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  • Investing in Autographs
  • Post author
    Will Davison

Investing in Autographs

Signed photos from Marilyn Monroe, autograph album pages bearing the signatures of the Beatles, historical documents signed by kings and politicians. All come under the banner of autographs, and all offer terrific investment potential, with impressive year-on-year price increases.

Autographs are a tangible alternative in times of market volatility. They hold value well when other investments are redlining.

Reasons to invest

Supply shortage: The majority of the most collectible signers are no longer with us, ensuring a finite supply of autographs.

A growing demand: There are 3m serious autograph collectors around the world and this figure is set to rise.

Autographs are a booming area for collectors, thanks to increasing demand for unique examples, especially among those who are aware of the investment potential of autographs but who are constrained by budgetary issues - rare autographs can still be found at the more affordable end of the collectibles sector.

Soaring values: This clamour for autographs, allied with a finite supply, is seeing prices rise.They may not be "entry-level investments" for long.

The PFC40 Autograph Index has revealed that values of the 40 most regularly traded autographs grew by 13.6% pa between 2000 and 2013.

Unaffected by market volatility: Rare autographs, like most collectibles, have an extremely low correlation to other investment areas. This ensures that they provide wonderful diversity for your portfolio.

Historical performance

Up 155% in just 12 months

Neil Armstrong stopped signed autographs in 1994, making the first man on the Moon's signature extremely rare even before his passing in August 2012.

According to the PFC40 Autograph Index his autograph grew in value from £550 ($870) to £7,500 ($11,910) between 2000 and 2013, at a rate of 22.8% pa.

His death will see demand soar, and values rise still further.

The letter that scientist Francis Crick wrote about his discovery of DNA sold for a world record price of $6m in 2013, eclipsing the previous record for an autographed letter by 78.2%.

Autographs from scientists are particularly sought after on the current market, with Albert Einstein's autographed handprints selling 267% above estimate at $85,000 in June 2013.

The value of signed photos containing all four Beatles signatures has risen from £5,500 ($8,730) in 2000 to £27,000 ($45,400) today, according to the PFC40 Autograph Index - a rise of 13.0% pa.

A signed photograph of Princess Diana in 2000 would have cost around £1,200 ($1,910). In 2013 they were worth around £8,950 ($14,225) - that's a 16.4% pa growth rate.

Yet it is her son Prince William's autograph that has seen the greatest rise in the last 12 months, outperforming all others with a 33.3% rise in value from £1,500 to £2,000.

The last known autographed letter written aboard the Titanic raised the record for such a piece by 28%, selling for $200,0464 in April 2014.

A client of ours sold an Oscar Wilde-signed photo at Bonhams for £20,400, just 12 months after buying it from us for £8,000 - a return of 155%.


Thinking of investing in autographs? Click here to view our investment grade items.

Or get in touch on:

+44 (0) 117 933 9503 


View our autographs stock for sale here.

  • Post author
    Will Davison