One of the great things about autograph collecting is the number of choices available in terms of themes and niche. While athlete and celebrity autographs are certainly the most popular, political autographs are also highly desirable. Celebrities connect us with movies, TV and other entertainment. However, politicians offer a closer connection with history.
Popularity and value are often two very different and competing characteristics when it comes to lists of this type. Such is the case here. While some autographs in the political spectrum may be more valuable, the ones selected below represent those with the greatest ongoing demand. Most, have also proven to be consistent winners in terms of investment value with the majority, holding or increasing in value in recent years.
As with all autographs, authenticity is paramount. Items purported to be signed by political figures, are in fact, often signed by a secretary or other authorized representative. Items signed in this manner are called "secretarial" signatures. Another common practice used by politicians for signing is the autopen, a machine that replicates the signature of the person for whom it was made. Neither autopen or secretarial autographs are considered to be authentic.
When looking to purchase autographs of political figures, it is highly recommended to concentrate on professionally authenticated items from reputable dealers.
Top 10 Political Autographs
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Long after his tragic assassination in November, 1963, John F. Kennedy remains an extremely popular figure in American politics. The 35th President was the youngest leader of the free world. Kennedy guided the country through a period of civil unrest and global turmoil. He did so with conviction and determination and the country loved him for those characteristics. Authentic John F. Kennedy autographed items have always been incredibly popular and valuable.
Love him or hate him, there is no denying the popularity that President Barack Obama had when he arrived on the national political stage in 2008. With a message of "Hope and Change," Americans who had never felt part of the political system, rallied around the young Senator from Illinois. His triumphant victory in 2008 and subsequent re-election in 2012 cemented his legacy in American politics. The country's first elected African-American President, the value, and demand for his autograph skyrocketed in the initial years in which he held office. Declining popularity in recent years has seen a slight drop in the value of his signed material. However, that is only a temporary setback. Barack Obama autographs will always be in demand.
Ronald Reagan rallied a country out of an economic recession that had severely impacted the American way of life. He helped restore a sense of pride and patriotism that had gone dormant in the hearts and minds of many people. He was instrumental in the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the destruction of the Cold War's most iconic structure, the Berlin Wall. He also has a connection to Hollywood thanks to an early career as an actor. As a result, the popularity and demand for authentic Ronald Reagan autographed material has been very consistent through the years and has grown since he passed away in 2004.
The leader of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Martin Luther King Jr. was an adored and respected political figure. His popularity united the African-American community, giving them hope and a voice. The consequences of his brutal assassination, in April, 1968, reverberated around the country causing civil unrest the likes of which the country had never seen. His message of peace, prosperity, equality and personal accountability made him popular with many Americans including those of none African-American descent. Today, Martin Luther King Jr. autographs are some of the most valuable of all political signed items.
As one of America's Founding Father's, George Washington is one of our country's most popular former presidents. His leadership during the Revolutionary War made him the country's resounding choice to be it's first politically elected leader. The fact that he adorns some of our most common currency is a testament to his long-standing popularity. George Washington autographs are typically found in the form of handwritten letters.
Washington's signature can carry a four-figure value when cut from such documents. However, full letters with subject matter related to the Revolutionary War or his presidency command a much higher premium.
With America torn in two by the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln's leadership helped save the country from utter ruin. His wisdom helped to not only secure a Union victory, but, more importantly, saw the passing of legislation to abolish slavery in the United States. His handling of relations with the South at the end of the war helped to reunite the country. Not surprisingly, autographed Abraham Lincoln items carry a significant premium. His assassination contributed significantly to his authentic autographed items being in shorter supply than other presidential figures from around the same period.
Since his rise as Cuba's Communist leader, Castro has been viewed by some with a twisted romantic mysticism. This is largely attributed to his unlikely rise to power and his even more unlikely toppling of the existing democratic government at the time. Signed items from Castro can be difficult to locate. This is partially due to American-imposed sanctions, embargoes and travel restrictions. Another factor is the relatively closed society in which Cuba operates, with limited access to the outside world for its own citizens. That didn't stop Topps from landing a Fidel Castro autograph that was inserted as a cut signature in 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball. That card was later defaced with lots of anti-Castro messages.
Autographs of Prince William are popular for several reasons. One is the fact that as the son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, he is routinely in the public spotlight. His service to his country and genuine accessibility also contribute to demand for his signature. His marriage to Kate Middleton helped spur a resurgence in popularity for the British monarchy. Royal autographs can difficult to find as they normally don't sign many autographs. Greeting cards and correspondence letters are the best places to find Prince William signatures. The likelihood that Prince William will eventually be crowned King of England has led to a lot of speculation over his autograph.
Vladimir Putin the person might not be popular in much of the world, but his autograph is. Russia's Head of State is also the former head of the KGB. A delicate balancing act of diplomacy has existed between his country and America for the last couple of decades. His recent aggression in the region has sparked concerns over the potential of a new Cold War. Despite his deceptive charisma, or maybe because of it, Putin's signature is one that die-hard political autograph collectors are willing to pay top-dollar for.
The former Princess of Wales died in a traffic accident filled with conspiracy theories that could have come straight out of Hollywood. She was a beloved figure and humanitarian around the globe. Attractive, personable and charitable, her connection with the masses made her an instant celebrity. It'd be fair to say that her popularity surpassed that of the royal family she became a part of. Princess Diana's untimely death created not only a short-term spike in demand for her autograph, but long-term supply issues as well. Princess Diana autographs are considered a solid investment by experts in the field
Related Topics: How To: Autographs