Valuable Collectibles from Your Favorite 70s TV Shows
The 1970s were a golden era for television, giving rise to some of the most iconic and beloved TV shows of all time. These shows not only entertained audiences but also left a lasting legacy in the form of valuable collectibles.
From period classics like "Happy Days" to the fantasy world of "Wonder Woman," the 70s TV landscape produced a treasure trove of memorabilia that continues to captivate collectors and fans alike.
The Six Million Dollar Man: Oscar Goldman's Exploding Briefcase
Oscar Goldman was a character in the TV shows "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman." He worked for a government agency called OSI and was in charge of bionic-enhanced agents Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers. He gave them missions and played a fatherly role in their adventures.
Of course, every government agent's action needs a top secret exploding briefcase that could be opened safely by allies but become a deadly weapon to everyone else. This full scale prototype would play a part in the development of the miniature version and sold at auction in 2013.
Laverne & Shirley: Laverne's Shotz Beer Baseball Jersey
Laverne DeFazio's (Penny Marshall) clothes always had a large, distinctive "L" on the left breast, and her short-sleeve, beige baseball jersey was no exception. The "L" monogram was solely Marshall's idea. When the show began certain facts about the characters were repeated to allow the audience to get to know them.
Instead of being addressed as “Laverne" every time, Marshall though the “L” monogram would let the audience know who she was and cut down on the repetition. (And, yes, both Laverne and Shirley played softball to hilarious results.)
It's also worth pointing out that Laverne's jersey bears a striking resemblance to the Rockford Peaches jerseys in the 1992 film "A League of Their Own," which Marshall directed.
Sanford and Son: Fred Sanford's Clothes
Sanford and Son ran from 1972 to 1977 and centered around the lives of Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx) and his son Lamont Sanford (Demond Wilson). They lived in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, where they operated their business, Sanford and Son Salvage.
Fred Sanford, the owner of the junkyard, is a cantankerous widower who says what he thinks to often hilarious (and disastrous results), while his son, Lamont, finds himself caught between his father's schemes and the desire for a more stable life. The elder Sanford wore this particular outfit in several episodes — it sold at auction in 2017.
Little House on the Prairie: Laura Ingalls' Dress
Worn by Melissa Gilbert, who played author Laura Ingalls Wilder as a child and young adult, this dress was seen on several episodes of "Little House on the Prairie. The Ingalls family was not rich and young Laura wore this dress until she basically grew out of it.
This dress sold at auction in 2018 and is influential — you'll see knock-offs of it in department stores today.
Fantasy Island: Tattoo's Golf Cart
"Fantasy Island" was big enough that Mr. Rourke and Tattoo had a few modes of transportation. One such vehicle was Tattoo's Signature Island Golf Cart.
It was used by Herve Villechaize (who played Tattoo) on and off the set and went home with him when was he fired over a salary dispute. It sold at auction in June 2023.
Happy Days: The Fonz's Leather Jacket
Bottom line: The Smithosonian has one of Fonzie's signature leather jackets. It remains one of museum's most popular attractions to this day, so it's no shock that this one sold a hefty price in 2019.
This particular leather jacket has "HW" written at the neck and also came with a Western Costume label typed" Henry Winkler." Yes, it was from Winkler's private collection.
Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman's Costume
Every little girl in the 1970s wanted to fight crime like Wonder Woman (played by Lynda Carter.) This original costume was a big seller in 2019.
Designed by costumer Donfeld, it's a five piece ensemble and even comes with a loop to hold the golden lasso.
M*A*S*H: Directional Signpost
If you've watched "M*A*S*H" you've seen this directional signpost on the grounds of the 4077th featuring the names of residents' hometowns and the number of miles to each.
There were three made — one is the Smithsonian, one burned in a wildfire and the third was sold at auction in June 2023.
All in the Family: Archie and Edith's Chairs
From "All in the Family" creator Norman Lear's collection, this furniture was the centerpiece of the show set for the entire run. Archie Bunker (Carrol O' Connor) always sat in the bigger chair to the right, while his wife Edith Bunker (Maureen Stapleton) sat in the smaller chair to the right.
The Bunker's chairs are so important to television history, there is another set in the Smithsonian. This set sold in June 2023.
The Brady Bunch: The Brady House
Value: $3.2 million
The Brady Bunch house, located in Studio City, California, was a private home for decades after the show ended in 1974. It did not have a second floor (the window was a prop) and the interiors were shot on a soundstage.
In 2019, HGTV bought the house to renovate for its show "A Very Brady Renovation" where it matched interiors and added a second floor. It put the house up for sale in 2023 — it sold a few months later to a superfan, Tina Trahan, who intends to use it for charitable events. She said, "No one is going in there to make pork chops and applesauce in that kitchen (the appliances don't work). Anything you might do to make the house livable would take away from what I consider artwork."