I Love (Collecting) Lucy

In 1951, “I Love Lucy” starring Lucille Ball came on television like a red bombshell, and she’s never been off screen since. Five other shows and four generations of fans have turned Lucy into one of history’s best-known TV icons. Everything about her is collected.

She has been on hundreds of magazine covers - on TV Guide more than 30 times. The thousand-dollar cover features Little Ricky, the child of television’s first pregnancy, at a time when censors wouldn’t even let you say the word on air.

Little Ricky dolls that followed the birth sell for hundreds of dollars today. But the top doll is Lucy herself in a 1953 rag doll worth a grand or more. Lucy paper doll and coloring books start at $50.

Find out about other collectibles described by The Saturday Early Show's Tony Hyman in the Collectibles Archive or visit Tony Hyman's Web site.

If you think you have a collectible worth a lot of cash, send an email to sat@cbsnews.com with "What's It Worth?" in the subject line. Or write to "What's It Worth?" The Saturday Early Show, 514 West 57th St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10019.

By 1954, Lucy was in comic books, the first copy of which brings $300. Others start around $25. The most valuable comic features Lucy and Bob Hope in “Fancy Pants” (about $500).

Posters and lobby cards from movies with Hope or her three with Desi Arnaz are
collectible but mostly inexpensive. Look for Lucy phonograph records, sheet music, trading cards, tablets, calendars, notebooks, watches, dolls, mugs, scripts, tickets, and props. There’s even a cigar-band set featuring Lucy.

Lucy was incredibly popular with advertisers. She sold soap, toothpaste, cosmetics, soft drinks, carpet, cars, beer, wine, and lots more. Her Sunday comic cigarette ads are worth $100 each today.

Rule of thumb? If it’s got Lucille Ball (or any of the Ricardos) on it, someone wants it.

Information and props provided by Ric B. Wyman, author of "For the Love of Lucy: The Complete Guide for Collectors and Fans" (Abbeville, 1995, $39.95).

If you have Lucy items from the 1950s or '60s, you may reach the author through his Web site, www.fortheloveoflucy.com.

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