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How Sweet It Is: Man's 50 Cent Find Is Marvin Gaye’s Long-Lost Passport, Worth $20K

Laura Ferreiro
Yahoo Music
February 4, 2014

What's going on? How about the find of a lifetime.

The story begins at a Detroit estate sale, where a memorabilia collector from Detroit purchases a handful of albums on the cheap. When he gets home and starts sifting through them, a passport belonging ot Motown icon Marvin Gaye literally falls out of one of the record sleeves — an LP he bought for just 50 cents — and into his hands. Having no idea how much the find was worth, the man appears on Monday's episode of the PBS series "Antiques Roadshow" to have his discovery appraised.

"The thing I'm in love with is how young he is here," appraiser Laura Woolley said of the photo on the document. Woolley also detailed why the find was so special. "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."

She then advised the collector to insure the passport for a minimum of $20,000.

The man was shocked when he found out how much the document was worth. "Are you kidding me?" he asked, incredulous. "I'm not kidding you," she responded. "Nothing comes up for Marvin Gaye. It's not a really common thing to see Marvin Gaye memorabilia."

The R&B legend, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer whose hits include "What's Going On" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," was shot dead by his father in 1984 on the eve of his 45th birthday.

Passport collecting is very popular, according to Woolley. "People love passports," she said. "They show where [Gaye] was all over the world, what he's doing during these years — he's obviously traveling, he's touring. People also like them because we know that they're real signatures because you have to sign your own passports."

We can only imagine that the collector was humming "How Sweet It Is" on his way out the door.