Summer antique auctions and shows continue!

I enjoy Antiques Roadshow and especially when they revisit older programs and update values. Some of the changes are quite interesting – some disappointing – and others downright shocking.

Certain antiques market items have dropped in value, while others have remained the same or shot up in value over the ensuing years.

A couple of weeks ago I caught a program from Tampa that had originally been broadcast in 2005. Appraisers looked at several paper/ephemera items and then today’s prices were listed. I found it refreshing that were a few very interesting pieces of paper that have done well over the years.  

The first person was a woman who had quite a collection of photos from the circus. She brought several pictures from P.T. Barnum’s Circus. Included in the group were several shots of the odd people that made up the circus – bearded ladies, Siamese twins and other people with some type of strangeness or afflictions. The photos were identified by the appraiser as albumen prints, attributed to, and taken by Eisenmann, who although based in New York, took a lot of photos of circus performers and those who were then called “freaks.” The woman collector has more than 110 of these pictures including one of P.T. Barnum himself, which she said was her first purchase.

In 2005 the collection was valued at between $10,000 and $15,000; and in 2018 the set went up a little at a value of $12,000 to $18,000.

Abraham Lincoln items of ephemera and his signature still carries a great deal of weight, value wise. Another woman on the same program brought an invitation to Abraham Lincoln’s funeral from 1865 as well as a signed copy of a speech Lincoln gave, known as the Cooper Union Address. Her husband’s ancestor had been governor of Ohio in the 19th century and the items have been in their family since being issued.

The appraiser was quite taken with both items and said they are both quite rare. His appraisal of the funeral invitation came in at $2,000; while the Cooper Union speech was valued at $60,000 in 2005. The high price on the latter item is likely due to the fact that it featured a short note and Lincoln’s signature. So with a total value of $62,000 in 2005, the owners should be happy that the items are now worth $77,500, which is a nice raise in value in the last 14 years.

For those who have paper items, it is important to keep them out of sunlight and whenever possible store them in fireproof boxes. I’d also have any important documents and papers insured for replacement value, even though it might not be possible to replace such rare items.

Those looking for some antique treasures to start or add to a collection can find plenty of events right here in Collectors Journal. Here’s a few more auctions I received via e-mail.

Auction #54, is planned for Wednesday, July 24th, by Archives International Auctions, online and at the gallery in River Edge, New Jersey. Offered will be over 900 lots of rare and highly collectible worldwide banknotes, U.S. banknotes and security printing ephemera, U.S. and worldwide scripophily, coins, historic documents and autographs. It's a three-session sale, with Session 1 set to begin promptly at 10:30 am Eastern time. Online bidding via the AIA website and Additional information about this auction, is with Dr. Robert Schwartz at (201) 944-4800; or, email him at

The three-day sale of about 2,400 antique firearms from the private collection of J.D. Davis, is slated for July 26-28 by Holabird Western Americana Collections, at the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma. (Holabird is based in Reno, Nevada). One of the highlights of the sale will be a Stevens .22 caliber long rifle, engraved "From Buffalo Bill to Night-Hawk & Broncho Bill." "Night Hawk" was Dr. D. Frank Powell. The auction will also feature swords, knives, Native Americana and other eclectic collectibles and rarities. Online bidding is available via and  If you need additional information about this auction, you may call Fred Holabird at 775-851-1859 or 844-492-2766; or, email him at

Thummel Real Estate and Auction LLC has an Antiques and Collectibles Auction coming up on July 27 at 10 a.m. at the farm located east of Abilene, Kansas on I-70 to Enterprise, exit 281, then North 5 miles to Highway 18, then east 2 miles to Oat Road, north one mile to 3100 road, then west ¾ of a mile to the farm. Pine cabinets, wash benches, wall divider, drop leaf table and other furniture will be sold in addition to a wood burning stove, New Home treadle sewing machine, guns, quilts, folk art and more. More information about this auction is at (785) 738-0067 or at  

Have a great week checking out auctions, shows and sales. Please contact us with Auction Action news; mystery items; unusual collections; club and convention news and any other antiques-related matters at or; or via telephone at (319) 472-4763.