A massive classic TV collection, including items from Cheers and All in the Family, just sold for over $5 million

Cliff and Norm returned to the familiar watering hole to commemorate the sale.

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A truly impressive collection of classic TV memorabilia, collected over three decades, recently went up for auction. Over 1,000 props, costumes and sets from nostalgic TV shows were offered after the collector, James Comisar, cleared out his collection.

Comisar had originally planned to open a museum with the TV history he had picked up over the years. After that didn't pan out, he decided to sell the items for other fans to enjoy. “The auction’s success confirmed what I have always known: that television characters are cherished members of our extended family and that their stories and our own are inseparable,” Comisar said.

One of the items sold was the Bunker's living room from All in the Family  — kind of. The set from the 1971 ground-breaking series including the dining room, stairwell and the living room where the Bunkers gathered around the TV went for a cool $125,000. 

The same buyer paid $250,000 for the iconic living room chairs where Archie and Edith sat. While the original set currently resides in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, they were given to the museum when it was believed that the show would end after the eighth season. Once the show was picked up for a ninth, these chairs were made for the new season. They could also be seen on the spin-off, Archie Bunker's Place.

Not into sitcoms? That's fine — maybe you'd be interested in the costumes worn by Adam West and Burt Ward in the 1966 TV show Batman. Those were sold at $615,000.

The item that fetched the highest price, though, came from somewhere where everybody knows your name — the bar from Cheers. The watering hole that audiences tuned in to see for 11 seasons went for an impressive $675,000.

In a video for Heritage Auctions, George Wendt ("NORM!") and John Ratzenberger (Cliff the mail carrier), visited Cheers for one more round at the familiar set. "I was personally pleased that they weren't throwing it away and burning it," Ratzenberger said. "Because in Hollywood, that's mostly what happens. They'll take a beautiful set down, and just throw it in a rubbish heap. So...to save all this stuff, that's quite an accomplishment."

Ratzenberger said "the set was as much of a character of the show as we were. Think about it, you come to work every day, your job is to sit at a bar and crack jokes. That's what we did for a living. It's hard to turn into a diva doing that." 

"It's the best gig in Hollywood!" Wendt added.

The bar came with a few nicks and scrapes that would make this even more valuable for a collector: Ratzenberger scratched "RATZ" into the surface of the bar. "It's not scratched, it's engraved!" Ratzenberger insisted. Alongside his own mark, Kirstie Alley, who played Rebecca, carved her own name into the bar.

One more thing this notable set piece came with: possibly, Ratzenberger and Wendt. When asked how they felt having their final beer at the Cheers bar, Wendt said, "Well, it's not really one last beer. I mean, whoever buys this is gonna have us over for beers."

"We're gonna find out their address," Ratzenberger said. "We'll show up. I'm not gonna let go that easily."

Grabbing a drink with Norm and Cliff? Now that might be worth the price.

See the whole video below: 

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Pacificsun 10 months ago
This is a great story. And nicely written!!

But I disagree with his cynicism expressed in this quote.

"I was personally pleased that they weren't throwing it away and burning it," Ratzenberger said. "Because in Hollywood, that's mostly what happens. They'll take a beautiful set down, and just throw it in a rubbish heap. So...to save all this stuff, that's quite an accomplishment."

In truth Studios have little storage (relative to all that is produced over decades). And limited use for repurposing obviously identifiable stuff. Nobody's going to shift the Front Room of one Series into the next. But Property Masters and Set Designers aren't dumb. With a talent for choosing and mixing existing property to create new scenery. In fact I just read, along with photos provided, in an Architectural magazine, an article where a specific set highly visible in a 1960's Series, was put back together to recreate a perfect Retro look! Highly in demand. Collectors and collecting is a fine-tuned and profitable interest, going back to Hollywood movies. And certainly gaining traction the more easily it is to connect. As one of the first installments of MeTV's Collectors Call recounted. A sought after souvenir was accidentally found, all because the piece hadn't been thrown out. Certainly it's about having knowledge of the right people. Being put into contact with the right sources. We're just reading about the story here, because the Series are so well appreciated by many classic TV viewers. But these transaction go on all the time.
tootsieg 11 months ago
Pretty cool article. Thanks for posting.
Andybandit 11 months ago
Good story. I love both show. Make me wish they could put Cheers on MeTv between Adam-12 and the original hour of MASH. Not the extra hour of MASH.
timothys71 Andybandit 11 months ago
Cheers has aired on MeTV in the past. Hopefully they can rotate it back into their broadcast schedule one of these days.
Pacificsun timothys71 11 months ago
It's Catchy Comedy (a Weigel Broadcasting network) so they won't put it on here. Here's CC's complete schedule. And all the fresh sitcoms we might be wishing for here, are there.


texasluva Pacificsun 10 months ago
See you @ Can you complete the titles of these 1970s summer movies? 9 P.M. Sharp (Friday) CT. Come one come all to the MeTv Friday Night Movie Quiz.
Where everyone can take a guess or make comments to other quizzers.
There will be extra bonus movies for just coming by. Including entertainment for all. Feel free to ask questions, copy movie links and just plain join in the fun via communication. The MQ will be up until the movie is guessed and an hour to look over and pick out what you wish. Have fun doing so. There are no wrong answers but the first one to guess the correct movie gets their names put up for getting it correctly.
Good luck and enjoy
Pacificsun texasluva 10 months ago
A MeTV user and I were just conversing about an interesting movie with lots of trivia. I'll make the suggestion and supply the trivia, but won't play the game. I'd rather watch people have fun, anyway. And noooo, don't go saying the name of it out here on the Thread. But it's one everybody can guess easy when the time comes!!
Pacificsun Andybandit 10 months ago
It's on Catchy Comedy, so I don't think it's coming here. Still related to Weigel, though!
texasluva 11 months ago
I just wonder what the original buyer had to pay for these items? Maybe someone connected to the shows and giving to them gratis. Maybe they were sold time and time again over the years? I know there was a connected story line of the pristine Mickey Mantle card (s) and others back in the 80's. A man paying another 125 thousand for all the 1952 Topps cards in this guys basement. Then selling the perfect MM card for around 50 grand (1991) which fetched 12.6 million last year. The last buyer kept the card for 31 years when his sons finally got him to put it on the auction block. The highest selling baseball card to date. These are great stories to hear about and past kept for others to marvel at.
Pacificsun texasluva 11 months ago
Prop Masters (if not the Producers themselves) are pretty wise to the obsessive collector fan interest, as of the last serval decades. Whatever permission is given (by the studio/production company) they're smart enough to connect with the right interested people. In some cases, yes, there are truly trades going on. Whereas others simply collect (pay for) enjoyable nostalgia. Where it gets pricey is when the originals begin selling it off (again).
KawiVulc 11 months ago
That's cool I suppose... but did the guy happen to have Marty's ratty old recliner from Frazier?
Wiseguy70005 KawiVulc 11 months ago
"Frasier." The title appears at the beginning of every episode.
Pacificsun Wiseguy70005 11 months ago
Your point being ....
Bricat2001 11 months ago
wasnt there a collectors call episode about this collection?
harlow1313 11 months ago
I have loose screws and I am a curmudgeon. I am put-off by we humans imbuing objects with magic, because some star touched it. I do not believe in magic.
Pacificsun harlow1313 11 months ago
Never apologize for yourself. You happen to be an authentic person with an honest opinion.

Unusual comment though. Have never thought of collectibles as magic with special power. The Collectors Call tonight is going to be about famous cars in the movies. Which are being stored on a lot for others to see what the real deal was like. What's the harm. And would be consider all sports fans with their baseball cards and souvenirs superstitious? Or rather, connections which bring back meaningful memories.
Runeshaper 11 months ago
This whole article was AMAZING 🤩! Truly magical and it’s great to see that so many treasures were saved. I’m a big Carol O’Connor fan, Batman fan, and Cheers fan. It’s extra cool that Norm and Cliff were added to the mix ❤️🤗
LoveMETV22 11 months ago
Excellent story. Thank You MeTV Staff. Especially enjoyed the added links within the story. They add a nice touch to the articles.
Mblack 11 months ago
Some people have too much money
Wiseguy70005 Mblack 11 months ago
Nothing new there.
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