Princess Diana, John Lennon... 'An icon's final signature is worth looking out for'

Ghosts of important 20th century figures have been cropping up a lot in the news, this week. First, there was the news that Prince William's Bride-to-be, Kate Middleton, is wearing Princess Diana's engagement ring in the run-up to their 2011 Royal wedding.

The UK press has already began drawing comparisons between Lady Diana and the future Queen Catherine. Last week, I wrote of the positive effects this could have on the collectibles markets - both in revitalising Diana's legacy and boosting the values of Royal collectibles.

Meanwhile, this week marked the anniversary of the death of another popular figure who died tragically: President John F Kennedy. Today, JFK remains a great example of why the collectibles of important historical figures are among the best alternative investments.

When Kennedy died, it was also perceived as marking an end to the optimism of the 1960s. Partly for this reason, Kennedy is the most popular 20th century president among collectors and his autograph has risen in value by 275.7% over the past decade.

It can pay to come last: John F Kennedy's last ever signature is today insured for $250,000


Because of his important role in history, all memorabilia from Kennedy's life is imbued with significance and intrinsic value - whether it's letters written by him years before he became president, personal letters to his mistresses, or his last-ever autograph.

With important figures like Kennedy, the onus falls on collectors to preserve his life and legacy - even if it seems morbid or controversial. For instance, Kennedy's last-ever signature signed on a newspaper on the morning of his death is insured for $250,000.

Elsewhere, another 'last autograph', this time signed by John Lennon, is also going to auction in New York. This is no ordinary autograph, but the signed copy of Lennon's last-ever LP, Double Fantasy, gifted to his murdered Mark Chapman just hours before he shot the ex-Beatle.

The signed LP will be sold by a New York auctioneer with an $850,000 estimate on December 7, the night before the 30th Anniversary of Lennon's death - which is either great timing, or in very poor taste depending on how you view it.

It's worth noting that this isn't the first time that Mark Chapman's signed Double Fantasy LP has appeared on the markets. It was last sold in 1999 from approximately $460,000 and, if the seller's estimate is accurate, will have almost doubled its value in the last decade.

This signed customs declaration from John Lennon's last-ever holiday is for sale and holds significant value on today's collectibles markets


This is less surprising when you consider that the average value of Lennon's autograph has risen by 756.1.% in the last 10 years. In real terms, that means a Lennon signature bought for £695 10 years ago could today be worth £5,950.

Because Lennon - like Diana and JFK - died so young and in tragic circumstances, each memorabilia item from his life is imbued with significance. Take for instance Lennon's last-ever signed customs declaration form, which - although not his final signature - is valued at £9,500.

For now, finite supply and growing demand continues to fuel the markets for important historical figures' last-ever autographs - and the upcoming sale of the last-ever signed John Lennon Double Fantasy LP will definitely be a sale to watch.

All the best, until next week




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