*Monday’s (Feb. 3) episode of PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow” finds a man in Detroit who brought in a 1964 passport belonging to Marvin Gaye.
“It came to me by pure accident, actually,” says the guest seeking an appraisal for the item. “For years, I worked for the Motown Museum here in Detroit, started when I was 18 years old. I was a Motown collector– anything Motown, I loved. And after a Motown musician had passed, we had gone to their house to pick up some items that the family wanted to donate to the museum, and they had said, ‘Is there anything else you wanted? Because otherwise, it’s going to be in the estate sale this weekend.’”
There were a number of albums and records the family offered the man, but he turned them down because the museum already had so many. However, the Motown collector in him couldn’t resist a good bargain.
“So I went back to the estate sale and bought some albums and 45s,” the man said. “When I got home, I was going through them and out of an album fell this passport. And so it literally fell into my hands.”
The Motown collector said he bought the album for 50 cents. After examining the document, “Antiques Roadshow” appraiser Laura Woolley said, “I wouldn’t put less than $20,000 on the passport if you were to insure it.”
Needless to say, the man was stunned.
“The thing I’m in love with is how young he is here,” Wooley says on Monday’s episode. “This is dated 1964, which is great, and it is after he added the “E” to the end of his name, because when he was signed as a solo artist with Motown, he decided to add that “E,” and there’s a lot of different theories: people say it’s because he wanted to separate himself from his father or because he actually liked Sam Cooke so much, who had an “E” at the end of his name, that he wanted to imitate his idol.”
She added, “People love passports because they also show where he was all over the world, what he’s doing during these years– he’s obviously traveling, he’s touring. People also like them because we know that they’re real signatures, because you have to sign your own passport.
“Passport collecting is a really vibrant collecting world because there’s usually only a few of them throughout your life; you only replace them every so often.”
Below, Woolley cites fellow “Roadshow” appraiser Wes Cowan in revealing the key to determining if that old thing in your home from your grandma’s era is worth thousands of dollars… or just old.
“Antique Roadshow” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on PBS.