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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5592
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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I have a 1933 autographed letter and handkerchief of president

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I have a 1933 autographed letter and handkerchief of president Franklin Deleno Roosevelt, wondering if it has value, and how do I keep it in good shape so it doesnt get ruined.

Hi! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I would be happy to help with your FDR autograph and handkerchief.


They sound most interesting, do you know the story behind them? Are they a family heirloom or did you acquire them? And what is the letter about?

The more that's known about the background to an autograph such as this, the more valuable it becomes to a collector.


I'll wait till I hear back from you and then give you a full answer and a value and suggest the best options for care and safekeeping.


Many thanks,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My Grandmother gave birth to my dad the same time FDR took office and wrote to him that she named him after FDR. So FDR sent a letter quoting "May I extend my hearty congratulations upon the birth ofyou son, Franklin Delano Skaggs? I am sending here with a small memento for my namesake with the hope that he will have a happy, active and useful life. Very Sincerely yours, (signed FDR). Sent with a handkerchief folded and it says Happy Frankllin D Roosevelt days embroidered on it.

What a great story! And I can't think of a better start in the world than that wonderful exhortation from such a great man, and a true statesman. I'm sure your father could not help but live a "happy, active and useful life" after that!


I highly recommend you write the story down, if you haven't already done so, and keep a copy with the letter and handkerchief so that whomever you pass it on to knows it and will appreciate it as much as you do. It will also help its value.


As for value, looking at recent comparables in the sales records, an embroidered FDR handkerchief of this sort is, as far as I know, unique or extremely rare and on its own would sell at auction for more than the autograph, that is, in the range of $500 - $800 and so has a 'replacement' or insurance value of at least $1600.


The signed letter is worth in the range of $400 - $600 at auction. 'Replacement' value $1200, for insurance purposes.


So putting the two together, and including added value for this unique story, they would have a 'replacement' or insurance value of at least $3000.


As far as safe storage goes, the items need to be in archival storage bags such as this:

Archival Print Storage Bag

in a separate bag for each item. This is a special kind of archival grade plastic that is acid free and chemical free to protect the paper and keep it moisture proof. Remove the letter from the envelope and store each one separately between two backing cards, also of archival grade. Don't stick them to the backing card, though, as the adhesives may harm the paper.

Your local Hobby Lobby or art supply store usually carry these archival items.

If not, they are readily available on line from a number of sources:

Keep them away from direct sunlight as the UV rays can make the paper and cotton fabric brittle.

That's all you need to do other than consider keeping them in a metal or fire-proof safe.


I do hope this helps!

Please let me know if you would like further assistance with this, I would be glad to.

Best wishes,


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