Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ephemera: Letters & Postcards From Whom?

True treasure can be found in what most people perceive as trash, especially when it comes to old letters and postcards.

I once shared a story with you about a friend finding several letters in a box lot at auction by Martin Luther King Jr. he paid just a few dollars for. I know this man well, and I don’t think they will be sold anytime soon, however I am certain they are worth thousands today. I also wrote about the letter Cecil bought written by John F. Kennedy to a young girl, and this letter is true history about the sensitivity of this president. You could feel his passion for children through his words.

Letters like these will command large sums of money now and especially in the future. These kinds of finds are not a rare occurrence, if you’re willing to spend time going through piles of postcards and letters that seem to have no significance. You might come up with one or more, because they are out there in abundance.
Perhaps the best thing about finding items like these is their price. When they are found, they can usually be bought for pennies. But, believe me, it isn’t as easy as it sounds – at least for me. My biggest problem with this type of item is the handwriting. I have trouble reading the old handwriting. I hope this isn’t as big a problem for you as it is for me.

I may have come across a treasure like this. I was shown a folder containing nearly 150 Civil War Letters that are coming up for sale. I’m sure there are others who have interest in these letters, but depending upon what information these letters contain, their value could be small. But, if they contain descriptions of the battles, their value could almost be priceless. The wait for those answers will give me sleepless nights, I’m sure.

I’ve known many people who have found real treasure in letters and postcards. I remember a gentleman who found hundreds of pieces of sports memorabilia in the way of letters that had been tossed out into the garbage, only to find that they had once been the property of a very famous sports star.

Could this happen to you? If you’re willing to spend the time looking through piles of letters and postcards it can.

And there’s another value to be found in old letters and postcards. The stamps! You might get a real surprise in the value of some stamps. I’ve seen stamps attached to envelopes that have brought in $100,000 plus. There might be one of these in that old trunk in the attic at your next estate sale or garage sale waiting for you. So keep your eyes open and read, read, and read.

Today's Photo is a signed letter from Robert E. Lee

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