Madonna’s autograph is among the most sought after for a living artist.
But while she’s one of the biggest stars on the planet, there are some more interesting drivers behind the high prices paid for her signature.
Here’s a few thoughts.
She’s a trailblazer
There were female superstars before Madonna.
But none were as deliberately provocative. Songs like Papa Don’t Preach and Like a Virgin attracted the ire of conservatives in the US - as did her infamous music videos.
There was Like a Prayer, with its depiction of a racist murder by KKK members. The Vatican loudly protested the video’s use of Catholic imagery. Open Your Heart, from 1986, portrayed Madonna as a stripper and came close to being barred by MTV.
Then in 1992 she released Sex, a book of erotic photographs. In spite of (or perhaps thanks to) the outcry it sold in vast numbers.
Female performers have been marketed on their sexuality in the past. But Madonna was always in total control of her image. The decisions she made during her career genuinely changed society. There are very few artists who can claim to have had that effect.
The media first started calling Madonna the Queen of Pop in the 1980s.
While other performers have been given that accolade since (Beyonce being the most recent), Madonna retains the title.
This has a lot to do with the way she resonates with different audiences. On the surface Madonna is the biggest selling female artist of all time. She’s sold millions of records to mainstream audiences.
But she was also an ally of the LGBT community when homosexuality was not accepted in mainstream culture. The gay community adopted her as an icon from the very beginning of her career.
She’s also a feminist icon. A fashion icon. A sex symbol. Her versatility is why she’s one of the greatest performers in history. It also ensures a wide and enthusiastic audience for her memorabilia.
Genuine autographs are rare
Madonna dislikes signing autographs.
That’s one of the main barriers to owning one.
She released her first track, Everybody, in 1982. The song was a hit. By the time she released her debut album in 1983 she was already a star.
Public appearances are few and far between.
The huge demand for Madonna’s autograph has given rise to a thriving market in fakes.
Today you can expect to pay upwards of $995 for the best examples of her autograph. That’s a figure that looks set to increase in years to come.
PS. I have a great selection of Madonna autographs for sale. Click here to take a look.