Celebrity Yearbook Values  
by Brandon Ross  

Although the most expensive books tend to be the oldest examples, popularity, school size (number of books made), and other factors can enter into this. For instance, notice that the Shaq O'Neal book is listed at $1,500. Today, he is considered the most dominating player driving a possible dynasty in the NBA. Added to this, he was in a class of only 78. Only a hundred or so books exist. Personally, I would rather have the Amelia Earhart yearbook.

The market is very young on yearbooks. By 1995, only two yearbook archivists were listing in trade magazines, Seth Poppel in New York, and myself. Even today, there are very few staunch collectors.

Unlike baseball cards, there is a lot of spread in prices. A Britney Spears yearbook may go for as much as $1,000. It may also go for $200. Prices though have risen very fast as of the last five years.

This list is meant to be a sampling to give the reader an idea of value. The prices are taken from records of sales through national auctions, including eBay auctions, and private sales. A book would get a higher price, for instance, if sold at Sotheby's, than say on eBay. The values below are average prices for each particular book.

This sampling of senior yearbook prices are for books in excellent condition (maybe some wear if older, but all intact):

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1900 Groton, Mass., very rare ... $4,000.
Amelia Earhart, 1914 Hyde Park High, Ill....$1,800.
Ernest Hemmingway, 1917 Oak Park High, Illinois...$4,000.
John Wayne, 1925 Glendale High, Calif. Original name, Marion Mitchell Morrison. Not only was he president of his class, but he was the Chairman of the Senior Dance ..$2,500.
Ronald Reagan, 1928 Dixon High, Ill....$2,500.
John F. Kennedy, 1935 Choat, Connecticut.$3,500.
John Glenn, 1939 New Concord High, Ohio...$800.
Marilyn Monroe, 1942 West Los Angeles High, Calif., as a sophomore, did not graduate...$2,000.
Paul Newman, 1943 Shaker High, Ohio...$700.
Mickey Mantle, 1949 Commerce High, Okla. He was not only a great athlete in football, basketball, and baseball, but was also in the school play (a thespian!). Graduated with 49 students....$2,500.
James Dean, 1949 Fairmont High, Ind....$2,000.
Elvis Presley, Humes High, Memphis, Tenn. His major was "shop." In the "Senior Predictions" section, the yearbook predicts Elvis will be playing in a "hillbilly band."...$1,500, inscribed...$3,500.
Wilt Chamberlian, 1955 Overbrook High, Phil, Penn...$1500.
Janis Joplin, 1960 Jefferson High, Port Arthur, Tex....$800.
Harrison Ford, 1960 Main East High, Parkridge, Ill.... $600.
Bill Clinton, 1964 Hot Springs High, Ark....$800.
Meryl Streep, 1967 Bernards High, New Jersey.....$400.
Robin Williams, 1969 Redwood High, Larkspur, Calif..$400.
Oprah Winfrey, 1971 East Nashville High. Was in the National Forensic League, the Honor Society, was voted "Most Popular" and Vice President of her class..$400.
Madonna, 1976 Adams High, Rochester, Mich....$600.
Michael Jordan, 1981 Laney High, Wilmington, North Carolina....$1,800.
Brad Pitt, 1982 Kickapoo High, Springfield, Missouri.....$300.
Shaquille O'Neal, 1989 Cole High, San Antonio, Tex....$1,500.

Most celebrity yearbooks of the modern era 1960s-1990s go for $100 to $200. This especially includes the myriad of television personalities, the flash-in-the-pan actors and pop singers. The list I gave you was top heavy on the big name people. Other examples are:
Bon Jovi just sold for $150 in auction.
Bob Crane (Hogan's Hero's) brought $125.
David Letterman goes now for about $200.
Jaclyn Smith (Charlie's Angels)...$90.
Barry Bonds, who just broke the homerun record ...$250.
Ron Howard ...$200
Roseanne Barr (Roseanne)...$150.
Tom Selleck...$100.

Another point worth recording. The prices I have given are for retail. There could be a buy price included on these books that would be from one-half to two-thirds of retail.
Finally, most of the time, the senior yearbook is considered most valuable. Some celebrities (Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, etc) did not finish high school. For some (Johnny Unitas, Muhammad Ali, etc.) there was not a senior yearbook produced. On occasion, the underclass yearbook may be of more value, as in the case of Ted Williams who though only profiled in his senior picture in his senior annual, is pictured on the baseball team and glorified in a paragraph within the junior yearbook.

Junior high (grades 6-9) yearbooks can be more valuable than the senior high yearbooks (9-12), since they are generally many times more difficult to find.

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Brandon Ross is the owner of Spanky's Yearbook Archive in Iowa City, Iowa. He can be reached at (319) 341-9474; e-mail:
spankysarchive@mchsi.com, or via his website at
www.interbridge.com/spankys
.  

2002

 

 

 

 


Answers:
1. Bill Clinton
2. Elvis
3. John F. Kennedy
4. John Wayne
5. Mickey Mantle
6. Oprah Winfrey
7. Peter Falk
8. Ronald Reagan
9. Tiger Woods
   

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