The market for Beyonce’s autograph tells you a lot about demand for autographs among those aged in their 30s and below.
She’s the biggest star on the planet. She has been for some time.
And while you’ll find plenty of examples of her autograph for sale online for up to $1,000, few major auction houses are dealing in them.
There isn't the intense demand you get for performers from previous generations.
Here are some thoughts on why that might be...
Today’s young people have more access to their idols than at any other time in history.
Apps like Instagram and Snapchat allow celebrities to broadcast photographs and live videos, giving fans an astonishing level of insight into their personal lives.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Meanwhile Twitter provides the opportunity to communicate directly.
This loss of mystique partly explains the fall in demand.
But there’s another factor at play here...
The dawn of the selfie
A number of celebrities have remarked they receive hardly any requests for autographs these days.
This is chiefly because from 2010, front facing cameras became ubiquitous on smart phones.
Originally intended for video calls, this camera was almost immediately co-opted for the all-conquering selfie.
For most young people, the real prize is a selfie with that celebrity you admire.
It's a valuable piece of social currency.
Much in the same way as getting an autograph was for me and my generation.
But autographs still have a future
Because if autographs really are becoming rarer...
If fluctuating demand results in fewer being produced...
And if quality specimens are rarer...
Then I think we can safely say the future looks bright for those with the nous to accumulate today.
Autographs only really start to become valuable over time.
Those young fans have to grow up and acquire some disposable income.
It's why Nirvana autographs are through the roof at the moment.
A selfie has no value to anyone but the person who took it.
Autographs, they're forever.
PS. Have a Beyonce autograph you’re looking to sell? I may be able to help. Get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org.