Many years ago I collected autographs, I would have been about seven years old. I probably kept my autograph book until I was maybe eleven. I was not a particularly good collector. Apart from members of my family and the usual joker that wrote ‘by hook or by crook I’ll be last in this book’ I had two celebrity signatures; Leslie Crowther and Tony Blackburn. Later in life I was lucky enough to get the autograph of one of my childhood heroes, Gerry Anderson.
So why am I telling you all this? I haven’t just learnt it have I? Well no that is just background for the useless factoid that I learnt today whilst browsing through Record Collector Magazine. The autographs of the four Beatles are all quite different values Ringo Starr‘s is £850, Paul McCartney‘s is £1,500, George Harrison‘s is £2,250 and John Lennon’s is £5,950. That is quite interesting in itself but what struck me is that Adolf Hitler’s autograph is worth more than each of the Beatles and can go for up to £6,950.Incidentally the last autograph Lennon gave was probably to his murderer Mark Chapman. He had signed Chapman’s copy of the Double Fantasy album. That copy was sold for $525,000 recently.
This got me thinking about what was the most expensive autograph in the world. It would appear that William Shakespeare’s scribble takes that crown. apparently there are only six authenticated Shakespeare signatures in the world and buying one of those would set you back around £2.5 million. It also seems to be widely recognised that the Bard’s signature and his handwriting generally was quite scruffy. see his signature below and let me know what you think.