousands and used in 1931.
So now the question is, what are they worth?
Very few of these lobby cards have come up for auction.
And when they do, they tend to bring between $500 and $750 each.
So combined I'd say it's about $1,000 to $1,500.
And I will point out that the condition on these isn't that good.
But I feel that they're rare enough that collectors can't be that picky about condition in this case because there's not a lot of other ones to choose from.
MAN: I was in Cincinnati.
I got interested in movie posters.
There happened to be a big collector in Cincinnati who I just called up on the phone and said, "Can I come over and talk to you about posters?"
I went and this poster was on his wall.
And I was just transfixed.
It wasn't for sale at the time, but later on he called me up and said if I was interested...
I took a big gulp and against probably the wishes of my wife I went ahead and bought it.
How much longer after you first saw him did it take for him to decide to sell it to you?
It was probably about three years.
So three years later he called you.
And your big gulp was because... How much did you have to pay for it?
I paid $7,000 for it.
Okay, that's a big gulp kind of decision.
It's actually not a poster, but I wanted to start with it on this side because you have it framed so we could see both sides of it.
And the reason I started on this side is because we can see exactly what it is.
It's the pressbook, press campaign, the ad campaign book that they would send out to show all the different options that you had for posters.
We're talking about "The Bride of Frankenstein," 1935, Universal Pictures.
A lot of fun options here.
Boris Karloff, one of his most famous roles.
And the reason that you probably fell in love with it, I'm going to turn it around now, because this is the back cover of the book... And we'll take a look at the front.
And so we see now on the front it's gorgeous.
It might just be an ad campaign booklet, a press booklet, but it has some of the same graphics that were featured on some of the top posters from the film.
And I know that your concern is that, you know, you did pay a decent amount of money for it back then.
So, obviously, the question of the hour is, well, what is it worth now?
And anything to do with these films are so rare.
"Frankenstein," "Bride of Frankenstein."
Today, conservatively at auction, we would expect them to estimate at anywhere in the $20,000 to $30,000 range.
And it could very well do much more than that.
My wife will be so relieved.
I hope she is.
You did make a wise investment.
WOMAN: This gargoyle has been in my family for really about as long as I can remember.
My parents always had it hanging in the corner in the living room.
And as a kid I used to think it was really frightening, and I used to decorate it with balloons and things.
The family history is that it came from my great-uncle in Pennsylvania.
He was an attorney.
And apparently he got this in lieu of payment from a client, and that's really all I know about it.
APPRAISER: This is most likely Italian.
They were many, many different Italian pottery manufacturers.
And a lot of them used curious marks, which are hard to trace or to identify.
But this has a letter N as part of the mark, and that might refer to Naples.
But really we looked at the modeling of the clay, which is very free and very loose.
We looked at the colors and the glaze and also the application of gold on it.
And that's very typical of a lot of Italian pottery.
Now, you said you haven't used it in a long time.
No, I haven't.
And this is actually quite filthy.
It's really dirty.
So if you carefully clean it with a cotton swab and some water it would really clean up.
And the colors would be a lot brighter.
Now, this would be a part of the Renaissance revival movement, which was very popular in the last half of the 19th century in Europe.
In the Renaissance, they used a lot of gargoyles and monsters and other creepy critters as part of decoration.
There was a revival of interest in that, so a lot of furniture, painting, ceramics were made kind of in imitation of Renaissance style.
And this is an example of that.
Would this have been made for somebody's home?
Yes, I think so.
And there probably was once, at one time a pair.
Another interesting feature of this, this was made to be hung high.
And we have it hung much lower than what it's supposed to.
If we had this hung up way high, we would be looking up at this monster peering down at us.
Right-- that's where my parents had it.
Sure, and it might even be a copy of some gargoyles in a cathedral in Italy or something like that, possibly.
That's what I wondered.
We don't know.
But it is really a terrific piece.
It's hard to put a price on it because I've never seen one, never seen anything like it.
But my guess is a retail price would probably be at least $2,000 or $3,000.
He belonged to my stepdad, who was raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
And a couple of years ago, my stepdad was 81, and we kind of decided it was time to close up the house up in Hot Springs, because he wasn't traveling up there anymore.
And we were going through some closets, and my sister started pushing through the clothes, and saw that and she jumped.
She kind of screamed, because she thought it was a person, a baby.
(chuckles) So we took it out and looked at it, and we were just amazed.
It's just we'd never seen anything like it.
We think it was his.
We're pretty sure, because it's a boy doll.
It could have been his mother's, even, but we really don't know anything about it.
It's just really different.
And does he have a name?
I call him Chucky.
You call him "Chucky."
Okay, well... he doesn't look like Chucky in the movie, but it's what they call an American folk art rag doll.
Probably produced in that area.
They're sort of one-of-a-kind dolls.
He's got fabulous charm, incredible, large hands with big, pointy fingers, which are cool.
The shoes were probably originally baby shoes.
The clothing is faded, but it's completely original.
He's got a great embossed nose, beautifully painted face.
He's a painted, oilcloth rag doll.
And with his oilcloth all hand painted, he's faded down a little bit with age.
And probably dates, I would say, from... the middle 1890s, maybe to early 1900.
I can't tell you who made it.
Maybe a family member made it.
Or it was given to them, and it's just a beautiful example of American folk art.
So it sort of falls into that field as well as the doll collecting field.
And in beautiful condition.
In a really good doll shop or a really good doll show, or a folk art antiques show, you'd expect to pay at least $2,000 to $3,000 for him.
So he's a really nice find, Interesting, yeah.
and I'm glad you're going to keep him in the family.
Guess I'd better get him insured.
I know there's an artist by the name of Leonora Carrington and that she lived in Mexico.
Originally she came from Europe, but that she came to Mexico after the Second World War.
Much more than that I don't know, except I know that she was a surrealist.
Surrealism is understood most prominently by the work of Salvador Dalí, someone like that, who has these images of the imagination and dreams and in some cases nightmares, which may apply to what we have here.
Do you know about her background at all?
I believe she was born in England.
I read somewhere that she painted in her early 20s and that she was the mistress of Max Ernst.
She did run off with Max Ernst.
She's a student and then ran off to France, and after the war, she suffered a nervous breakdown, and I think these pieces are very personal.
I think that's part of it, is her coming to grips with the nightmares and the imagery in her life.
And you look at this piece, it's all very macabre and surreal.
The central piece here is this large sort of wolf-like figure with multiple arms and legs all around it.
And then distributed throughout the bushes are figures.
You see this wolf-like face here and bats sort of looming.
And then down at the bottom, you have these creepy fellows with a spider.
Overall, she had a fairly normal life, it seemed, but she was haunted by these visions.
You mention she did go to Mexico, and that's where she did most of her work.
Not until after the war, she had her first showing down here.
She signed "Leonora Carrington" in 1961.
Now, where did you get this?
It was originally my parents', and they had a large house, and they had a rather extensive collection of art.
When they got this, I fell in love with it, and finally when they downsized, they knew that it was the one piece of all their artwork that I really adored, and so they gave it to me, and that was about 40 years ago.
Obviously, this was '61, so this is over 50 years old, and it was probably purchased around the time it was painted.
Did they go to Mexico, or do...?
I believe so.
I believe they had friends in Mexico City who knew collectors.
They were able to go to people's homes who had more paintings than they needed, literally warehousing them, from Mexican artists.
And this came out, and my father dug deep and he bought it.
Right, well, it's a fabulous example of her work, and really relates that personal angst that she had.
Now, she painted in a variety of different mediums.
This is a piece on canvas, so it looks like it's primarily oil.
Recently, her value has come up a bit because she has passed away.
She died in 2011.
She lived to be 94, I believe.
Her works are sold mainly in Latin American sales.
There's a lot of interest in those.
Have you had it appraised or...?
I have not.
I do know what my parents paid for it.
I believe they said they bought it somewhere around $7,000 to $10,000, which was a big price to pay for a painting.
I'm sure my father had to think twice about it when he did it.
Right now, I would expect an auction estimate of $200,000 to $300,000 these days.
They bought well.
You brought in this wonderful, mysterious box.
And, I know everyone's been asking at the table, all I wanted to say was, "What's in the box?"
And if you could hold that for a moment.
Now inside the box we found this wonderful plaster head with human hair, human eyelashes, and a strangely realistic human hand.
What can you tell us about the contents of the box?
I don't know if anyone has heard of Willie Sutton.
He was a famous bank robber, well-known bank robber.
He was also well known for breaking out of prisons.
This was his, that he used in an attempted breakout.
He had made this himself, in prison.
He reportedly robbed over 100 banks.
He had escaped successfully from prison three times, and this is a dummy head and dummy hand that he used in an unsuccessful escape from prison.
Well... and the prison was run by your grandfather.
After he was released from the Eastern Penitentiary, they sent it up to the Camp Hill Prison, where my grandfather was located, and then he simply kept it upon his retirement, since Willie had been released long since.
Now, reportedly, what Sutton had done, was over the course of several months-- possibly even years-- he made this false head, using hair from the barbershop-- and it is actually real human hair, same with the eyelashes.
We have no idea where he got the pigments.
Where do you find paint in prison?
You just can't go to the store and get-- color with toothpaste and pink.
But they're very creative.
I'm sure they mixed things and made things up and everything.
You know, as far as the plaster, I heard he went to the dentist a lot.
(laughing) He fashioned this wonderful head, left it in his bed, left the hand clutching a corner of the bedsheet.
Do you know what happened that night when he tried to escape?
Unfortunately, unbeknownst to him, two other inmates in another area of the prison also attempted to escape at that point, at about the same time.
And that set off all the bells and whistles and alarms.
He ran back to his cell.
This escape attempt was in August of 1941.
And it was just a few years later when he then managed to finally escape for several years.
And in 1950, he was actually the 11th person to be added to the FBI's most wanted list.
Willie Sutton was also known for a wonderful, wonderful quote.
Reportedly, he was asked once why he robbed banks.
And he was reported to have said, "Well, because that's where the money is."
Well, later in life, he denied ever saying it.
But he said it sounded good, and said it sounded like something he would say.
And he titled his autobiography "Where the Money Was" and talked about how he never, ever said that.
This is such a wonderful, wonderful piece, and doing the research on it, there's not a lot of information.
Most of the escape tools, props and things like that, that were used by prisoners to help them escape, are owned by prisons or in prison museums.
So not a lot of these come up for auction.
And we almost never see anything so prominent, and, frankly, so well done.
I mean this is a master work.
But without the box, and the provenance of the label on the box, it's just a creepy plaster head.
But if you look at pictures of Willie Sutton, it looks just like him.
It is amazingly well done.
And after conferring with my colleagues, we are able to give it a very conservative auction estimate of $2,500 to $3,500.
Wow, that's nice.
That's very nice.
As far as I know, this is the first head in a box we've had on "Roadshow."
(laughs) WALBERG: I'm Mark Walberg.
Thanks for watching this special episode full of kooky and spooky things.
See you next time on "Antiques Roadshow."