Watch BSA posters get appraised on ‘Antiques Roadshow’

Antiques-Roadshow-logo(Updated Jan. 8, 2013)

The 10-time Emmy nominated Antiques Roadshow, “part adventure, part history lesson, part treasure hunt,” kicked off its 17th season with an episode featuring a little something for Scouting collectors.

The show’s premiere took us to Corpus Christi, Tex., and included a very-brief appraisal of Boy Scout posters.

Admittedly, when I first heard the show would feature BSA memorabilia, I had hoped the BSA segment would be longer. As it is, you can watch the 60-second appraisal of some BSA posters right here.

You Tell Me

What’s your most-prized piece of BSA memorabilia? And if you had to guess, what would you set as its dollar value? Leave your comment below.

Note from Bryan (Jan. 8, 2013): In an earlier version of this post, I oversold the BSA segment’s length and its depth. I was basing that on the information PBS sent to the BSA last month, and I published this post before I had seen the clip myself. I apologize for the confusion.


  1. I have a shadowbox that our Scoutmaster made for each member of the 2001 National Jamboree troop when I went as an ASM with my son. It contains patches and other memorabilia from not only Jamboree, but the pre-tour. That Scoutmaster has since passed away, so that makes it all the more special. YIS. Mike Conkey, Eagle 1976, Denver Area Council, Vigil, Tahosa Lodge.

  2. Most prized scouting items- my wife’s grandfathers early 1900’s BSA handbook and a 30 or so year old woven patch of BP given to me by a scout from South Africa

  3. I have several ‘prize pieces in my collection… First MY 1950’s Cub, Scout and Explorer uniforms, along with their belts, neckerchiefs etc.
    Second is my old ruck-sack (military surplus) backpack. To this day it still contains several lengths of rope used to tie up anything and everything, my mess-kit. and several of the old style, wax coated milk containers, to use as fire-starters. Sitting on my library shelf, out of harms way is my Boy Scout Handbook, 1948 edition. I think the only thing it did not cover was instructions on how to drive a car! Yes, that old ‘indian rising out of the campfire smoke’ covered book had everything I needed to know about survival in the world of the 1950’s.

    Cash value for EVERYTHING, probably under $75, but the memories are priceless
    and… most important, Thank You, Mr Ruza, for being sure that we all knew and understood the way of the Boy Scout

    Steve E. Pack, Troop and Post 54, Queens, NY

  4. The things I prize most are generally paper goods–old Program Quarterlies, Boys’ Life reprints, a few photos–they give a lot of insight into the evolution of the program.
    Naming a “most valuable” would be difficult; I get everything off eBay, and prices fluctuate wildly. One day a set of old sock garters goes for $15, the very next day another set goes for 99 cents. One day the old 3-segment leather belts go for $50, the next $15. You’d think old uniforms are worth something, but I’ve never paid more than a few bucks for 50s or 70s era uniforms.
    The most I’ve paid for any single item in my collection was a 70s era olive drab cap, $20. I didn’t even know they existed until I saw it, there were no completed listings like it for a comparison. It’s hideous, it looks like the Maoist rebel cap, I call it my Mao Scouts hat. I got it for a couple bucks, but I also have one of the Gerber three-piece utensil sets with leather holster which sometimes get up to $40–but, again, I’m not so bitten by the bug, I shop smart.
    Patches do nothing for me, and when I see the money people shell out for OA patches on eBay I kind of laugh at the idea considering the volume they churn out. Gear, uniforms, and papers tell a story, that’s why I enjoy collecting them. Whenever I get something new, I bring it to the weekly meeting to show the boys, and they’re always intrigued to varying degrees. It’s also nice to have plenty of Bill Harcourt 350-page Patrol Leader Handbooks to fill out the current 70-pager.

    I’m aiming to completely outfit a mannequin in a 70s era uniform. I’ve got all the clothes, just pulling together gear and saving up for the body. I recently got hold of the Boys’ Life “Litepac” reprint and I’m going to use the patterns to give him an authentic pack to hold the various gear items I’ve collected for him.

    I saw 5 uniforms with Emergency Service Corps armbands and breast patches go for almost $400 a few months ago, that’s the highest realized price I’ve seen. A couple weeks ago a pair of size 3.5 BSA-licensed Keds sneakers went for $90 while a size 9 pair with a little sun-fading went for $10 just an hour later. You never can tell.

  5. Aside from my Eagle Scout medal, it is my first camporee and overnight campout patch that started me in this awesome program. A close second is a 1953 National Jamboree Max Silber bronze belt buckle that he presented to me as a friendship gift.

  6. I picked up an old brass “L” shaped BSA flashlight for about five dollars. After cleaning the lense, wiping it down and replacing the batteries it works great. I bring it to all the campouts and the scouts thinks it is cool. Value?, priceless to me…………

  7. I have 3 generations of our Cub Scout Class A uniforms (my dad’s, mine and my son’s) spanning about 60 some years. It’s interesting to see the style changes over time. They get mounted and framed this year!

  8. My dad has BP’s autograph that my Great Uncle obtained from BP at the first world jamboree at Olympia, London. My great uncle was a scout in the 1st Bedford ‘onesters’.

  9. Of course, my 56 year old Eagle Scout badge is my most precious. Back the they were sterling silver so it automatically has value, but honestly it is priceless to me.
    My second is a cover from a Boy’s Life the celebrates the 50th anniversary of Boy Scouting. It still has my address on it.
    I have a ‘Speaker Heatab’ stove and various Camporee patches from my district in TN.
    Jim Parker,
    1957 Eagle.

  10. My most prized pieces are the Eagle Scout Mentor pins that I have been given by Eagles. In memories alone they are priceless

  11. My 12 year old son bought old uniforms on E-Bay. He occasionally wears the 1961 shirt and garrison cap to his troop meetings. He has quite a collection of old stuff. It’s priceless to him.

  12. Probably the one piece of scouting memorabilia (other than my Eagle) that I prize above all others is a one-of-a-kind birchbark birthday card for my 15th birthday signed and given to me by my crewmates while we were on a canoeing expedition in Canada attending the Charles L. Sommers High Adventure base. They put it in one of those plasic patch keepers and it is still in the same shape today as it was in 1976! The value? Heh… priceless!!

  13. Hard to say, but personal items would be my blanket with most of my 40+ years, starting in 1955 with a few gaps. 1959 Eagle medal and 1961 God and Country; 1955 Boy Scout Circus from Rose Bowl (recently had it break to my dismay), early photos and scrapbooks. Not directly personal, probably most valuable is the “original” 1910 handbook by Seton/B.P., followed by 1st/1st handbook 1911. Really enjoy some of the old magazine covers of scouting from the teens an on. Have a wonderful propaganda piece, “Scouting, America’s Answer” from circa 1940. Really hard to tell values of some things, as they are one of a kind, or very scarce, but not normally collected paper ephemera. Every year I put on two or more displays of my collection, primarily paper, though also local patches and so on. After all these years, have lots of things. Am fortunate to have had a friend give me her father’s 1921 Eagle in the box, as well as stuff starting when he joined in 1917. It has been a major draw since I began displaying it. It will go to the local community museum at some point, as he was the founder of their first scout units.

  14. I’d have to say it’s the copy of “Two Lives of a Hero”, Green Bar Bill’s biography of B-P. I picked it up at an old-book sale, and discovered it was the copy inscribed by Bill to John Schiff, National President of BSA at the time – there was a presentation letter on National BSA letterhead from Bill to Schiff and an autograph by Lady B-P tucked into the book. Not a bad $10 find, I think.

  15. An original Chief Dinizulu bead from his necklace given out at a Gilwell WoodBadge course in the 1930s and a Baden-Powell signed copy of Ernest Thompson Seton’s “Two Little Savages” given out by BP to Brownsea attendee Cedric Curteis at the landmark camp in August 1907.

  16. Everything in my office in Excelsior, Minnesota is special to me, which is why I have it on display. Most of it will go to the Minnesota Musuem of Boy and Girl Scouting after my spirit’s left this earth.

    I am waiting on a duplicate Heroism Medal to go into a box I want to display at the church where I spent much of my time as a youth — already in the box is my Hornaday Gold medal, God and Country medal, and a couple of other things I earned in 1974. That was a great big year for me….saved a life, protected the enviorment, embraced God and his mercy, and was the honor camper at summer camp, among other things. I was also the youngest Vice Mayor of Rose Terrace military community, and there were other things which happened positively to me. Since we lost our commuity center when they demolished the old “Prichard Place housing area” and replaced it with newer single-story homes, the only thing left from the “old place” is the chapel. So when national sends me the duplicate medal, I’ll place them all into the box, and negotate with the Chaplain there as to a suitable place to display all of it.

    There’s so much stuff from a 40+ year Scouting career which I could literally plaster walls with…and still won’t have space for other things. What’s most valuable to me, however, are the many memories which were made for me and which I’ve made for so many Scouts and Scouters over the decades — that, not the patches, medals, certificates, neckerchiefs and slides, and other things…that is what is most valuable to me.

  17. Like most other scouters, I value my Eagle Medal, my OA Flap from Menetomi Lodge 496 and many of the personally signed items from Bill Hillcourt, as well as: my collection of Baden-Powell memorabilia and all the belt buckles that were given to me by Max Silber. But, the best is the memory of all the wonderful people I have met in almost 50 years of scouting.

  18. Dollarwise I have an Order of the Arrow Flap (Shawnee Lodge #51, F3) know as a “Black Shawnee” that is worth more than $200.00… But my Eagle Medal from 1973 is the item that is closest to my heart….


  19. My copy of “Two Lives of a Hero” by Bill Hillcourt with the distinctive “Green Bar Bill” with two green stripes signature.

  20. My 1973 Eagle medal w/gold and silver palms,an old friends OA sash autographed by E Urner Goodman and T.Seton in 1964 Mt Fuji Jambo and my Patrol Leaders Handbook signed by “Green Bar” Bill from when I volunteeered at the BSA National Museum in New Brunswick NJ

    I used to be a Beaver…………

  21. My Robbins Silver Eagle Scout pin, Eagle Scout neckerchief with the large leather eagle and all of my pathces of boyhood adventures in Scouts in the 70’s (i.e. camporee, summer camp, OA flaps, and CSP’s). All priceless to me. If I had to guess, all total would be between $200 – $300. THe medal alone, I think, would be around $200.

  22. OK, Just finished watching the January 7 premiere show, no scouting items at all.
    Now I understand this is the “first hour” and a “second hour is scheduled later in the week (Jan 13?). Hopefully the scouting memorabilia will be on that show.
    Do you have any information on that?
    While I do enjoy watching “Antiques Roadshow”, this was a bit of a letdown, especially when you tell your scouts to watch (I know one troop was having a collecting party to include watching the show).
    When such information is posted, please make sure it is correct.

    • Ron,

      I just watched the episode. The Scout clip is shown after host Mark L. Walberg says goodnight. Sorry you missed it!

      The clip is linked in my post above. Thanks!


  23. Bryan!

    It depends on where in the USA the local PBS station aired the program. Some did not air the episode this evening; some aired an episode in which the Scouting items were toward the end of the program.

    My sweetie and I watched “Antique Roadshow” from two locations each week — she in the Twin Cities and me here in Nashville. We play the game “Guess What It Goes For?” before they announce what the apprasal value was of each item.

    There were TWO VERSIONS of the show being shown this evening. A lot of confusion.

    On the Nashville PBS station, the segment with the Scouting posters (I thought it would be a lot of “real Scouting memorbilia” like patches, books, uniforms) came on at :16 into the show. Liz didn’t see the Scouting posters until closer to the end of the hour (:53).

    The let-down came with the description and quick apprasal. I’m not going to ruin it for others who have not seen the episode but I was disappointed.

    • Thanks for clarifying how PBS affiliates handled this, Mike.

      I agree with your assessment that I wanted and expected to see more BSA memorabilia.


  24. Brian,
    That was it? Myself and many others thought there would be a lot more.
    While, the old scout posters were nice, having a special blog announcement for it is a bit too much. I have already received calls from disappointed scouts and scouters who were led to believe (by your blog) that this show was going to have a special scout portion (much more than was done).
    While I think many of us let our excitement color our expectations, a bit more of “truth in advertising” from this blog would have helped too.
    Any chance of getting a “real” show with more scouting memorabilia featured?

    • Ron,

      I agree with your assessment, and I hear you. I was told very little going in and wish I had known exactly what to expect so I could have painted a clearer picture for my readers.


    • It’s pretty distasteful of you to accuse Bryan of dishonesty, and presumptuous to act as if he has editorial control to arm-wrestle PBS into more coverage. I was also disappointed, but it was interesting nonetheless.

  25. Yep, I blinked, and it was over. Certainly nothing particularly unusual, They could have actually talked about the subject matter on the items. This was the second time a scouting item has been on the show, the first being a book early in the series of shows, and neither time did it seem as if the appraiser was really very knowledgeable about the items as compared to how they seem with many other things. Was glad they pointed out the repro which was, or maybe still is, sold in the National Museum shop.

  26. I would love to see a “Scouting Memobilia Roadshow” program in which the host would travel to various Tradeorees or Scout Shows and interview people who trade and collect various items. With the variations in Order of the Arrow flaps and CSPs; interesting things like special neckerchiefs and slides; the whole Max Silber belt buckles, and the displays of Scouting items at the national musuem and other museums around the nation, I think that there’s a really good market for watching and reacting to those items — especially if the show illustrates that “those patches and pins in a box in the closet somewhere REALLY have some value to them!” I would watch it!!

    • That would be awesome Mike. The guy who did the appraisal on the posters was not a true scouting expert. He downplayed collecting scout memorabilia, saying it’s not that popular.
      We would need to have true experts who could not only do a correct appraisal, but be able to discuss what it is/was (the background of it).
      This would be a great boost to the trading community, showing those who had no knowledge of the history (and the value) behind the memorabilia. It would increase the number of collectors.
      I too would watch it!.

      • I was talking with my sweetie earlier today (we share lunch via phone) and I told her that they should have a “Scouting Antiques” show. She said “the only people who would watch it are guys like you…and maybe me, because I know how nuts you are about the things you collect…” I told her that the show as I saw it would be half “historical” and half “this is what it’s worth and how many are out there…” kind of thing.

        For instance, I told her about the World Jamboree I was supposed to attend in 1979 which got “shifted” from Iraq to Sweeden (The Jamboree was cancelled; the World Association created five regional “celebrations of Scouting”) because of the issues around the Shah of Iran (who was a friend of the USA and he was going to host the World Jamboree). There was a LOT of items made for that Jamboree which got distributed or given out when the Jamboree before and after it was originally cancelled… and which are very prized items now…Most Scouts and Scouters don’t know about that and the insignia, books, posters and banners — coupled with historical footage and interviews — would be a great way to bind history to Scouting collections!

        • It was Iran where it was to be held. Not Iraq. The Shah was overthrown and that ended the Jamboree with the revolution going on.

  27. It would be really cool if less know collections of we “in the background” scouters could be featured. I know that even people simply nearby in the hotels where we often have major events have shown an interest in my displays every year. Even most Scouters are pretty unaware of memorabilia beyond patches and common gear. My table of equipment, games, and hobby items, all official at one time, are big interest gatherers. Not sure about books and periodicals, as most are in plastic and discourage investigation, though have shared a few with people if they ask. The older paper is often very fragile, so it must be protected from indiscriminate handling.

    I have been trying to find a home for my material after I am gone, but so far have not had much luck. Since the majority is paper, it would be a good library addition; not something that National needs though, as they have most of it likely in storage or display, and much more. It does seem a shame that we do not have some kind of actual Scouting museum and library in Southern California, especially with all the history and collectors in the area. If anyone has the connections, it would be great to find a sponsor for such a thing in our neck of the woods.

    • I agree with you Wes…it’s not just the “massively large collections” I would love to see but I would love to see the smaller, and more varied collections. For instance, I have a small set of old unit and district certificates but I don’t know of anyone else who collects such things — or where would they go when I go. Most people collect patches, pins or books of some nature…

  28. At our National Jamboree in MORE RAIN Penn. One of the youngest Scouts I saw at the Jamboree, jumped off a bus, ran up to me, and said “Mr. Mr. Would you trade a patch with me. I said “What do have”. He handed me a 1933 World Jamboree patch in mint condition wrapped in plastic. I said ” Where did you get this” He said “From my Grandpa” I said “What do you want for it.” He said ” I just want to trade a patch” I said “Do you know what this is” He said yeah, a patch, I want to trade it.” About 50 yards away, there were a number of Scouts on their blankets, trading. They all add books full of them, and a number of patches laid out on their blankets. I told the little Scout, come with me. We walked up to the first Scout Trader, and I said to him ” Give me 20 patches you can live with out. He said “Why ” I said “Just do it, you’ll see”. I showed him the Jamboree Patch. His eyes became real wide. I said “Deal” He handed me 20 patches. We shook hands. I gave them to boy. “Thanks Mr”. and off he went.

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