April 2017

Antiques With Gary DonFeatures

Dear Gary,

My Grandma in the 40’s and 50’s used to write to studios in the USA to ask for photos of film stars, and they used to send her some.

We’re not 100% certain if they’re print, or actually signed. She also has some film/movie annuals from around the same era.

Just wondering if there may be any value to them. Apologies if they aren’t great photos, but hope you can help!


Thank you for your email and photos.

Firstly, The Picture Show Annual and Film Parade were very popular and thousands of copies were bought and kept. They can be found for sale between £5-10 each in today’s market.

As to your signed photographs of the film stars, the first thing to establish is whether or not they are original or printed signatures. By using a magnifying glass, you should be able to tell by running your finger gently over the signature and if you can feel the texture and if it is raised particularly around the outline, you know it has been added on top of the photograph. If the edges of the signature have more ink, and it feels flat, then it is probably a stamped signature.

Finally if they have passed those tests, you need to compare it to a an image of a real signature in case it has been signed by a secretary, which was very common as thousands of requests regularly came in to the studios.

Most signed film photos seem to average £30-100, with the more famous actors and actresses like Marilyn Monroe fetching thousands of pounds.

I hope yours turn out to be real.

Dear Gary

We brought this Royal Doulton plate back home to Leeds when we cleared my grandparents home in Littlehampton, West Sussex in the late 1960s.  It has a chip on one side, but no other damage. Does it have any value? 

Kind regards, Elaine

Dear Elaine,

Thank you for your email.

Your Royal Doulton plate is one of a series including plates, jugs and other items produced in relation to the Battle of Hastings commemorated on the Bayeaux Tapestry. Royal Doulton produced lots of items commemorating famous events and people and they were very popular. There are plenty of them for sale on the internet between £20 – 60. It is perhaps an item to put away for the future as in my opinion they are very undervalued at the moment.

Hi Gary

I bought these Staffordshire dogs in 2008 for £35 and though I have searched the Staffordshire pottery range can’t  find anything like them.

Can you tell me if you think they are genuine and their value please.

Best wishes Jeanette Morris

Dear Jeanette,

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately I cannot tell you whether your figures are genuine or reproduction from a photo.

This comes from many years’ experience and advice from my grandfather as how to tell by the weight, feel and finish. The original Victorian dogs used to sell for £300 – 500 a pair in the 1960’s and 70’s when there was an abundance of American buyers around. Unfortunately there are so many reproductions around today and a lack of interest from the younger generation in this type of collectable has driven the price down to £70 – 100 for originals and £20 – 30 for reproductions.

Hi Gary,

I have an old board game ‘The Buccaneer’ would it be worth anything.

Dear Barbara,

Thank you for your email and photo of your board game ‘The Buccaneer’.

Our own Waddingtons of Leeds published this board game between the 1930’s – 1980’s. Your version is a 1930’s one, and I can tell that because of the roll up island which was later replaced with a folding board.

Although most board games do not fetch a great deal of money, ‘The Buccaneer’ is a very collectable game, particularly the early version and yours is complete and in good condition.

Although I have seen sellers asking as much as £140 on the internet, I think realistically it should sell between £80 – 100.

Dear Gary

I saw your page in Yorkshire Reporter and wondered if this “family heirloom” is saleable. It measures 36″ x 27.5″ in large rosewood frame and is depicting the Good Samaritan. Some damage to left hand top corner see 2nd picture.


Your silk tapestry is typical of the items produced in the late Georgian and early Victorian eras.

Victorian households would have been proud to display this religious image. However today times have changed and it is not the easiest subject to sell. The frame is made of rosewood. Rosewood developed its name because as you saw into the wood, it smells of roses. I would expect an item like this to sell between £50 – 80.

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