Frankly, prices will rise

May 17, 1998|By Tamara Ikenberg

Old Blue Eyes may be gone, but Rick Apt, a 48-year-old Sinatra collector, still has his rare Frank collectibles to keep him company.

On a wall of his Pomona, N.J., home hangs a prized 1944 cardboard fan in the shape of a tobacco leaf from "Your Lucky Strike Hit Parade." On the back it says: "A fan for my fans." Sinatra's signature is underneath.

"It's not about a tobacco leaf or a bottle of wine with his face on it," Apt maintains. "The music is what counts. That's the bottom line."

Nevertheless, Apt and other collectors around the country have been deluged with callers in pursuit of Sinatra ephemera since the singer's death Thursday. Apt has gotten several requests for suitcases issued by Reprise in 1995 that contained every recording Sinatra made with that label.

"This is the kind of item I'm sure will go through the roof in a very short period of time," he says.

Another highly requested item is Sinatra's first recording: "From the Bottom of my Heart," a rare 78-rpm recording from 1939 that Sinatra recorded with the Harry James Orchestra. It was released on the now-defunct Brunswick label.

Mary Doctor, 53, wife of the late Gary Doctor, who founded the International Frank Sinatra Society in 1974, says she's also gotten numerous calls for the recording.

She predicts that items such as old Sinatra movie posters, autographed pictures and the handkerchiefs he handed out at concerts will be much sought after.

Doctor has an extensive collection herself. But if she could get her hands on one more piece of Frank's legacy, it would be a

bronze bust of him that now sits on Angie Dickinson's mantelpiece. She saw in the Star tabloid last week.

The bust was done in the late 1940s, and the Doctors saw it in a museum in the 1970s. They asked about the price, but decided to pass.

Doctor says it cost more than her car. It might be worth more than her house now.

Pub Date: 5/17/98

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