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The Exploding Value Of Fireworks

Those old fireworks you thought were duds may be worth something. The Saturday Early Show's Collectibles Expert Tony Hyman says even the package they came in could be valuable.

July 3, 1776, said John Adams, will be the most memorable day in history and ought to be observed with parades, bonfires and fireworks. He may have been off by one day, but Americans have been setting off bombs and rockets ever since.

Hundreds of 19th century companies supplied explosives that by today's standards would be considered ludicrously unsafe. The 21-inch Cannon Cracker, carried a warning not to set it off near any buildings.

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 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.

After hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries every year attributed to fireworks accidents, in 1912, the government stepped in and said no more explosives bigger than 5 inches. In 1967, the government went even further, outlawing explosives larger than 1.5 inches.

Everything connected with fireworks before the 1967 law is collectible. The rule of thumb is: The older and prettier the better, but even catalogs bring up to $300. Interesting boxes can be worth $10 to $500, and firecracker labels can go for up to $1,000.

Just about any old paper item from a firework company has value and, where they're legal, even the fireworks themselves. A monster firecracker like the Cracker Canon can bring up to $1,000.

If you have any questions about fireworks, write to and put "fireworks" in the subject line.

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