Mar 7, 2014

American Bandstand Collectibles

Promotional merchandise has become such a part of American media marketing that many new movies launch simultaneously with a merchandising push. Disney is a master of such promotion, along with Lucasfilms and Pixar. Most of the merchandise comes and goes quickly, but dolls representing cultural and pop icons linger on year after year, moving from the bedrooms of adolescents to the shelves of collectors.

One such cultural icon is the Dick Clark doll, still making its appearance 45 years after its introduction. Yes, the American Bandstand host had his own doll—along with a host of other products. Dick Clark was a master of promotion, and a record business genius. From modest beginnings in Philadelphia in 1956, he built a music business empire around his American Bandstand franchise.

American Bandstand is the longest-running television show in U.S. broadcast history, airing continuously for 37 years (1952 to 1989). The original show premiered on Philadelphia’s WFIL-TV as Bandstand, and was hosted by WFIL-radio disc jockey Bob Horn. In the spring of 1956, Horn had some very public run-ins with the law and he was fired. Bandstand producer Tony Mammarella filled in as host until Clark was hired. In the spring of 1957, Clark pitched the show to the ABC television network; it was picked up nationally and the show’s name was changed to “American Bandstand.”

The show’s theme song was changed from Artie Shaw’s “High Society” to the now-famous “Bandstand Boogie” by Les Elgart’s Big band. The Bandstand theme was updated over the years as musical tastes changed, and the final version (in use from 1977-1989) added lyrics and vocals by Barry Manilow. Read More...

Estate Executors Can Only Profit from Hiring an Appraiser

There’s a very compelling reason why estate executors should enlist the help of an appraiser or auctioneer when sorting through an estate’s personal property: Executors often have no idea what’s collectible and what’s not.

A case in point:

I recently helped a neighbor sort through the contents of her brother’s estate. It was a typical middle-class estate: lots of household goods and a few collectibles on display. The neighbor had already spent a fair amount of time sorting and cleaning. On a dresser was a small bag of trash, and it was spilling over onto the dresser top.

As I opened the jewelry box on the dresser to inspect its contents, my gaze fell onto a ticket stub in the pile of trash. I recognized the ticket instantly, because for years I owned one. It was light blue-green in color, and featured the images of three of the four Beatles. I picked it up and confirmed that it was a ticket to The Beatles concert at the D.C., Stadium on Aug. 15, 1966. Read More...

Mar 5, 2014

Danelectro Guitars: The Beginners’ Instrument Collected by Stars

Vintage guitar auctions are heavily weighted toward the three big names in guitar history—Fender, Gibson and Martin—and rightfully so: in recent decades, those companies have produced the guitars that have shaped rock ’n’ roll and folk music. When a name-brand guitar owned by a big star goes to auction, it brings big bucks.Fender Stratocasters owned by Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton have recently sold for nearly $1 million at auction. Other well-known guitar brands achieve high prices at action as well: D’AngelicoHofner, Mosrite, Gretsch and Rickenbacker among them.

What’s rarely seen at prominent guitar auctions—but are just as collectible (and a lot more affordable)—are guitars that the great players learned to play on when they were young.

Beginner Guitars
Most parents haven’t a clue whether their children have musical talent, and few of them will invest in a fine instrument until they know for sure if Junior is going to keep up the lessons. Try it, and then buy it; that’s the usual parental philosophy. If your child turns out to be a rock star then the money was well spent. If not, little was invested. Read More...

Mar 3, 2014

Executors’ Headache: Selling Trophy Mounts

If you were an estate executor and discovered a cache of illegal drugs in a decedent’s home, you’d know not to sell them, right? Of course; everyone knows that there are consequences for selling controlled substances. If you have even a modicum of environmental awareness, you also know that it’s illegal to improperly dispose of household hazardous waste and that personal property having a safety impact (firearms, for example) needs special care and handling.

What most executors and heirs don’t know is that they could go to jail or be fined for selling grandpa’s prized mounted deer head, fish, bird, rug or other decorative wildlife trophy item.

A case in point:

A California man inherited a mounted mule deer trophy from his grandfather. Gramps had “bagged” the deer while on a hunting trip to Colorado a few years earlier. Maybe grandpa thought he was being funny, because the heir in question was a vegetarian with no interest in such trophies. A college student in need of cash, the heir offered the trophy for sale on Craigslist. After playing “phone tag” for about a week with interested callers, an appointment was set and the trophy was sold. Read More...