We sign our names all the time – on credit card receipts, contracts, and notes to our loved ones. However, when these 30 people sign their names, they’re worth a lot more. These famous signatures are worth thousands to millions of dollars. Actors, politicians, athletes, and musicians make up the list of the most valuable and coveted autographs of all time. From rock legends to historical figures, we’re counting down the most expensive signatures ever inked. You’ll be surprised to learn just how much an autograph can be worth. Read on to find out whose signature is worth the most.
Selling price: $1,125
Retired Brazilian soccer star Pele, whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is still considered to be the greatest player of all time. Today, Pele is 78 years old and still as revered as ever. Thanks to his legendary status in his sport, a signed photo of Pele can sell for $1,125.
Though he is a national hero in his native Brazil now, Pele actually grew up in poverty. He first honed his soccer skills using a sock stuffed with rags as a ball. He played in his first World Cup in 1958 and retired from the sport in 1977.
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Selling price: $1,200
Is it any wonder that when the “material girl” signs her name it’s worth big bucks? Madonna burst onto the pop music scene in 1983 and has been one of the biggest stars in the world ever since. A genuine signed photo of Madonna sells for $1,200, and that’s not a “bedtime story.”
In 2019, Madonna released a new album titled Madame X. She shared with iHeart Radio that though her private life has changed dramatically over the years, she’s still a wild child at heart. She says that though she’s now a soccer mom by day, “Nothing has changed — I’m still in trouble.”
NEXT: This Nobel Prize-winning songwriter’s autograph is worth a surprising amount.
28. Bob Dylan
Selling price: $1,275
Minnesota-born folk singer Bob Dylan came from humble beginnings. Even so, he’s had one of the most enviable careers in music. His songs struck a chord with his generation, leading to an immeasurable influence on music ever since. If his unique voice isn’t your cup of tea, countless other singers have performed his songs. So naturally, an autograph from Bob Dylan can sell for about $1,275.
In 2019, Netflix released the documentary Rolling Thunder Revue. Directed by Martin Scorcese, the documentary chronicles Dylan’s 1975 tour. The documentary provides a tantalizing mix of fact, fiction, and Dylan’s own timeless tunes. While it might not all be strictly true, it’s still fun to watch.
NEXT: If you want to buy this signature, the price will sting like a bee.
27. Muhammad Ali
Selling price: $1,425
World championship-winning (three times) boxer Muhammad Ali is still considered one of the greatest heavyweight fighters of all time. Thanks to his larger-than-life persona and incredible athletic success, an autograph from Muhammad Ali can be worth about $1,425.
According to Ranker, items signed with Ali’s birth name Cassius Clay are worth even more. A letter written in 1960 that reads, “I am here at Fort Dix getting ready for Rome, I am in the best of shape… still hitting hard.” sold for $17,925. Cassius Clay autographs are far rarer than Muhammad Ali signings, so the price for those items can really skyrocket.
NEXT: This wizarding world signature will cost you more than a couple galleons, knuts, and sickles.
26. JK Rowling
Selling price: $2,250
The Harry Potter books, movies, video games, and theme parks continue to delight magic fans all around the world. Harry Potter’s creator JK Rowling really started a global sensation when she sat down to write about the adventures of a young wizard named Harry. A signed copy of one of her books can sell for around $2,250.
Not all Harry Potter fans are happy with the way Rowling has treated the series’ legacy. In recent years, Rowling has made a habit of tweeting new information about her creations that was not included in the books. Some of her most controversial additions include revelations about Dumbledore’s sexuality.
NEXT: You’ll be surprised how much this royal autograph is worth.
25. Queen Elizabeth II
Selling price: $2,250
At 93 years of age, Queen Elizabeth II continues her reign as England’s longest-ruling monarch. Elizabeth II was coronated in 1953, and she is only the sixth woman to rule as queen of England. Getting your hands on the Queen’s autograph can be much trickier than most. She rarely gives out autographs, so most of her signatures are on personal cards that are not often sold.
Before she became queen, Elizabeth served her country in World War II; she was a truck driver and mechanic in 1945. Today, she is the only world leader to have participated in the war, according to Mental Floss.
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24. Tiger Woods
Selling price: $2,625
In 1996, Tiger Woods came on to the professional golf scene and has been among the sport’s top players ever since. At 43 years old, Woods’ net worth is estimated at $800 million. Woods doesn’t often give autographs, so a signature from this golfing great can cost you around $2,625. Despite recent scandals involving infidelity, Tiger has stayed at the top of the game and his fans remain devoted to him.
Tiger’s wealth doesn’t just come from playing golf. He also earns a considerable amount of money from endorsement deals. For example, when he was just 20 years old, Woods signed a deal with Nike worth $40 million.
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23. Paul McCartney
Selling price: $3,800
As a founding member and one of the leading songwriters in The Beatles, Paul McCartney’s work shaped the development of pop music and rock and roll. Though he is now 77 years old, McCartney still tours and performs for fans around the world. An autograph from this unstoppable rocker goes for about $3,800.
Though he’s known for his songs with The Beatles, Wings, and on his own, McCartney has other creative outlets too. Mental Floss notes that he is also an accomplished painter who has shown 70 paintings in his hometown of Liverpool. He’s also a billionaire, with a net worth estimated at $1.2 billion.
NEXT: This future monarch’s signature is worth more than the reigning Queen’s.
22. Prince William
Selling price: $4,000
37-year-old Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is currently second in line for the throne in England. He’s the oldest child of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and he has a net worth estimated to be somewhere between $25 million and $40 million. Thanks to his position in the royal family, a signature from Prince William can be worth up to $4,000. When he’s King, it’s possible that the value of his autograph could continue to climb.
Royal autograph watchers might want to keep an eye on William’s younger brother Harry too. Harry’s autograph is going up in value since his high profile royal wedding to American actress Meghan Markle.
NEXT: When it comes to this autograph, you’ll need the whole group to get “satisfaction.”
21. The Rolling Stones
Selling price: $10,200
British invasion rockers The Rolling Stones are the original bad boys of rock and roll. When it comes to getting their autographs, the highest prices go to items signed by all the original members of the band. If you’ve got Stones signatures, make sure you have Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts.
The Rolling Stones are still touring today; 75-year-old singer Mick Jagger’s hip-shaking moves continue to put much younger performers to shame. In 2003, Jagger was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in honor of his contributions to music.
NEXT: If you’ve got this British statesman’s autograph, you’ll be amazed how much you can get for it.
20. Winston Churchill
Selling price: $10,300
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill led the U.K. during World War II. He is remembered as a great wartime leader and an endlessly quotable figure. Though he died in 1965, his legacy continues to loom large over British history and the western world at large. An autograph from him can fetch up to $10,300.
Among his most famous quotes, you’ll find gems like this one: “This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
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19. Neil Armstrong
Selling price: $11,000
As the first person to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong holds a special place in the history of humanity. In 1969, Armstrong landed on the moon (alongside Buzz Aldrin), where he took the first step in space. Since his death in 2012, the price of Armstrong’s autograph has risen to $11,000 for a piece in excellent condition.
Armstrong brought back a very expensive souvenir from his trip to the moon. While he was there, he collected samples of the moon’s surface in a bag. The bag of moon dust sold at auction at Sotheby’s in 2017 for $1.8 million. Now there’s a price that’s out of this world.
NEXT: After her life was tragically cut short, the value of her autograph went through the roof.
18. Diana, Princess of Wales
Selling price: $12,000
When a car crash in a Paris tunnel took Princess Diana’s life in 1997, mourners around the world paid their respects to the beloved royal figure. Diana was loved for her charity work and for her stylish and graceful appearance. In the decades since she passed, her autograph has become worth more than five times what the reigning queen’s signature goes for. An autograph from Princess Diana can get up to $12,000.
Princess Diana’s wedding dress remains one of the most famous and most often copied dresses in the world. Though we lost this elegant lady too soon, her style continues to charm us all.
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17. Bruce Lee
Selling price: $15,500
Actor, director, and martial arts master Bruce Lee made a huge impact in his short life. Lee is loved for his movies, which helped to popularize martial arts in America. Additionally, Lee’s philosophy continues to inspire fans and martial artists alike. According to LoveMoney.com, Lee’s autograph is also building value. They report that prices for Lee’s autograph have gone up by 11 percent since 2000.
An autograph from Bruce Lee can sell for up to $15,500. Be on the lookout, however, as his is also one of the most often faked autographs. In particular, fraudulently signed posters for Way of the Dragon appear quite often. These are demonstrably fake, as Lee never signed any of them.
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16. Queen Victoria
Selling price: $20,000
Queen Victoria ruled England from 1837 until 1901, and her reign defined an era. She inherited the throne when she was just 18 years old, and she is remembered for her strict personal code of morality. In recent years, a set of Queen Victoria’s handwritten notes sold at auction for $20,000, according to MoneyPop.
It looks like the notes that were sold were never intended to be public. Among them, there are complaints about her neighbors and other gossip. The notes were written in the last few years of the Queen’s life and they paint an interesting picture of what life was like inside the royal circle at that time.
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15. James Dean
Selling price: $23,320
Did you know you could watch every movie James Dean ever made in less than a day? Though he remains an iconic actor, Dean only appeared in three films: Giant, Rebel Without a Cause, and East of Eden. His rebellious spirit and method-acting ability ensured Dean a lasting legacy, and his autograph price proves his impact.
A signed photo of James Dean can go for as much as $23,320. Though he was only 24 years old when he died in a car crash, James Dean’s image and films continue to inspire new generations.
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14. Margaret Thatcher
Selling price: $31,000
Nicknamed The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher had a reputation as an uncompromising and stern leader. She was the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In England, her particular brand of conservative politics is still referred to as Thatcherism. In particular, Thatcher’s policies favored deregulation and privatization of industries. Though she died in 2013, her legacy continues to affect politics today.
Since she passed away, Thatcher’s personal items have fetched high prices at auction. One particular handwritten notebook of hers sold for $31,000. The notebook contained the first female Prime Minister’s thoughts on feminism, foreign relations, and other matters.
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13. John F. Kennedy
Selling price: $39,000
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed his last autograph. Before getting the convertible where he was infamously shot and killed, JFK signed a copy of the Dallas Morning News for a young woman. Recently, that paper was bought by Joseph Maddalena, who paid $39,000 for it, according to Finances Online.
Apparently, Maddalena believes the price of this autograph could still go up. He has insured the paper with JFK’s last autograph for half a million dollars, more than ten times what he paid for it. Other JFK autographs typically sell for around $2,000, which is still nothing to sneeze at.
NEXT: To get the most bang for your autograph buck, you’ll want to get this whole band’s signatures.
12. The Beatles
Selling price: $41,000
Unless you’re living in the parallel universe imagined in the movie Yesterday, odds are The Beatles have come across your radar more than once or twice. The band has sold over 600 million albums worldwide and their music remains as relevant as ever today. While each member’s autograph has considerable individual value, items that all four Beatles have signed are worth their weight in gold.
A piece of Beatles memorabilia signed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr usually sells for about $41,000. If you think you’ve got all four, make sure to have the item authenticated before you shell out the big bucks. Experts say only about 6% of the Beatles signatures on the market are authentic.
NEXT: This outlaw’s autograph is incredibly rare and extremely costly.
11. Jesse James
Selling price: $52,000
Bank and train robbing outlaw Jesse James didn’t exactly spend his days signing autographs for his fans. He was much more concerned with robbing from the rich to give to the poor and evading the law. That’s why the rare autographs he did sign hold so much value today. A signed photo of Jesse James can be worth about $52,000.
Though Jesse James is known as an outlaw, he didn’t die in a shootout with police. Instead, he was murdered, shot in the back of the head while hanging a picture in his home. He was killed by Bob Ford, a member of his own gang.
NEXT: We’re heading into the top 10 most expensive autographs with this stardust-laden signature.
10. David Bowie
Selling price: $63,000
Musician, actor, and innovative weirdo David Bowie took rock and roll to Mars. His gift for fantastical songwriting and out-of-this-world, androgynous style started a glam rock revolution. He continued to push the limits of rock music until his death from cancer in 2016. Since his death, Bowie’s signature has become even more valuable and treasured.
In a recent auction, handwritten and signed lyrics to Bowie’s 1973 song “The Jean Genie” sold for $63,000. Other Bowie autographs on the starman’s memorabilia tend to sell for around $3,500, though we expect that amount could go up.
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9. Jimmy Page
Selling price: $73,000
Legendary guitarist Jimmy Page took the guitar solo to a whole new level. With his work in Led Zeppelin, Page made blues-inspired riffs rock harder than ever. He freed his guitar to perform solos wildly, over the pounding drum beats. His autograph alone can be worth thousands of dollars, but one particular item signed by Jimmy Page sold for $73,000.
A 1963 Gibson electric guitar signed by Page was recently bought by a fan for $73,000. Without the autograph, it’s estimated that the guitar would be worth $20,000 to $40,000. The fact that Page owned and played the guitar only made it even more valuable.
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8. Albert Einstein
Selling price: $75,000
Albert Einstein’s name is synonymous with off-the-charts intelligence. Among other achievements, Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity, which continues to influence modern physics. However, the great physicist also had a playful side. In a famous 1951 photograph, Einstein stuck out his tongue to surprise the photographer and it’s become a favorite image as it reveals a bit of the scientist’s humanity.
There are many fraudulent, allegedly-autographed copies of this photo, but the real thing can sell at auction for up to $75,000. Albert Einstein died in 1955 of an aneurysm. His brain is being preserved for future study.
NEXT: This double-whammy of a signature is a real home run.
7. Joe DiMaggio & Marilyn Monroe
Selling price: $191,200
Baseball player Joe DiMaggio and blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe were the “it” couple of their time. Though they were only married for nine months, their relationship burned bright. Even after they divorced, the two remained close friends and Joe always held out hope that they would get back together.
In 2006, a baseball signed by both Marilyn and Joe sold at auction for $191,200. It’s the only known item signed by both stars that has ever sold. For decades after Marilyn’s death, Joe continued to send roses to her grave twice a week until he passed away himself.
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6. Jimi Hendrix
Selling price: $200,000
One-of-a-kind autographs tend to fetch some of the highest prices and this one is rather extraordinary. Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix’s signed 1965 record contract turned out to be worth much more as a collector’s item than it may have been to Hendrix. In the contract, Hendrix agrees to sell the rights to his songs for a mere 1 percent royalty fee.
Hendrix’s contract sold in 2009 for $200,000. Hendrix himself died at 27 years old, five years after he signed the terrible deal. Though it’s worth a lot of money now, this guitar hero never got to see the real extent of the riches his talent would one day generate.
NEXT: We’re heading into the top five most valuable autographs with a baseball legend who will blow your mind.
5. Babe Ruth
Selling price: $388,375
Babe Ruth is so much more than a candy bar’s namesake. During his career, the Great Bambino played for the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, and the Atlanta Braves as number three. He still holds the record for the most seasons with over 40 home runs in major league baseball.
Of course, as a star athlete, Babe Ruth signed a lot of autographs. Some of his most valuable autographed items are those that have been kept in pristine condition. One baseball that Ruth signed when it was brand new sold for $388,375 at auction in 2012, making it one of the most expensive baseballs ever sold.
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4. John Lennon
Selling price: $525,000
This autograph is one of a kind for an all too tragic reason. Before former Beatle John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman, Lennon actually autographed a record for his killer. After getting his copy of Double Fantasy signed, Chapman returned a few hours later to Lennon’s block and shot and killed the musical legend.
Chapman’s signed record sold in 2003 for $525,000, and it would likely go for an even higher price today. As for Chapman, he’s still in prison. He was sentenced in 1981 to serve 20 years to life in prison.
NEXT: This former president’s signature is worth millions of dollars.
3. Abraham Lincoln
Selling price: $3.7 million
In 1864, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In this document, Lincoln released millions of people being kept as slaves. Though former slaves didn’t immediately enjoy the same freedoms as their masters, this document remains a civil rights milestone. Lincoln originally signed 48 copies. Of those, only 26 surviving copies are known to exist today.
Signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation have sold for various amounts over the years. One sold in 1991 for $750,000. Then in 2012, a copy was sold for $2 million. However, the most expensive copy yet sold in 2010 for $3.7 million.
NEXT: He’s one of the most studied authors in the world. The price of his autograph will make your jaw drop.
2. William Shakespeare
Selling price: $5 million
Though Shakespeare wrote about 38 plays and hundreds of sonnets, he didn’t leave too many signatures behind. There are only six known surviving documents that bear the bard’s signature. An authentic William Shakespeare signature could make you enough money to retire on today. Shakespeare’s autograph is worth about $5 million.
Though Shakespeare has been dead for over 400 years, his work is still studied and debated today. Some people even believe that Shakespeare may not have been the true author of his plays. While we may never know the whole truth about Shakespeare as an author, his comedies, tragedies, and poems live on.
NEXT: You made it to number one! Are you ready to be shocked by the most expensive autograph?
1. George Washington
Selling price: $9.8 million
When it comes to expensive autographs, our first president George Washington takes the cake. His signature on his personal copy of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the First Congress is the highest valued autograph ever sold. It was sold at auction in 2012 for $9.8 million. Due to the historic nature of this autograph, its value is likely to continue to increase.
The book now sits in the Washington presidential library in the White House. So there you have it, those are the most expensive autographs ever. Remember, if you find something that looks like it’s got a famous signature on it, look out for frauds. Don’t spend your money until you get the autograph authenticated.
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