Home > Early Memorabilia > Autographs

Autographs

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 25 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 

Autographs are some of the easiest things to collect; going back a few decades many boys had an autograph book which they used to collect signatures of the famous and not so famous. Autographs are light, portable, and many are quite readily affordable.

Of course, with autographs, especially older ones, there’s always the question of authenticity. How can you know that Richie Valens autograph is real, or that Cliff Richard really did sign that piece of paper in 1958? The simple answer is that, in most cases, you can’t know. There are ways to try and have them authenticated, but that can cost more than the autograph itself, and it’s an inexact science; all too often you won’t get a definitive answer.

Who To Collect

You can collect autographs of all the early rockers – in fact, since they comprised a relatively small group, you’d almost need to (a question to ask yourself, for instance, is do you really need 10 different Elvis autographs?). Indeed, assembling a collection of many of the 50s rockers – whether American or British – could be a very interesting task.

Alternatively, you could assemble the autographs of a singer and all the members of his backing group – which might prove more challenging, as tracking down the signatures of the lesser-known can take quite a while.

Some people go for specific types of autographs, such as signed photographs or signed LPs, which makes for an interesting subdivision of autographs in general.

How To Collect

With a few exceptions, auction houses aren’t the best place to buy 1950s autographs – they’re simply too common to warrant the attention of the places (you might find the occasional Elvis or Johnny Cash item that’s the exception to the rule, which is reflected in the price).

Instead, it’s better to look at the offerings of dealers, or even check on eBay or one of the other Internet auction sites. Ideally, look at dealers who are part of the UACC, because their autographs will almost certainly be legitimate, from trusted sources. With eBay you need to be very careful. It’s all too easy to forge signatures, and eBay is a very anonymous forum for sales. Check the seller’s feedback carefully before bidding and buying.

What Should You Pay?

There are so many variables in price with autographs. Rarity is a huge factor, of course, along with presentation (an autographed LP will bring more than a signature on a scrap of paper, for example) and legibility (many autographs, written to waiting fans after concerts, were little more than fast scrawls).

At the high end, you can pay up to around £500 for a good, authenticated Elvis autograph, although you can find them at lower prices. However, authenticity is a big factor – where there’s demand, there’s forgery. Some of it was unintentional – the demand was so high that often Elvis’ friends would sign his name on pictures to send out – but others are deliberate.

Most other rockers can’t command prices in the same league. The only exception is Buddy Holly, which is based on rarity. For most rockers, a high end price of £50 is what you should expect to pay, and most will cost much less.

Re-Selling

You’re unlikely to make a big profit on autographs. The main reason to acquire them is to assemble a collection – at which point, if you sell them together, you might see some return on your money. However, as investments, you’d be much better advised to look at other areas of rock memorabilia.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Jenjen
    Re: Take That Memorabilia
    Hi I have a authenticated signed print from Take Thats Pray video on the beach in immaculate condition.... anyone habe an idea of value…
    17 September 2018
  • jan
    Re: Take That Memorabilia
    i have all 5 signatures on their stage lighting plan for a concert i went to at Hammersmith Apollo. i think early 90s. i was also given a…
    22 July 2018
  • Jon Limbret
    Re: 1960s Magazines
    You can try asking beatchapter. They buy and sell all sorts of music magazines including nme melody maker disc sounds etc. But they do not list…
    30 May 2018
  • Mary Hagood
    Re: 1960s Tickets and Passes
    I have 1 Suffolk downs Beatles ticket unused white and 1 blue..i would like to sell them ASAPl
    20 May 2018
  • Jemma Bee
    Re: 1970s Clothing
    Hi there, I work in a charity shops and we have been donated a signed George Melly tie. Please could you advise on the value of this and where it…
    9 May 2018
  • Rach
    Re: Take That Memorabilia
    Hi, I’ve came across an old take that locket necklace in a black pouch and a watch (without the strap) they are both in excellent…
    5 January 2018
  • Stacey
    Re: Kendo Nagasaki's Mask, Could it be Valuable?
    I'd like to inquire as to the value of a genuine wrestling belt given to me personally by Big Daddy's wife,…
    8 August 2017
  • Mark
    Re: Take That Memorabilia
    I have five signed picture postcards from 1992, I would like to sell, one of each of the members of take that. They all have just signed…
    23 April 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the MemorabiliaRocks website. Please read our Disclaimer.