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

What is the most expensive autograph in the world? Or rather the most expensive autographs, as George Washington’s signatures on his personal copy of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the First Congress are priced collectively at $9.8 million and known as, George Washington’s Acts of Congress. This is followed by another U.S. president’s signature, that of Lincoln for the Emancipation Proclamation. Here’s our updated list of the most expensive autographs in 2018:

  1. George Washington’s Acts of Congress: $9.8 Million
  2. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: $3.7 Million
  3. John Lennon’s Murderer Signed LP: $525,000
  4. Babe Ruth’s Baseball: $388,375
  5. Jimi Hendrix’s Contract: $200,000
  6. Joe DiMaggio & Marilyn Monroe’s Baseball: $191,200
  7. Albert Einstein’s Photo: $75,000
  8. Jimmy Page’s Guitar: $73,000
  9. Jesse James’s Photo: $52,000
  10. John F. Kennedy’s Newspaper: $39,000

Many crazed fans and followers of celebrities crave to get their autograph at all costs. In addition to satisfying your thirst, autographs of famous stars can also be valuable. You can store them in a safe place and sell them later when the value increases. Ranker.com has a list of the most valuable autographs of celebrities. This list includes superstars such as Pele whose autograph is worth $1,125, Madonna ($1,200), Bob Dylan ($1,275), and JK Rowling ($1,875). Topping this list is the autograph of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, whose autograph is worth $7,500.

Autographs are also a good investment opportunity. The value of these items is sure to rise in the future and therefore it is a sound decision to invest in rare autographs. eBay.com offers autographs of celebrities and famous figures in various fields such as politics, movies, sports etc. for sale. You can do some research and then invest in a rare autograph that stands a good chance of increasing in value in the future, thereby enabling you to make a good profit from your investment.

In this article, we provide the list of top 10 most expensive autographs in 2018 that you can peruse to learn about the rare signatures that command the most value today.

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

November 22, 1963 has gone down in history as one of the most ill-fated days because John F. Kennedy the 35th president of the US was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald on this day. Before his death, Kennedy signed a copy of the Dallas Morning News daily for a young woman. This last autograph fetches a good amount today.

Joseph Maddalena who starred in ‘Hollywood Treasure’ bought this newspaper copy with Kennedy’s last autograph for a bargain price of $39k. He admitted that he was willing to pay much more for this prized treasure. To keep it safe, he insured his valuable investment for half a million dollars.

#9 Jesse James’s Photo: $52,000

Jesse James was a notorious outlaw in the US in the 19th century. He earned a reputation as a Robin Hood who robbed the rich and gave to the poor. His gang of bandits wreaked havoc from 1866 to 1876 executing a series of robberies around the country. The Governor of Missouri decreed that James should be apprehended or killed. Following his order, an officer named Robert Ford shot him dead. James. being an outlaw, seldom signed anything. Therefore, his autographed photograph is worth a small fortune today.

There is another Jesse James signature which is believed to be on a letter he wrote. However, the authenticity of this autograph is in doubt so it is of no value. James’s signed photograph has been proved to authentic and it went to his granddaughter Ethel Rose James. When it was auctioned, it rose steeply from its reserve price of $20k and was finally sold for $52k.

#8 Jimmy Page’s Guitar: $73,000

Autographs of rock stars command a premium among crazed fans. And rock stars don’t come any bigger than Jimmy Page who was the guitarist of the seminal classic rock band Led Zeppelin, famous for such hits as “Stairway to Heaven”. Page signed a 1963 Gibson EDS-1275 guitar and this item naturally created a flutter because it has been authenticated as a genuine autograph. What’s more this guitar is functional and playable which increases its value.

To be sure, there are many guitars believed to be signed by Jimmy Page but most of them have not been authenticated as it is easy to copy this rock star’s signature. These items fetch from $1,000 to $5,000 in auctions. The authenticated guitar autograph is naturally worth much more and an ardent fan shelled out $73k for it to fulfill his love for the rock god’s musical talent.

#7 Albert Einstein’s Photo: $75,000

Albert Einstein was involved in the serious business of scientific research, but he had a playful side to him. He mischievously stuck out his tongue in a photograph taken on his 72nd birthday by a press photographer named Arthur Sasse. The event took place at Princeton University in March 1951. Einstein took many copies of this image but signed just one or two.

However, forgers imitated his signature and created many counterfeit copies of this iconic photograph. Experts proved that all of them were fake but in 2009 an authentic copy of the photo came up for sale. It was also validated by Einstein’s living family members. This genuine version went for $75k under the hammer.

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

New York Yankees baseball star Joe DiMaggio and his wife, Hollywood bombshell Marilyn Monroe, were one of the most famous celebrity couples in US history. Therefore, when they both signed a baseball its value rocketed to astronomical heights. The occasion was a 1961 Yankees’ training session in Florida.

The famous autographed baseball is the only item signed together by the star couple. When it went up for sale in 2006, an anonymous collector was willing to shell out $191,200 to add it to his collection.

#5 Jimi Hendrix’s Contract: $200,000

Jimi Hendrix was the epitome of the free-lovin’, hedonistic, flower power lifestyle of the 1960s. His wild drinkin’ and druggin’ days however took its toll and the guitar god perished at the lamentably young age of 27 in 1970. Before his death, in 1965, he signed a contract in which he agreed to sell his rights for a paltry 1% royalty.

Paradoxically, this signed contract is today worth a small fortune. Hendrix’s music too continues to top the charts long after his death. For this reason, the contract fetched a handsome sum of $200k when it was auctioned in 2009. The guitar genius never got to see the riches earned by his incredible musical talent.

#4 Babe Ruth’s Baseball: $388,375

Babe Ruth was famed as the ‘Sultan of Swat’ during his record-breaking baseball career which stretched from 1914 to 1935. He signed many baseballs during his lifetime and one of them went for more than $250k in 2014. This is not surprising considering the fan following of the baseball superstar.

However, the Babe Ruth collectible that takes the cake is a brand new baseball ball signed by the legend that went up for sale in 2012. It fetched a handsome amount of $388,375 during an auction which makes it one of the most expensive baseballs ever sold in history.

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

December 8, 1980 is a black letter day in music history. On this day, Beatles star John Lennon met an untimely death at the hands of a murderer named Mark David Chapman. Earlier in the day, Chapman had got Lennon’s autograph on a copy of his recently released ‘Double Fantasy’ album. He returned a few hours later and fired five deadly shots at the music superstar sending him to his grave at the relatively young age of 40.

David Mark Chapman did not flee after carrying out his bloody act. He sat calmly reading JD Salinger’s iconic book ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ and waited for the police. Lennon’s autographed album was worth $525k in 2003 and its value is much higher today.

#2 Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: $3.7 Million

In 1864, a year before his death, President Abraham Lincoln signed 48 copies of the Emancipation Proclamation which ended slavery in the US. Twenty six copies of this historic document survive today and they are displayed in universities and museums, with a few in private hands.

In 1991, a copy of this document sold for $750k. In 2012, another one was bought by billionaire David Rubenstein for $2 million. But the record goes to a copy once owned by Bobby Kennedy that was put up for sale in 2010. An anonymous collector shelled out an astonishing $3.7 million for it which created a new record for the most expensive autograph at that time.

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

The first place in this list of most expensive autographs belongs to George Washington’s personal copy of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the First Congress. He signed the first page of this book which was put up for auction at Sotheby’s in 2012.

The collectible was immediately purchased by Ann Bookout, a board member of the Vernon Ladies Association which is a non-profit organization that manages Washington’s Virginia Estate. The association paid a whopping sum of $9.8 million for this rare piece of memorabilia. After purchase, they placed the book in its rightful location at the Washington Presidential Library in the White House.

Category: Financial News

3 Comments »

  • 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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