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5 Tips for Investing in Autographed Celebrity Memorabilia

If you want to get started in investing, you’ll have plenty of options to explore. Some experts claim that real estate is the best possible place to put your money, even with the dip in property values seen during the recession. Others claim that the stock market is where it’s at, and if you are so inclined there are plenty of investment managers who will sing the praises of the various stocks, bonds and money market accounts that are worth your time and financial attention. Some people choose to invest in things that are more tangible, such as gold and silver, while others don’t trust any of it and simply line the bottom of their mattresses with stacks of cash. If you’d like to invest in something that consistently makes money and is also a lot of fun, you might want to turn your attention to collectibles. Here are five tips to help you invest in autographed celebrity memorabilia.

First of all, make sure you have a solid service to prove authentication. Autographs are one of the more obvious investment tools. Basically, the more famous the name that’s signed, the higher its value and the greater its demand. But it’s all for naught if it’s a forgery, and there are plenty of shady dealers out there looking to make a buck on your ignorance. Be prepared to have any autograph you are considering authenticated by a reputed collectible service. And if the seller won’t give you a window of time to prove the piece is the real thing, walk away.

Although fame is one of the key elements that declares value, don’t forget about rarity. In some cases, the more famous celebrities won’t actually fetch as much with autographs, because they’ve signed their name on too many items. This is often the case with modern athletes, who sign balls and uniforms at almost every game they play during the course of the year. They may be the MVP of the league, but one of their autographs won’t fetch nearly as much as that of a major political figure from the 1800s with a rare signature. Know your history, and look for rarer pieces if you want the best return.

At the same time, make sure you learn about the industry. Every year, a company called Paul Fraser Collectibles publishes their list of the forty most traded autographs. You’ll see all of the biggest names in the celebrity collectible universe here, with current value per piece and trends in value over the past several years. The goal here isn’t only to find an autograph that carries a lot of value, but to also find one that is trending in the right direction. If you invest now when the autograph is at its all time high in value just to find that it diminishes every day going forward, you might be disappointed with your final take.

Keep in mind that there are also ways to add to your collection that don’t require spending any money. It will take time and dedication, but many collectors increase their stock by reaching out to celebrities to request an autograph. If you craft a respectable letter and sing their praises, you will most likely be rewarded with a signed piece to drop into your collection. This is a great approach if you want to start small and really have certain celebrities in mind. If you’re a die hard fan of an artist, musician or actor, you can strike while they’re on the way up. If you’ve guessed correctly, you’ll see a huge jump in value as their careers take off.

Finally, don’t forget that autographed collectibles can be found at many other places than just trade shows. One great option is to hunt through yard sales. Use a service like to uncover local sales that are worth pursuing, and then head over with a clear idea of what you’d like to purchase. People who are selling things just to get rid of clutter may not know the true value of a piece, giving you the chance to pick up a new collectible for a fraction of its current asking price.

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