Good used finds can be few and far between, but a Detroit music fan's chance discovery of a major piece of Motown history, an old passport of R&B legend Marvin Gaye he found in a record, has been detailed in an episode of Antiques Roadshow.
The man's story reveals that he's been an avid Motown collector for years and came across the ages-old document, dating back to 1964, while leafing through old records ahead of the estate sale of an unnamed musician that had also been part of the soul label's stable.
"It came to me by pure accident," he said on the program [via FACT]. "For years, I worked for the Motown Museum here in Detroit, started when I was 18 years old. I was a Motown collector — anything Motown, I loved. And after a Motown musician had passed, we had gone to their house to pick up some items that the family wanted to donate to the museum, and they had said, 'Is there anything else you wanted? Because otherwise, it's going to be in the estate sale this weekend.'"
While the collector passed on taking any records for the museum, he rifled through the LPs and 45s for his own personal collection. The passport was apparently found inside a record he bought for 50 cents. "When I got home, I was going through them and out of an album fell this passport. And so it literally fell into my hands."
Laura Woolley, one of the show's appraisers, valued the passport around $20,000, noting that the document came after the singer changed his last name from his given "Gay" to the now more familiar "Gaye."
She 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."
In related news, Gaye's ex-wife Anna Gordy Gaye passed away last Friday (January 30) of natural causes at the age of 92. Anna, a songwriter and the sister of Motown founder Barry Gordy, had met the singer in 1960, and the pair were married in 1964. They divorced in 1977.