Bob Marley’s autograph is one of the biggest climbers of recent years.
In March this year, a signed poster for the Wailers’ 1976 US tour achieved a record $30,979. And in November, a signed 45 single for The Wailers’ 'Is This Love / Crisis' made $28,159.
While Marley memorabilia has been selling for big prices at auction for the last two decades (a handwritten notebook of lyrics holds the record at $72,000), these autographs represent a major new high.
Here’s why that might be...
A growing market
For those who were teenagers (or younger) when Bob Marley released Exodus in 1977, the record had a profound impact on the music of the time.
Bob Marley was the biggest star to emerge from Jamaica's reggae scene (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
From punk to mainstream pop, suddenly that Jamaican influence was everywhere.
Today, those kids who danced to Three Little Birds and One Love are now in the late stages of their careers.
They’ve worked hard, made some money and are looking for something that connects them with their youth.
Certain artists fall out of favour with age.
That has never been the case with Bob Marley. Each generation discovers his music afresh. That’s resulted in a huge market for his memorabilia that spans a range of age groups.
As values for his autograph have risen, investors have started to take note.
Now the $30,000 mark has been broken, it’s likely the value of lesser autographs will increase as buyers seek to get in to the market.
Bob Marley rarely signed autographs. That’s partly because he died young. He was only 36 when he succumbed to melanoma in 1981.
A statue of Bob Marley at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
His career was also incredibly short.
He only became well known outside Jamaica in 1973.
There are a relatively tiny number of autographs in circulation as a result.
The two I mentioned at the top were also signed by members of his band, the Wailers. These are even scarcer.
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