Think autograph collecting is on the way out? Here’s why you’re wrong

Ask five autograph collectors why they love the hobby.

You’re guaranteed to get five different answers.

But one thing they will all agree on is this...

An autograph offers a genuine connection with the signer.

RR Auction's sale of autograph hunter John Brennan's collection earlier this month made hundreds of thousands. A single Nirvana autograph sold for $11,693.   

Meanwhile Heritage was offering the Jack Smalling baseball collection, which featured in excess of 13,000 of autographs from Babe Ruth to the unsung heroes of the Negro Leagues. It sold for $180,000.

The two sales prove that autographs have a lot to offer in the modern world.

Connection

Before social media, the only link you had with a musician, sportsman or actor you loved was seeing them in their professional capacity.  

Nirvana

Bidding on this Nirvana autograph reached $11,693 this month (Image: RR Auction)

Nowadays things are different.  

Instagram Stories, Snapshot, Facebook Live, Reddit AMAs...

These platforms allow stars to show off a (carefully curated) casual side.

You get to see behind the scenes, and in real time.

But there’s simply no replacement for genuine human contact.

For the thrill of holding a signature in your hand.

Stories

I won’t bore you with them now...

But I’ve got a fair few stories about famous people I’ve met over the years.

It’s another of the particular joys of collecting autographs.

Baseball

Jack Smalling's baseball collection is the biggest of its kind (Image: Heritage Auctions)

There’s a story attached to each one.

Even the ones you didn’t secure yourself.

A chance meeting with Marilyn Monroe (a little before my time, alas)...

20 seconds in an elevator with Michael Jordan...

Those little moments that can mean so much...

That can fuel a lifetime of dinner party chat.

There’s no coincidence that the autographs with the best stories behind them sell the best.   

It’s all part of the fun.

Permanence

Today people own less and less.

You stream your music.

Get all your movies over Netflix.

Elvis

You just can't beat the immediate connection autographs offer (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

A selfie with, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is easily lost when you switch phones or fail to back your computer up.

This is precisely why vinyl sales are going through the roof.

It’s why Polaroid is making cameras again.

An autograph is yours.

Something you can physically hold in your hand.

A moment of connection with a happy memory attached.

What could be better?

All the best,

Paul.

Click here to view all my autographs for sale.

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