Readers ask about Club Plantation fan & Apollo 11 mags
Friday at Auction Finds is readers’ questions day. I try to guide readers to resources for them to determine the value of their items. I’m not able to appraise their treasures, but I can do some preliminary research to get them started. So, these are market values based on prices I find on the web, not appraisal for insurance purposes that I suggest for items that have been determined to be of great value.
Today’s questions are about a racist fan advertising the 1940s Club Plantation in St. Louis, and Life and Look magazines featuring the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.
Can someone tell me the value of the Club Plantation fan mentioned in your article? I have one and found your website article but cannot find a value.
Answer: This reader was referring to a blog post I wrote about two years ago after coming across a Club Plantation fan at auction. The cover of the fan is a racist and stereotypical depiction of an African American.
The fan advertised a whites-only club in St. Louis, MO, where some of the country’s top entertainers played but were not allowed to sit for drinks, get friendly with the customers or even come through the front door. It was owned by gangsters, and at the height of its good times before and during World War II, it was one of the most popular clubs in the city.
Entertainers such as Billy Eckstine and band members Charlie Parker, Lucky Thompson, Art Blakey and Dizzy Gillespie played the club. Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan sang there, along with Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.
As for the fan, I would suggest that the reader try eBay and then Google to find out what someone is willing to pay for it or any other item. Ebay is an international marketplace and just about everything is sold on the site. I wrote a blog post a few months ago offering that advice along with examples of some searches I had done.
I checked eBay with the words “Club Plantation fan” under the “Completed Listings” (items that have been sold, not the ones listed and haven’t been sold yet,) and found the fan selling singly for $5.50 and with a group of four fans for $52.50.
I have several weeks of Look and Life magazines in mint condition that I collected and saved in 1969 during the preparations and mission for the moon landing. I am looking for the best possible offer from people or organizations that might want to purchase these materials.
You’re probably not the only one who has those old magazines. Some years ago, I picked up a few copies of Life magazine with the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing and could barely unload them at flea markets. In fact, I probably still have them tucked away somewhere.
Recently, I came across some Associated Press (AP) newsprint photos of the Gemini mission, the precursor to Apollo 11 in 1962. That was the early years of the United States’ dipping its toe into space exploration with the backing of President John F. Kennedy.
With that much history behind the photos, I figured that someone would love to have them, but I wanted to make sure before I paid good money (but not a lot of it) for them.
A quick check of eBay proved me wrong. It turned up several AP photos from the Gemini mission, but very few of them sold. That was almost the same outcome at the auction when the group of photos came up for sale. The auctioneer had to practically give them away. Even the baseball cards stuffed in the bottom of the box were not enticing enough for bidders. The auctioneer had to drop the beginning bid to $2.50 before he got a nibble.
Magazines featuring the moon landing seem to be as common as Life and Look magazines from the Kennedy assassination. Thousands of them were printed, and everyone saved them and kept them – and at some point decades later, someone else tossed them.
Recently, in fact, a couple of magazines from the moon landing appeared at auction. I flipped through them but I shied away from bidding on them. Checking eBay, I found moon landing magazines - most of them Life – selling for $9.99 up to $50 for a grouping.
Maybe it’s time for me to find my old mags.
Here are some blog posts I’ve written about newspapers containing stories of historical events.