Fans have been collecting autographs for generations. They’re a big part of the collectible culture and the rarest celebrity autographs can be worth a fortune.
These are some of the most valuable famous signatures money can buy (that is if you can find a seller willing to part with them).
7. Albert Einstein, $125,000
Everyone knows who Albert Einstein is, right?
However, what many people won’t know is that he had a mischievous side to him. He playfully stuck out his tongue in a photograph taken on his 72nd birthday by photographer Arthur Sasse. This event took place in March 1951 at Princeton University. And while there are many copies of this image, Einstein signed one or two copies himself.
In 2009, an authentic copy of this signed photograph was sold for $125,000.
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6. Jimi Hendrix, $200,000
Jimi Hendrix is a guitar-playing legend and one of the more unique and famous signatures on this list because it is on a signed 1965 PPX record contract.
This contract is today a collector’s item, and in 2009, it sold for $200,000. In the agreement, Hendrix agrees to sell all the rights to his songs for only a one percent royalty fee.
Hendrix died just at 27 years old, five years after he signed this deal.
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5. Babe Ruth, $338,375
Babe Ruth was known as the Sultan of Swat during his record-shattering baseball career that lasted from 1914 to 1935:
He had signed many baseballs during his career, and one of them sold for $250,000 in 2014. However, this isn’t the only valuable baseball signed by a player that collected a considerable sum of money:
The Babe Ruth collectible which is the most expensive autograph in sports is a brand-new signed baseball that went on sale in 2012. It fetched a whopping sum of $338,375 during an auction in the same year, making it one of the most expensive baseballs ever to be sold in the world.
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4. John Lennon, $525,000
Before the former Beatle star, John Lennon was shot and killed, he signed a record for his killer, Mark David Chapman:
After getting the record of Double Fantasy signed, Chapman came back a couple of hours later to shoot and kill this music icon. He fired five deadly shots at Lennon, which ultimately sent Lennon to his grave at the age of 40.
Lennon’s autographed copy of the Double Fantasy album was estimated to be worth $525,000. Its value is believed to be even higher today.
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3. Abraham Lincoln, $3.7 Million
In 1864, U.S. Present Abraham Lincoln signed 48 copies of the Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery in the country. Unfortunately, this happened just one year before his death.
There are only 26 copies of this historical document that survive today, and these are displayed in museums and universities around the country, with a couple being owned by private collectors.
In 1991, a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation was sold for $750,000. In 2012, billionaire David Rubenstein shelled out $2 million to purchase another signed copy:
However, the record of the most expensive autograph of Abraham Lincoln sold to date was established in 2010 when an anonymous collector paid $3.7 million to buy the signed copy of the previously owned document by Bobby Kennedy.
This sale created a new record for the most expensive autograph sold at that time.
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2. William Shakespeare, $5 Million
William Shakespeare is famous for his 38 plays and hundreds of sonnets. However, this playwright, poet, and actor did not leave too many signatures behind. In fact, there are only six known surviving documents that have the bard’s signature. A document carrying Shakespeare’s autograph is worth over $5 million.
Even though Shakespeare has been dead for over 400 years now, his work is still widely studied and debated today. So finding an authentic William Shakespeare signature could bring you a lot of money.
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1. George Washington, $9.8 Million
One of the most expensive autographs in the world belongs to the first president of the United States, George Washington:
His signature, on his own copy of the Constitution, the First Congress, and the Bill of Rights is the most valuable autograph ever to be sold. The autograph sold for $9.8 million at an auction in 2012. It was purchased immediately by Ann Bookout, a board member of the Vernon Ladies Association, a non-profit organization that is in charge of managing Washington’s Virginia Estate.
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This rare famous signature and history-defining piece of memorabilia are placed at the Washington Presidential Library inside the White House. Due to the historic nature of this autograph, the value of this signature is only expected to increase in the years to come.