An avid Motown memorabilia collector from Detroit made the find of a lifetime after buying some records at a garage sale. Appearing on the February 3 episode of PBS’ Antiques Roadshow, the guest — who previously worked at the legendary label’s museum — brought along Marvin Gaye’s passport from 1964, the year the soul legend released “How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You).”
The man and his colleagues from the museum went to collect memorabilia donated by the family of a late Motown musician. He later returned to the musician’s estate sale to buy a collection of LPs and singles, priced at 50 cents and a quarter, respectively. “When I got home, I was going through them and out of an album fell this passport,” the man said on the show. “And so it literally fell into my hands.”
“The thing I’m in love with is how young he is here,” appraiser Laura Woolley said. “This is dated 1964, which is great, and it is after he added the ‘E’ to the end of his name, because when he was signed as a solo artist with Motown, he decided to add that ‘E,’ and there’s a lot of different theories: People say it’s because he wanted to separate himself from his father or because he actually liked Sam Cooke so much, who had an ‘E’ at the end of his name, that he wanted to imitate his idol.”
After Wooley told the man to put nothing less than $20,000 worth of insurance on the passport, he reacted accordingly: “Are you kidding me?” he asked. Said Woolley, “I’m not kidding you. Nothing comes up for Marvin Gaye. It’s not a really common thing to see Marvin Gaye memorabilia.”
Rather than say “ka-CHING,” the stunned guest respectfully said, “Wow. I never would have thought. I mean, I’m just shocked. I mean… wow. Oh gosh, thank you.”
Here’s hoping he gets insurance on it fast, before Robin Thicke and Pharrell steal it.