GUEST: I brought a book that was called The History of Magic. It was a Christmas gift to me. A roommate of mine in college, we exchanged Christmas gifts. I think I gave him a print or a drawing. I was an art student, and he gave me this.
APPRAISER: Well, apparently you’ve read the book. You’ve kind of hounded it a little bit. All the edges are worn away.
GUEST: Yeah, I’ve…it’s not the kind of book you sit down and read cover to cover, but I’ve looked at it over the years.
APPRAISER: It’s also got wonderful illustrations in it.
GUEST: Yeah, it does.
APPRAISER: If you go in, there are actually pieces like this, which are old illuminated manuscript art. Old engraving. Engraving, wood cuts, et cetera, yeah.
GUEST: The subject matter is, you know, mysterious and interesting.
APPRAISER: I guess you say it’s a compilation, which is true, and it was under the name of Kurt Seligmann, who put it out. But what interested me, you know, this book, I’m going to cut right to a value here for you. This book in this condition is worth about $100.
GUEST: Oh, really.
APPRAISER: However, when you had it at the table and you were talking to me, in here, I opened the flyleaf and I noticed who your college roommate was: Jim Morrison of The Doors.
GUEST: That’s right.
APPRAISER: So all right, let’s pounce on that. I have all kinds of questions for you, because I’m a Jim Morrison fan.
GUEST: Oh, really? I met Jim Morrison, I was in a rooming house renting a room–this was in Tallahassee, Florida–and this other guy lived there and we got to be friends. We’d walk to school and so forth. And he was…it was Jim Morrison.
APPRAISER: I see that he’s inscribed it as a Christmas gift, “1963 from Jim Morrison.” And he had been a Florida native, and Jim had bounced out to New Mexico and he ended up back at Florida State, where you were, and he decided to take a few classes. He kind of went in in typical Jim Morrison spirit, and I guess that he had a few run-ins. He was originally in a video that was promoting the college.
GUEST: I remember that.
GUEST: Yeah, and that’s just a little part of a film that’s promoting Florida State. It’s really very… it’s very dull.
APPRAISER: Right. So what kind of a student was he? I’d hate to hear that he was, like, a shy and meek guy.
GUEST: For his age, I’d say he was probably the most…intellectually deep person and well-read I ever met.
APPRAISER: And he was 19 when you met him? 19, 20?
GUEST: Probably, something like that.
APPRAISER: He gave you the book on the occult. It’s always been assumed that he had an interest in the occult.
GUEST: Yeah, he did.
APPRAISER: In the band, he often took on the name of the Lizard King.
GUEST: All the band stuff came after I knew him.
GUEST: And he was, I would say, interested in the idea that maybe people that are criminals are really saints and the saints are criminals.
APPRAISER: He was so attractive to the public. There was a following after his death. He died young, you know, he has all the components of value. You know, beauty, early death, intelligent, wild. That’s Jim Morrison to a tee. So this, what a wonderful early, early view into his life and, you know, his relationship with you as a young college kid. The value on this at auction with the occult level, if it weren’t that book, I’d put $4,000 to $6,000 on it. But because it’s that book, because it’s early in his life, which generally doesn’t help, I would say that the value on it is $8,000 to $10,000 at auction.
GUEST: No kidding.
GUEST: Wow. I’m surprised at that.
APPRAISER: When we’re done here, you want to have a beer?
GUEST: Yeah, we could. My daughter’s here, she’d go along with it.
APPRAISER: We’ll take you over and I’d love to hear your stories. That’d be so awesome, yeah.
APPRAISER: All right.