"What Is My Autograph Worth?"
This is a question we receive every day. You have an autograph in your possession and you would like to know its value either for future sale,
insurance purposes or curiosity. This can be a difficult question to answer, but here is some basic information to help you with your quest. Please note that this
article will not tell you the exact value of your memorabilia nor can any other article. This is just a guideline/checklist of the basics that are used to determine
an autograph’s value. You can use this to get an idea if your autograph is worth more or less than the average.
The first issue to deal with is establishing authenticity. This is broken into two parts - autographs you obtained in person and autographs you purchased.
Autographs obtained in person.
OK, so you were able to meet your favorite musician, athlete or celebrity and obtain their autograph. You were there and know 150% that your autograph is authentic,
so it shouldn't be any problem proving your autographed memorabilia is the real deal. Not exactly. Unfortunately, too many people in the past have lied about where
they got their forged autograph "signed". This makes it difficult for those who really obtained an autograph in-person. Instead, you will have to prove authenticity
with more than just your word.
1. Do you remember the date and location of the signing? It is important to know the time and place where you had your item signed. With the internet tracking each celebrity's every move, people can find out if the artist was actually there or not which can help confirm your story.
2. Do you have a ticket stub or pass? Was your item signed at a special event or meet and greet? If so, do you have your invitation, pass or ticket stub from the event? This can be a great way to prove that you were there.
3. Do you have photos of the signing? It cannot be a random picture you found online of the celebrity signing autographs. It has to be them signing YOUR item or of them standing with you. This can be your most significant piece of evidence and sometimes all you will need to prove the authenticity of your autographed memorabilia.
If you can supply all or most of this information above, you shouldn't have a problem confirming authenticity and thus increasing your autograph’s value.
To determine the authenticity of an autograph you purchased, you will want to use the same steps as above. Can the person you bought your autograph from supply
that information? If so, you should be alright. If you purchased from a company, what is their reputation? You can usually just do a quick internet search to find out.
(Also check out our “Is my autograph real?” article.)
Once you have established authenticity, the next part in determining your autograph's value is what the signature is on and its overall condition.
When the autograph is signed on something related to the celebrity, such as a photo, recording, instrument, ect., this greatly increases the value.
Unfortunately, most encounters are not planned, so chances are you were not carrying a guitar or album with you at the time. If your autograph is on a piece of paper,
it does not make it worthless, just worth less than a collectible item.
Condition obviously plays an important part in getting the most from your memorabilia. If the item the autograph is on is beat up and torn,
it will not be worth as much as a mint condition item. I am sure you figured that out for yourself, but I thought I would throw that in anyway.
You also want to consider the condition of the autograph itself. This is very important to buyers and collectors. Even if the object is pristine,
if the autograph is faded, smudged or overly messy, it will not price as high as it could have. How the autograph looks is out of your control,
but collectors are adamant about this, so don't be shocked if they pass on your autograph and pay more for another one that is clean and clear looking.
As with every other item that is bought and sold, the pricing of your autograph relies heavily on the current market value.
Almost all autographed memorabilia goes up in value over time, but how much it goes up depends on the demand for that celebrity.
I am sure you have already concluded that autographs from popular deceased celebrities are worth the most. Artists like John Lennon, Kurt Cobain,
Freddie Mercury, Jim Morrison and many more continue to gain popularity as the years go by and as a result, their autographs continue to increase in value too.
This is because the demand for their autographs is great but the supply is very low. You can't get anymore autographs signed by them and the ones that are out
there are being hoarded. When one finally becomes available for sale, it is a big deal and some collectors will pay anything. This does not apply to all departed
celebrities though. It depends on how popular they are as the years go by. Many are sadly gone and forgotten and so is their memorabilia value.
Popularity also plays the biggest part in autograph value among the living. An artist may explode and become the biggest act, putting their autograph in high demand, but if they can't hang on long term and start to fade, so does their autograph's value. Did they just make a great comeback? Autograph value back up! This can be a roller coaster ride over the years making it hard to pinpoint an exact price. Once you set a price don't expect to keep it there for long. It will adjust accordingly.
One of the best things to do is compare your memorabilia to similar items for sale either online or at auction houses.
You can use the guidelines above to determine if yours will value lower or higher than the others.
Did they establish authenticity as well as you or better? What is their autograph signed on? What is the overall condition? Better or worse than yours?
You will eventually get a feel for where yours ranks and values.
Hopefully this was of some help to you in determining your autograph’s value. There is no exact science to it, but if you use the guidelines above, you should be able to figure out a ballpark price for your autographed memorabilia. If you still want to know more, an appraiser will be able to help you.