The autographs sector is a market on the rise. Paul Fraser Collectibles' PFC40 Autograph Index reveals that values for the world's 40 most sought-after autographs grew by 4.37% between 2011 and 2012.
And this upward trend has been borne out by some major results this year across the world's auctions.
- One of just 26 known surviving copies of Abraham Lincoln's historic Emancipation Proclamation, signed by the president, made $2.1m in June.
2012's leading results
- A letter from the leader of Titanic's band, written on Titanic notepaper just days before the tragedy, sold for $154,974 at a 100th anniversary auction in April.
- A letter written by polar explorer Captain Scott, just days before he died in the Antarctic, sold for �163,250 ($264,000) at Bonhams in London in March, on the 100th anniversary of his death - beating its estimate by 8.8%.
- The last cheque signed by Marilyn Monroe, on the day before her death, realised $15,000 in July, up 50% on estimate.
- The death of Neil Armstrong in August saw a surge in value for his autograph as eager collectors poured into the market. The PFC40 Autograph Index has found that signed photos of Neil Armstrong have risen by 26.05% since 2011.
- A signed George Washington letter to his wartime aide sold 262.5% above its $100,000 estimate for $362,500 in November.
- An autographed letter from Mahatma Gandhi sold for �49,250 ($79,489), achieving a 603.5% increase on its �5,000-7,000 valuation, in December.
- A series of love letters that Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger sent to his lover Marsha Hunt made �187,250 ($302,265) in December.
- A rare handwritten letter from Vincent van Gogh sold for $280,000 in December.
It was a breakout year for…
- Nelson Mandela autographs. A black and white signed photograph of a young Nelson Mandela, valued at $4,460, sold in South Africa for $8,113 in November - suggesting that the market for Mandela is on the rise.
A year to forget for…
- The Kray Twins. Letters and artwork from the notorious London gangsters' time in prison have swamped the market in recent years. And while fascination with the Krays remains high, demand is nevertheless insufficient for the sheer number of autographs out there, as seen by the meagre �200 ($325) price for a 20-page handwritten signed document from Reggie in August.
One you may have missed
- The first Richard III signed document to appear for 40 years sold for �109,250 ($168,900) in June. It had last changed hands for $850 in May 1960, corresponding to a 10.7% pa increase.