Autographs: the original ‘selfie’

In a world dominated by visuals and the technology to capture photos anywhere at anytime, the humble autograph has largely been superceded by the ‘selfie’. Why ‘settle’ for a signature when a photograph is easier to share and authenticate – especially when it looks better on your time?

That’s all very well for modern day evidence that you’ve been in the presence of greatness. But the stars of yesteryear won’t be providing any more photo opportunities. The only way to establish a link with them is to track down what they left behind. Original, authenticated autographs can change hands for considerable sums. A Buster Keaton autograph might be had for £380 while good examples of Charlie Chaplin’s fetch over £4,800. Bring the likes of Marilyn Monroe into the discussion and the bar is raised much higher.

These studio promotion photo postcards are normally auto-printed but every now and again you may encounter a hand signed one. The late Sir John Mills personally signed quite a few and they regularly make £150 or more. They’re an inexpensive way to start a collection and you never know when an original might turn up…