What makes an autograph valuable?
There are eight simple questions that determine the overall value of a signed item.
1. Who has signed the item? Obviously, an autograph that is very popular and scarce will hold a high value. John Kennedy will be worth a lot more than Gallagher for example.
2. What was used to sign the item? Ink, Vis and sharpie marker are king. Pencil is almost always of a lesser value.
3. What is the signature on? A signed photo, document or letter is always more valuable than a piece of paper or other odd item. In our opinion, a handwritten letter is usually the most valuable form of an autograph. Why? Besides the obvious name and signature, it may reveal something interesting about the person who wrote it. A signed photo is next and bigger photos are worth more than smaller ones. Cancelled checks are gaining in popularity as they are not likely to be forged.
4. What is the condition of the signature and item? Obviously, any damage to the item or signature will lower its value to some extent. Mint condition will always bring the highest value.
5. How many are there? Obviously, any item that is in scarce supply will have a higher value.
6. Have the forgers ruined the market? Any item that has been 'attacked' by the forgers might also have a reduced value as many collectors who do not know how to recognize authentic material will have purchased many of the forgeries thus reducing the demand.
7. Has the market been destroyed? Some autograph dealers will sell any autograph they can get their hands on and will flood the market with any celebrity that will sign for them. It is sad to see and it seems that all they care about is money and not the hobby. In this case the price for these celebrities drops to almost nothing.
8. Does the celebrity attend autograph shows? If they attend shows on a regular basis their autograph will have a diminished value due to the increased supply and ease of obtainment. There are, of course, other factors but this gives one a basic understanding of how a signed item is valued.