As one of the most celebrated directors in Hollywood history, Alfred Hitchcock has long been a sought-after signer.
But getting hold of a genuine specimen has never been easy.
Here’s what you need to know about the market in Hitchcock’s signature.
Hitchcock was at the height of his fame around the middle of the twentieth century.
It was common for fans to write to celebrities requesting an autograph.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
And he signed a great many.
Photographs. Album pages. Matchbooks and assorted slips of paper.
But over time, many of these were lost.
There was not the market for autographs we have today.
No million-dollar sales.
No dealers or auction circuits.
And so; few have survived. Even fewer in premium condition.
You also have the issue of secretarials to contend with. Often autograph signing was farmed out to clerical workers. It takes an expert to spot the nuances of Hitchcock’s hand.
And demand for these authentic examples far outstrips supply.
Hitchcock is an icon
Most directors stay behind the camera.
You could pass some of the biggest names in Hollywood on the street and never even notice.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
They let their work speak for itself.
But Hitchcock is different. He was a celebrity in his own lifetime. A regular in the gossip pages.
He made a point of appearing in many of his movies. Usually these were just small cameos. Reading a newspaper in a cafe. Strolling in a park. But this visual trademark indicates how important fame was to Hitchcock. He wanted to be recognised.
He was a regular sight on TV in the US, with his anthology show Alfred Hitchcock Presents. It opens with his silhouette, before he personally announces each edition of the show.
One of the simplest definitions of an icon is a figure you can recognise from their silhouette.
Hitchcock knew this and enjoyed playing on it.
He often included a sketch of himself in profile with his autograph – just to hammer that point home.
His work is still in vogue
Older movies have a tendency to fall out of favour.
The fashions outdated. Modern audiences fail to connect with the performances. The pacing belongs to a different age.
Hitchcock’s films aren’t like that.
His work is so inventive. Ahead of its time.
His influence can be felt in the multiplex and the arthouse cinema alike.
As a result, modern audiences are able to instantly connect with his work. His style has been dominant in cinema for decades.
Vertigo, Psycho, The 39 Steps.
These are films that continue to top the list of the greatest movies ever made.
It’s this that ensures demand for his signature remains strong, even as interest wanes in his contemporaries.
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