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How much would you pay for a credit card once wielded by Farrah Fawcett, the platinum-maned bombshell best known as perky private eye Jill Munroe on TV’s original “Charlie’s Angels”?
Fawcett’s American Express Platinum card is among a dozen or so personal items of the late actress-model-poster girl put up for auction Friday at Heritage Auctions in Dallas by her nephew, Greg Walls. The platinum girl’s platinum card, signed in blue ink on the reverse, lists Fawcett as a member since 1978 with an expiration date of November 2010, 15 months after her death from cancer at age 62.
“That was probably her card at the time she died,” Chuck Jennings told me upon hearing the news. The Carmel, Ind., lawyer and board member of the American Credit Card Collectors Association then passed the breaking news along in an email blast to the association’s members.
Jennings says celebrity credit cards in general can be problematic. “The trouble with cards like that is, they’re not that hard to fake; it has been done before. So people are usually reluctant to buy them,” he says. “The value of a card with just her name on it would probably be $10 to $30.”
While the authenticity of Fawcett’s card has been verified, her AmEx also may have a physical flaw working against it. “A close-up examination of the image suggests that it may have been bent in half, which detracts substantially from the collector’s value,” he notes.
Then there’s the celebrity card market, or lack thereof. “Are there celebrity card collectors? Yes, but they’re not generally a part of our association,” says Jennings. “Over the years, I’ve not seen a single member who has said they collect celebrity credit cards.”
Do we have a problem, angels? Not really, Charlie. It seems foreign collectors have a sweet tooth for both U.S. celebrities and our flagship card brands.
“The biggest bidders would come from outside the United States. There are 10-15 collectors, maybe more, in China, Japan and the Scandinavian countries that bid a lot for stuff like this,” says Jennings. “And because it’s American Express, that would broaden the appeal. AmEx, for some reason, has a fascination and an interest that is even broader than credit cards in general. Some collectors specialize only in AmEx cards, or AmEx, Diners Club and Carte Blanche. Those are the three that typically evoke a lot more interest just because of the brand.”
What’s his prediction when Fawcett’s plastic goes on the auction block?
“If somebody really had a fascination with her, or they collect celebrity memorabilia, or if word really got out worldwide to AmEx collectors, they could have a nice payday,” he says. “If you offered it to me with provenance, I would say, ‘Look, I don’t collect these, but I’ll give you a hundred bucks.'”
See related story: Interest in collectible credit cards won’t expire