|Title:||Al. G. Field Letter|
|Description:||Autograph. Letter. Signed. 1p., Letter on Field's Operatic Minstrels stationery. A letter from Al. G. Field to J.P. Smith & Son setting up a date for a performance of their Minstrel group as they route through Pennslyvania. This appears to be signed by Mr. Field and possibly two others. Stationery has a picture of Field, and several promotional advertisements down the left margin. Chipped along the margin.|
|Origin:||Given to me almost 30 years ago by an elderly family friend who at the time was in his 90's.|
|Provenance:||No known details, can't find anything like it online.|
|Appraised By:||Thomas Joyce|
|Appraiser Comments:||Your letters is an example of what appears to be a genuinely rare thing. Rarity is a statement about "supply", but not really about "demand". I refer, of course,to that old, standard statement about "the law of supply and demand.Market value is based upon stresses on both supply and demand. A thing may be rare or unique, but if no one wants it, there is little or no demand for it, then it will have no or only slight market value. Conversely, something may not be "rare" but can still have a high demand and thus a rather high marke value. For example, Stephen King's early book, THE DARK TOWER, was printed in 10,000 copies (which is a lot of copies), but the fact that perhaps a million people wanted to read it, and there was no alternative way to acquire it (e.g. no paperback version for many years), then the price soared to about six hundred dollars. Demand for the book caused the price of the book to rise enough to induce owners of that book to part with it, which raised it about 6000 per cent ! NOW, my basic research into Field's Operatic Minstrels indicates that they were quite fine as a performance group, but that, for reasons unknown, the group -which was begun in 1886 - did not survive very long under that name. That would be good news and bad news. It is good news because it suggests rarity, but bad news because it limites the amount of interest ( that is, demand) for such an item. OKAY. There has been interest in these kinds of performers historically, so this document would find a buyer. I think the right retail price for it is closer to two hundred dollars than it is to five hundred dollars (especially in this economy), but I would not be unhappy to be proved wrong. Mr. Field lived until 1921, and continued to perform -often in blackface - well into the 20th century. His home base became Columbus, Ohio, so, inasmuch as you are already in Ohio, that is a good place to look ofr interest in his document.|
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