Top 10 most valuable living autographs
They're all famous celebrities, but who is the world's most valuable living signature?
Updated: January 2014
We live in a celebrity culture. There's no doubt about it.
Andy Warhol predicted it with his 1968 quote that "In the future
Since then the collector market for celebrity autographs has grown accordingly as demand far outstrips supply.
Collecting autographs is a market that has been predominately based in the US, Canada and the UK but that's now changing.
The rare autograph market is now serious business in emerging economies as levels of disposable income rise, and the search for trophy-assets begins.
After all, what's better than investing in a piece of memorabilia you can feel passionate about?
Top 10 most valuable living autographs
All figures taken from the PFC40 Autograph Index and refer to signed photos unless otherwise stated.
The Queen of Pop performs to sell out crowds around the world. Madonna is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the most successful female recording artist of all time.
Her autograph has grown in value by 7.8% per annum since 2000.
9. Ringo Starr - £1,200 ($750)
The much-loved drummer's autograph remains the most inexpensive of the four Beatles, yet is rising at a rapid pace, climbing by 20.6% in value in 2013.
8. JK Rowling - £1,250 ($1,875) (signed book)
In 2009, a second-hand chair set an auction room alight.
The auctioneer commented "It's a chair you would normally pay a tenner for in a junk shop", yet it sold for £20,000 ($30,000). A good investment for the owner.
The reason? It was the chair JK Rowling sat in to write the first Harry Potter book in front of her typewriter.
With over 400 million book sales of the Harry Potter series, Rowling's signature is one of the most sought after in the world. She lives a fairly reclusive lifestyle in a Scottish castle.
7. Muhammad Ali - £1,500 ($2,456)
The King of the Ring needs no introduction. A three time world champion, he is considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all time.
His earlier signings as Cassius Clay are even more sought than "Ali" autographed pieces, with a scarce letter written on August 1, 1960 "I am here at Fort Dix getting ready for Rome, I am in the best of shape... still hitting hard," recently selling for $17,925.
6. Queen Elizabeth II - £1,500 ($2,456)
The reigning Queen of England is, not surprisingly, a very difficult signature to acquire.
Family Christmas cards and the very occasional letter are virtually all she signs in terms of correspondence. These tend to be kept long-term in the private collections of the recipients and seldom find their way onto the market.
5. Tiger Woods - £1,750 ($2,625)
The world's number one golfer rarely signs autographs for members of the public.
Tiger is the world's first billionaire sportsman and even his recent indiscretions have not dented his popularity with the golfing public.
4. Bob Dylan - £1,950 ($1,275)
Bob Dylan has achieved what many musicians fail to do.
He's stood the test of time, managing to stay relevant for six decades in the music business.
At 68 years of age, he was the oldest ever to debut at No. 1 in the Billboard charts, with his 2009 album Together Through Life. Leading a reclusive lifestyle has added to his mystique, and boosted the price of his collectibles.
Dylan memorabilia is so rare that a harmonica given to a member of his wardrobe department during his 1974 tour sold for £2,700 ($4,050) in 2009.
3. Paul McCartney - £2,000 ($3,275)
The Beatles' Paul McCartney is another musician with a huge fan base. His song Yesterday is the most covered song in history.
His autograph has grown by 20.6% per annum since 2000.
2. Prince William - £2,000 ($3,275) (album page)
Rare and in high demand - the perfect combination for producing a valuable autograph. Members of the royal family rarely sign autographs, while Prince William's popularity is soaring following his marriage to Kate Middleton and the birth of their child, Prince George.
1. Fidel Castro - £3,500 ($5,732)
Following the death of Nelson Mandela in 2013, Fidel Castro is now the world's most valuable living signer. Castro's divisive nature and importance to 20th century history ensure there are many suitors for his elusive autograph.
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