10 of the World’s Most Expensive Autographs: Whose Signatures Are Now Worth a Fortune?

Autographs, especially by someone who is historic or world-famous figure, can be reallyvaluable. Fans flock to their favorite actors and actresses with a pen and paper, hoping their idols would grant their wish and sign their precious signatures on whatever surface their fans present them. While anything signed by a Hollywood superstar can increase in value over time, not all expensive autographed items are inked by those who toil in the entertainment industry.

Signatures of sports icons, political figures, famous scientists, and even outlaws are also worth a lot, especially if they are signed on something that carries much relevance to their respective industries, to the society and, in a larger scale, to the world. Here are the 10 most expensive celebrity autographs in the world.

#10 John F. Kennedy’s Newspaper: $39,000


Who thought an old page of a newspaper can be worth almost $40,000? Well, it is if former President John F. Kennedy placed his signature on it two hours before he was assassinated. On November 22, 1963, a woman approached the president and asked him to sign the front page of the Dallas Morning News, where a photo of him and wife Jackie Kennedy was featured. It was Kennedy’s last known autograph.

#9 Jesse James’s Photo: $52,000


Jesse James was considered the Robin Hood of the United States back in the 19th century. Like the fictional swordsman slash archer of English folklore, James purportedly stole from the rich and gave it to the poor. After a series of successful robberies form 1866 to 1876, James’ gang of bandits was virtually decimated. On April 3, 1882, as James and his cohorts prepared to stage another robbery, fresh recruit Robert Ford shot him in the back, killing James instantly. It was soon discovered that Ford was working with the Governor of Missouri to apprehend or kill James. The photograph is the only one Jesse has ever signed. Since he was an outlaw, he rarely signed everything, thus his signature has now significant value to the collectors.

#8 Jimmy Page’s Guitar: $73,000


Anything a musician signs can be very valuable, especially if that particular musician reached critical and commercial success during his career. The same is true for guitarist Jimmy Page, who helped form and headed Led Zeppelin, one of the biggest rock bands in the 1970s. And when a 1963 Gibson EDS-1275 model with Page’s signature came up for sale, every music fan went crazy over it. Even after almost 50 years, the guitar is still functional and playable, which adds more to its value.

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#7 Albert Einstein’s Photo: $75,000


Scientists, especially someone like Albert Einstein, project a serious aura of knowledge, which augments their serious views on science and the world we live in. So when Einstein stuck out his tongue for a snapshot, it easily became one of the scientist’s most iconic images. Einstein requested a bunch of copies for this photograph but only signed a few. Forgers tried to make money by selling similar photos with fake signatures. However, one picture with Einstein’s original autograph soon surfaced and was sold for $75,000.

#6 Joe DiMaggio & Marilyn Monroe’s Baseball: $191,200


Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were superstars in their own right. DiMaggio was a baseball god and Monroe was America’s favorite bombshell. It was only natural that their star power grew exponentially when they got married. So when both icons signed a baseball, not only did it become one of the most expensive baseball memorabilia in the world, it was THE MOST EXPENSIVE signed baseball in the world when it was sold in 2006. That record has been broken in 2012, though.

#5 Jimi Hendrix’s Contract: $200,000


Contracts are supposed to be signed by all parties involved, containing terms and arrangements that are beneficial to all people or entities concerned. But Jimi Hendrix, one of the few musicians well ahead of his generation and gone from this world all too soon, was clearly ripped off in a contract dated October 15, 1965. 1% of royalties to one of the greatest guitarists of all time was clearly a bad deal. Too bad, Hendrix did not live to see his contract rake in $200,000 at an auction.

#4 Babe Ruth’s Baseball: $388,375


Babe Ruth is a baseball legend and anything that bears his signature is as good as gold.  So when a crisp, clean baseball from 1927 containing Ruth’s signature went to the auction block in 2012, bidders battled over it until the amount reached $388,375. The memorabilia was once owned by Red Sox batter Ted Williams.

#3 John Lennon’s Murderer Signed LP: $525,000


On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot four times in the back by Mark Chapman. Five hours earlier, Chapman approached the singer as he was leaving home and asked Lennon to sign Chapman’s copy of Lennon’s Double Fantasy LP. The signed album soon became evidence during the murder trial, where Chapman was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

#2 Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: $3.7 Million


President Abraham Lincoln signed a total of 48 copies of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1864. Out of these, only 26 are known to have survived. Most of them are displayed in museums and universities while others were kept by private citizens and politicians. In 2010, one of the copies surfaced in an auction and was sold for $3.7 million, the highest amount ever paid for a document bearing Lincoln’s signature.

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#1 George Washington’s Acts of Congress: $9.8 Million


One of the most valuable pieces of literature in American history, Acts of Congress was George Washington’s personal copy of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the First Congress. The first page contains Washington’s signature. In 2012, Sotheby put the book on the auction block and bidder Ann Bookout immediately dropped $9.8 million to secure the book. The auction was over in five minutes. Bookout, who serves as a Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association Regent of the Board, place the book in the president’s library where it belongs.

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Category: Financial News, Money & Entertainment


  • Kristine says:

    Awesome read! I never thought that autographs can be worth so much. I am happy that the Acts of Congress signed by George Washington finally found its home. If it was me, I would probably do the same, bid for the book and place it in the library along with other Washington memorabilia.

  • Than says:

    The picture used for the copy of Double Fantasy was not the one signed for Chapman. I saw that one at an exhibition not to long ago (I’ll never forget that moment as long as I live). It was signed in a blue pen, barely visible, and it was not addressed to anyone. It also had WJT-2 written on it in a black marker over his autograph (I am not sure what it means).

  • Reb Bacchus says:

    I remember hearing once the most valuable autograph belong to a man whose only copy is on the Declaration of Independence. I have no idea if it’s true, but it’s a great story.

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