A time to sign: autograph investment goes mainstream

Over recent years and decades, a slow change has been coming over the world of investments. Whilst previously an investment meant something abstract, or large scale such as property, the idea of collectibles as tangible investments has come into its own.

The economic crisis has focused attention on the resilience of such markets, and whilst wine and art have often been collected for this reason, one area which is catching investors' imagination is autographs.

Tracking the value of rare autographs with tools such as the PFC40 autograph index has become more common and the value of those autographs sampled has produced an average increase of 335.9% in 10 year period from 2000.

A lot of people will wish their investments from that time had performed anything like as well.

Britain's highly respected Financial Times (FT) ran a substantial story on the phenomenon this week, for which Paul Fraser was interviewed. He noted the expanding market is partly due to the influence of the BRIC countries.

"There's such a huge growth worldwide in a middle class with disposable income, especially in China. Generally these new collectors are interested in international figures, but they're also starting to repatriate national items that have been sold abroad.

"A signed copy of Mao's Little Red Book, for example, has gone upfrom £100 ($150) to roughly £4,000-£5,000."

Recent examples only give encouragement: rare signer Tiger Woods, who has the second most valuable autograph from a living person, may have seen sponsorship deals drop, but the value of his signature has remained a strong investment whether his IMAGE_is clean-cut or in disgrace.

Tiger Woods signed baseball capp
A baseball cap signed by Tiger Woods

Likewise the loss of a source for a celebrity's signature has a powerful effect on the price. Neil Armstrong's reluctance to sign has seen his autograph value rocket over the past ten years, whilst Ringo Starr's jumped as soon as he mentioned his frustration with signing.

The more permanent loss of a source for signatures caused by a celebrity's death, especially if unexpected, has been especially marked in the past few years with Michael Jackson's signature increasing exponentially in value.

With an estimated 200 million collectors around the world, now is the time to get involved. Take a look at our investment pages for more information.


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