If you look back over the history of man’s time on this planet you will find that he has always had hobbies. Even when humans lived in caves, archaeologists have discovered that there were ways that men and women spent your time that was unrelated to finding food or shelter.
Through the millennia man has developed his taste for collecting things to include just about anything. Today, if you go around the world today you will find collectors of the widest variety of articles. One of the most popular things to collect today are autographs of famous people. This hobby is so popular in fact, that there is a thriving industry for autographed collectables that generates billions of dollars every year. Autograph appraisals are used to determine the value of a particular autograph and there are experts who can both recognize and give a price for a particular autograph.
Appraising an autograph
There are several steps required when appraising the value of a famous person’s autograph. The first and most challenging part of appraising an autograph is verifying the authenticity of the autograph. Often a famous person will sign his or her name differently throughout their career and even over a short period of time so it is not as simple as comparing the autograph against the famous person’s known signature.
In the end the appraiser must determine with complete certainty that the signature on the collectible is in fact that of the famous person. There are certain ways that an appraiser will seek to confirm the autograph’s validity:
Look for Past Authentications: Does the owner of the autograph have previous verification that the autograph and the memorabilia is authentic? Often autographs and memorabilia is authenticated by an expert and that experts name is included with the memorabilia and the signature. This allows the appraiser to look up the memorabilia and verify its validity.
Find Corroborating Data: An appraiser will often look for additional corroborating information that proves the autograph is authentic. Were there any pictures of the famous using this piece of memorabilia? Are there pictures of the famous person signing this particular piece of memorabilia? Was this particular piece of memorabilia mentioned by the famous person in any independent literature? Additional corroborating data helps an appraiser to authenticate an autograph.
Compare prices of similar memorabilia: Typically there will be other memorabilia that is similar to the memorabilia being priced, and an appraiser can you use the sales price of this similar memorabilia to set the price for any comparable memorabilia.
In the event there is no comparable memorabilia, the appraiser will look at a similar famous people and what their memorabilia selling prices are, in order to determine pricing. In the end, if there are no comparables, it is all guesswork, and one appraiser might determine a different value from another.