A WWF Wrestler like, The Rock will have signed tens of thousand of autographs in his career. David Beckham, too, is never far away from a pen, so much so he was even endorsed by a pen company.
Other celebrities are more selective.
Recently Ex-Beatle Ringo Starr announced on his website he would no longer be signing autographs, while Ex-World Champion Boxer George Foreman, records the names and addresses of every person requesting an autograph to limit fraudulent activities.
Autograph Hunting (or Philography) is now big business. We spoke to Ania Polyniak, from Europe’s leading Autograph and Memorabilia dealer Frasers Autographs to learn a bit more about it.
Approx how many autographs do Frasers have?
Our memorabilia and autographs division, Fraser’s Autographs, currently have 36,000 autographed items in stock but this varies on a monthly basis. For example, if we have just returned from a particularly successful buying trip or have purchased a collection which can consist of many thousands of items.
Whose autograph has gone down in price the most recently?
Very rarely do autographs actually go down in value, they might plateau at a peak value and stop rising but rarely do they descend in value. Perhaps if the signer in question were to commit an extreme crime or go down in people’s estimation, take OJ Simpson and Tiger Woods for example, then the value might waver but given time that value will usually restore itself. Interest may wane but values tend to hold true.
Is it hard to authenticate Autographs?
It can be difficult to authenticate some signers, the ease of authenticating an autograph is usually down to the consistency of the appearance of the autograph; For example, Frank Sinatra can be a nightmare to authentic as his signature varied through the decades.
Autograph specialists must be knowledgeable about a host of signers – from Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson – it is important to become fully immersed and comfortable with autograph patterns. Only through continual viewings of signatures, both authentic as well as fake, can you more readily tell what is, and what is not, as it appears to be.
Whose Autograph is the most valuable?
One of the most valuable autographed pieces that Fraser’s has ever had in stock was an inscribed first edition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet” (1887).
It was the first of Conan Doyle’s novels to feature Sherlock Holmes. The book’s title derived from a speech given by Holmes in the book to his companion Doctor Watson on the nature of his work, in which he describes the story’s murder investigation as his “study in scarlet”:
“There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.”
This piece is extremely rare as a first edition, let alone that it is signed by the illustrious author. It sold for £375,000.