How to Value Autographs

Do you want to know the worth of that old autograph you have had for years? Are you seeking valuation for a collection you inherited?


For some, collecting autographs can be an exciting way to feel closer to a celebrity, attain a personal memento of somebody you admire, or perhaps just to collect memorabilia. It can be a symbol of an encounter with a revered idol, or a tangible representation of fame and glory. While functionally, an autograph is simply a signature on a piece of paper or other object such as a ball, or t-shirt, you might be surprised how much such an item can actually be worth.

Learn about your item

As with any collector’s item, partaking in the quest for valuation can be a path with many twists, turns, and different outcomes, so it is of utmost importance to do proper research and be realistic in your search for information. There are a number of measures one ought to take in order to attain an accurate estimate of your autograph, and the very first, or perhaps most obvious step to take would be to determine who signed the autograph. If you did not obtain the item from the signer themself, the person who sold it to you should know this information. Otherwise, there are a number of guidelines and indexes with records of the signatures of famous figures to compare with.

"It can be a symbol of an encounter with a revered idol, or a tangible representation of fame and glory. "

What is the most sought after?

Unsurprisingly, supply and demand are the most driving factors in establishing what your item is worth. Collectors tend to go for autographs from people with icon status. These are those people whose fame and relevance transcends current trends across all genres. examples of such figures are George Washington, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Babe Ruth, Mozart, Charles Dickens, and many more. These all fall under the relatively small group of people whose memories enjoy a legendary, iconic status, and whose names are known in almost every household across the world. Thus it goes without saying that autographs bearing these signatures will go for the most, almost up to thousands of pounds.

What is the format?

An autograph can take a number of forms, whether it is simply on a piece of paper, or a different kind of item. Has it been cut out from a larger document, or is it on an autograph album card? If so, it will be worth the least compared to other formats. The next most valuable would be an autograph on a complete document, such as legal contact or agreement, or a check. After this is a typed letter with a signature, and then a signed photograph. The most valuable format is a handwritten letter with a signature. However there can be exceptions to these rules depending on the content and context of the item, which will also greatly affect value. A letter or document regarding what the figure is most known for, such as a letter from Einstein regarding his scientific theories, or James Dean’s acting contract, will be worth a great deal more than something more mundane like a signed check.

Condition and Authenticity

Observing the condition of the autograph is also crucial in determining the value of your autograph. Water damage, rips, tears, and fading are all factors that will significantly hinder an item’s worth if present.

Determining whether the autograph is authentic or not is also crucial. Of course the easiest way to know this is if you saw the person sign your autograph yourself, however sometimes this is not the case. You have the option of either relying on the trustworthiness of the seller you bought it from, or you may have it professionally authenticated.


It goes without saying that navigating the world of autographs and their value can be tricky, as there are so many different nuances to take into consideration and factors at play. One would have to dedicate a significant amount of effort, time, and research in order to accurately estimate the value of a single item, and even then there is always the chance of making an error that could result in over or underestimation. That is why perhaps the most important, and thankfully easiest step to take is seeking professional valuation. Here at Value My Stuff there are a number of professionals and experts in the field that offer appraisal and valuation services for your items, so you can have your autographs properly valued today!

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