Mark Twain autograph

Mark Twain is the most celebrated of all American authors, which ensures high demand for his autograph.  

Here’s what you need to know.

He’s always been collected

Twain was recognised as someone special in his own lifetime.

Mark Twain autograph

(Image: Paul Fraser Collectibles)

After his death, American institutions battled for the best of his archives.

The vast majority of his original writings are tucked away in universities and museums. They’re among the greatest literary treasures ever produced in the US.

Most Twain signatures in circulation are found in letters and books.

Signed books will cost you in excess of $1,000. Signed letters can be much more depending on the subject, while signed photographs tend to reach around $4,000.

Anything that mentions his two most famous creations (Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn) carries a premium.

His signature is fairly common.

Twain’s autograph isn’t all that rare.

Mark Twain autograph

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

He was a major celebrity in his own lifetime, well known to ordinary people and regularly seen in public.

He was also a generous signer, always happy to dedicate a book or put his name to a photo.

It’s demand, rather than scarcity, that keeps prices high.

He often signs twice

One of my favourite things about Twain is that you often get two signatures for your money.

Mark Twain autograph

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

He regularly signs as SL Clemens (his given name) alongside his legendary nom de plume.

On other occasions he signs just “Mark Twain” or “SL Clemens”.

 “Mark Twain” is the more valuable of the two.

One more thing to bear in mind. There are several compendiums of Twain’s work that appear to bear his signature, but are in fact a printed steel engraving.

The engraving reads: “This is the authorized Uniform Edition of all my books. Mark Twain.”

If you see this, you can guarantee its not an authentic signature. It’s caught out plenty of prospective buyers over the years.

Paul Fraser.

PS. Do you have a Mark Twain autograph you’re looking to sell? I may be able to help. Get in touch today at

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