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What is My Historical Collectible Worth?


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What is the Historical Category?

As you may have noticed, we have recently changed the title of our department from Americana to Historical. Formerly, our focus was on collectibles that reflected the growth and character of the American culture; we specialized primarily in political campaign memorabilia, autographs, and manuscripts. In the last year, we have expanded our horizons dramatically with the addition or expansion of several exciting collecting areas including rare books, space, photography, and natural history. This has necessitated the broadening of our department's title to something more descriptive of what we are really all about. The word "historical" can be defined as simply "important in history." Fundamentally, we offer collectibles and memorabilia that have shaped or changed our world and our culture, items that relate to those individuals, groups, causes, or inventions that have influenced our history.

Taking a look at the category links in the box to the left will give you an idea of the scope of our current and future offerings of which "Americana" is just a small (but important) part. From minerals and fossils dug from the depths of the earth to flags and medals that have actually been to the surface of the moon. From stone American Indian war clubs to jewel-encrusted swords presented to Civil War heroes. From pages printed by Gutenberg to the finest rare modern limited editions. Heritage Auctions' Historical Department is your source for all of this and much more.

Is My Historical Memorabilia Valuable?

The "Antiques and Collectibles" section of your local or online bookstore can serve as a good place to find basic information. However, printed material, although good as a general guide, is often out of date. The best way to find out what Americana items are worth is to look at what collectors are actually paying for it. Heritage's Auction Archives show actual prices paid in our auctions for many fine Historical collectibles, and more prices are being added all the time. With every individual item lot imaged, the Permanent Auction Archives are also an outstanding resource for identifying your material. This is a free resource, available to all Heritage members. Sign up now!!

What Historical Collectibles Does Heritage Auctions Handle?

Our department encompasses a wide range of collectible categories. However, we have compiled the following list of specific items to help guide your efforts. Please contact us if you have any of the following:
  • Advertising items from the 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Early Photography- particularly from the Civil War period, photos of important people, and Black Americana
  • Coca-Cola items earlier than 1950 as well as other early soda items
  • Tin toys and early board games prior to 1920
  • Mickey Mouse and Disney items prior to 1940 and other comic character items before 1950
  • Other toy items including cast iron transportation toys, still and mechanical banks
  • Colonial and early ephemera and autographs
  • Newspapers from the 1600s through Lincoln's Assassination
  • Quality political campaign items prior to LBJ, presidential manuscripts and relics
  • Rare and early books and manuscripts
  • Historical posters and broadsides
  • Early Suffrage material
  • American Indian art and artifacts including pottery, beadwork, and textiles
  • Western expansion and Wild West material including manuscripts, photographs, posters, and documents
  • Period Civil War material including uniforms, flags, edged weapons, firearms, accoutrements, and important documents
  • Air and Space collectibles including original material the early days of aviation and quality original space memorabilia.
  • Original material relating to the early history of Texas

We regret that we cannot answer inquiries regarding values on items from the following list:
  • Newspapers or periodicals pertaining to JFK's assassination or other 20th century events
  • Land Grants signed after Andrew Jackson's term
  • Rusted tin toys/banks or toys/banks with missing parts or that are made of plastic
  • Advertising with pitting or damage
  • Lithographs that are badly stained, torn, or have pieces missing.
  • Pinback buttons that are cracked, defaced, or stained.
  • Franklin Mint or Danbury sets
  • Jim Beam or Avon bottles or any modern "Limited Edition."
  • Reprints of any type
  • Damaged items, except for very rare cases
  • Nazi material
  • Picture postcards
  • American Indian arrowheads

How Do I Get My Historical Collection Appraised?

The first step in getting an accurate appraisal is to have the items assessed by a professional. Heritage has been serving the collectibles community for over three decades. During that time we have grown to become the world's largest collectibles dealer by staying on the cutting edge of technology, emphasizing great communications and, above all, listening to what our customers want and then giving them a fair deal on their material. With the agreement of your Heritage representative, Heritage can provide insurance on overnight delivery for your package.

For a formal written appraisal for estate planning, insurance, or tax purposes, please contact our Appraisal Services Department. Charges for formal written appraisals are based on our experts' time. Appraisal fee schedule can be viewed here.

Sell Now or Consign to a Heritage Auction
We are always looking for quality Historical items to purchase or auction. We'd love to talk to you about your collection, your buying and selling needs, and how Heritage Auctions can work for you. Call or email us today if you would like our experts to help you in determining the best options for your collection. Learn more...

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Meet our expert: Craig Kissick

Director, Nature & Science
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