Ernest Hemingway’s autograph is in particular demand among lovers of literature.
Ever dreamed of owning one? Or perhaps you have one you’d like to sell?
Here’s what you need to know before dipping your toes into the market.
It’s rare – but not that rare
Hemingway was a generous signer.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
There are plenty of books bearing his autograph. Many of these are official presentation copies, although dedicated specimens are popular.
He was also a prodigious letter writer. Letters to close friends were typically signed with his nickname, “Papa”, while more formal letters get the full “Ernest Hemingway” treatment. Which one you pick depends on personal preference – they tend to be in the same price bracket depending on content.
A great deal of Hemingway’s correspondence is in circulation. This rare for an author of his calibre, as museums and university archives tend to buy important texts up early.
Signed photographs are plentiful. The most sought after of these portraits show him posing in the wilderness, often with a fresh catch or kill, and sell for north of $15,000.
If you’re buying, you have a wealth of options.
But it’s important to recognise that, while plentiful, Hemingway’s signature does not come cheap.
Hemingway is one of the most celebrated writers in the English language.
He’s also a fascinating character who lived a remarkable life.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Hemingway served in the first world war and mixed with artists in Paris. He drank, hunted and romanced his way around the world. His address book was filled with names like Marlene Dietrich, James Joyce and Pablo Picasso.
His books are both popular and critically acclaimed.
Hemingway is fairly unique in this regard. His rugged personal mythos draws in a large number of readers with only a limited interest in other authors.
This broad appeal contributes to a demand for his signature that is pretty unprecedented for a writer.
The most affordable specimens go for a baseline of $1,000, while original manuscripts have sold for as much as $248,000.
Fakes are everywhere
No surprises there.
With high demand and even higher prices, it’s inevitable that scammers will try and cash in.
Many of the fakes on the market are highly convincing, so it’s important to get an assurance you’re buying the real thing.
As a rule of thumb, avoid sites like eBay – where fly-by-night sellers proliferate.
Only purchase from respected dealers and auction houses, where experts will have examined and authenticated your autograph.
You also have the benefit of being able to return it, should it ever be called into question.
PS. Do you have an Ernest Hemingway autograph you’re looking to sell? I may be able to help. Get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org.