Temple treasure trove may command nearly $3K

Q I was told that I could send you the pictures and info of an item that I am wondering if it is real or not.

Well, I have a book by Shirley Temple that I believe was actually hers. In the book are five Shirley-Temple's-Bookwbautographs that I believe are real because there are ink smudges on the other page. The autographs are Jimmy Dunn, Bill Robinson, George Temple Jr., Mickey Rooney and Arthur Treacher. There is also an index card telling what the signatures are and the date they were signed, also a snapshot of Shirley Temple Black, Frank Sinatra and several other gentlemen. On the back of the picture is Shirley Temple’s name written. Also there were three newspaper articles: “Shirley Temple Becomes Mother,” “Happy Wedding Group” and Shirley Temple’s brother, Jack. I am enclosing several pictures of the items I described.

I would like to know if these autographs are real and if you think this book might have actually belonged to Shirley Temple; also, what the value might be.

Thank you so very much.
— J.B.
via email

A The autographs of James (Jimmy) Dunn, Bill Robinson, Arthur Treacher and Mickey Rooney appear to be genuine; I could find no comparable signature of George Temple Jr. for comparison or value. There is not enough evidence either in your letter or in the photographs to indicate that the book belonged to Shirley Temple. It would be helpful to know where you acquired it, etc. It does appear, however, that the book, published in 1945, may have belonged to a fan of Shirley Temple’s who used it as an autograph album of sorts.

James (Jimmy) Dunn was an Oscar-winning actor who appeared with Shirley Temple in her first three movies, all in 1934, 15 years before he signed the book. His signature on a plain card sells for around $500. Bill “Bojangles” Robinson appeared with Shirley in four movies, the last of which was in 1938, 11 years before the book was signed. His autograph on a piece of paper with irregular edges in good condition sells for around $850. He usually signed his name with a loop at the base of the right leg of the “R” in “Robinson”; however, I have seen a number of his autographs with the right leg picture-of-Shirley-Temple-and-Frank-Sanatrawbof the “R” being completely straight, as in your autograph.

Arthur Treacher starred in four films with Shirley Temple between 1935 and 1939; he autographed the book in 1952. His autograph on a 3-by-5-inch card is valued at $399. Mickey Rooney appeared in more than 300 films but never one with Shirley Temple. His autograph on a plain card, worn and creased is valued at about $375. His autograph in your book is in excellent condition and would likely sell on its own for about $400.

George Temple Jr. was one of Shirley Temple’s older brothers. He served in the Marines at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack. After leaving the service he became a professional wrestler, a profession his family refused to acknowledge; he was also in two films, though none with his sister. His autograph might sell in the $25 range.
The photograph taken by Albert C. Wilkerson bears the written name “Shirley Temple” on the back. That writing most likely belongs to the photographer; it is not Shirley Temple’s autograph.

Mr. Wilkerson of Richmond, Va., photographed many famous people and movie stars including: Bing Crosby, Marlene Dietrich, Boris Karloff and Hedy Lamarr. Frank Sinatra was born in 1915, Shirley Temple was born 13 years later in 1928, since he appears so young and thin in this circa 1940s photo it is hardly likely that the older woman next to him is Shirley Temple, who would have been a teenager during the 1940s. Wilkerson’s photograph of Frank Sinatra might sell in the $10 to $15 range.

The book without the signatures in very good to excellent condition with the dust jacket sells for $10 to $14. Your book appears to have serious condition problems and a very damaged dust jacket, and as such the value of the book without the autographs is negligible.

Individually these items total an appraised value of $2,192; as a collection the price might increase another $400 for a value of around $2,600. If it could be shown the book did actually belong to Shirley Temple the value would be much higher.

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Q I just recently purchased a serving set, and I am curious about the age of the set. Also there is writing, which I believe may be French on the case. I have no idea what it says. If you could provide any additional information on this set, that would be great.

Thank you.
— L.B.
via email

A These partial photographs show a fitted box for a fancy carving set; however, the pieces in the photograph appear not to be original to the box and in fact appears to consist of pieces from three different sets. The three pieces seem to be silver plate with considerable wear; there is no mention of any identifying marks on them.

serving-set-2wbThe fitted case may have some value, but the no photographs of the entire case were provided. The interior of the lid is inscribed with the maker’s name and address in Luxembourg and the words, “Fournisseur de la cour,” which in French means Purveyor (provider) to the court (court in the sense of royalty). This indicates that the set was probably one of quality.
With the information and photograph provided, it would be difficult to appraise the set in terms of value.

When requesting information on any piece, the more information provided, including photographs, increases the chance for a more effective evaluation.

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