People sign their names more often than they think, on rent checks, restaurant receipts, and even on the occasional birthday card. But when they sign their names, no one is running to pay thousands, if not millions, of dollars for the piece of paper and ink.
That value is dedicated to famous actors, athletes, politicians, and even authors such as William Shakespeare, whose John Hancock is worth up to $5 million. Keep reading; the value of some of these famous signatures are amazing.
Neil Armstrong: $11,000
Along with Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong set off on a mission that had, in the past, failed to get a lunar module to land on the surface of the moon. Then, on July 20, 1969, Armstrong made history, becoming the first person to step foot on the moon.
Being such a huge contributor to scientific exploration, Armstrong’s signature is anything but cheap. A mint-condition autograph can go for around $11,000.
The Rolling Stones: $10,200
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts made up most of the original “bad boys of rock and roll,” The Rolling Stones. Performing onstage since the ’60s, this British Invasion band has earned more than one award, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for their contributions to music.
If a person is lucky enough to have something signed by each of these five rockers, then they’re in for a treat. This band’s autographs are worth around $10,200.
Jimi Hendrix: $200,000
In 1965, guitar legend Jimi Hendrix signed a recording contract, offering him a measly one percent royalty off all his songs. Then, now, or whenever, that is one horrible deal. Little did Hendrix know that his contract would be worth quite a lot of money later down the road.
In 2009, Hendrix’s signed contract sold at auction for $200,000. Not too bad for someone the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credits as being “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.”
The Queen of Pop, Madonna, has been releasing music since 1983, with her debut album Madonna. Having a steady career throughout the decades and releasing single and hit single, she’s become one of the biggest and most influential figures in pop culture.
As such, the pop star’s John Hancock is anything but worthless. When the “Material Girl” singer puts pen to paper or, as this picture would have it, a marker to some skin, the recipient is walking away with a signature worth around $1,200.
Babe Ruth: $388,375
If The Sandlot taught pop culture anything, it’s that you don’t mess with anything, especially a baseball, signed by The Great Bambino, Babe Ruth. Even so, as a prolific baseball player, Ruth signed dozens of baseballs, hats, and paper during his time playing for the Yankees, Red Sox, and Braves.
Interestingly, that’s not stopping people from purchasing Ruth’s signature at auction for a steep price. One pristine baseball that was signed right out of its box sold for $388,375!
Joe DiMaggio & Marilyn Monroe: $191,200
In the 1950s, there was no bigger couple than actress Marilyn Monroe and baseball player Joe DiMaggio. They were pretty much the “it” couple. Even though the two were only married for nine months, they were the center of more than one person’s fascination.
Honestly, people are still intrigued by the blonde bombshell and the ball player’s relationship today. As such, their combined signatures are worth quite a bit of money. At an auction in 2006, a signed baseball by both Monroe and DiMaggio $191,200.
Bruce Lee: $15,500
Enter the Dragon star Bruce Lee is arguably one of the most popular martial artists in cinema history, having appeared in popular films such as Way of the Dragon and Fist of Fury.
If a person is lucky enough to have an autograph by this famed martial artist, then they’re in for a treat. Lee’s signature is worth around $15,500 today, having gone up 11 percent in value since 2000.
Abraham Lincoln: $3.7 Million
Former President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. He signed 48 copies of that document, of which only 26 are known to be around today. That means Honest Abe’s signature is not only rare but extremely valuable as well.
In 1991, a signed copy of the document sold for $750,000. Then, in 2012, the value of the signed document went up, selling for $2 million. Finally, in 2010, the document was sold at an all-time high of $3.7 million.
James Dean: $23,320
One of the biggest heartthrobs to come out of Hollywood’s Golden Age was none other than James Dean. Known for being a literal Rebel Without a Cause icon for teenagers, Dean remains a cultural icon to this day, inspiring the newer and younger generations.
And so, the actor’s John Hancock is nothing short of a prized possession. A mint condition autograph by the East of Eden star can go for around $23,320.
William Shakespeare: $5 Million
During his time, English playwright William Shakespeare wrote somewhere around 154 sonnets, 39 plays, two long narrative poems, and some works where he’s not even credited. All of which have been translated into every major language.
Of his work, only six known documents are bearing the Romeo and Juliet author’s signature. Because his signature is so incredibly rare, a true-to-blue Shakespeare autograph can be sold for around $5 million at auction.
Bob Dylan: $1,275
For over 50 years, Bob Dylan has been a driving force in pop culture, releasing hit songs such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changing.” Such songs resonated with the young people of his generation, becoming anthems during the anti-war and civil rights movements.
As one of the most popular artists to come out of the ’60s, Dylan’s autographs are worth more than a pretty penny. A signature from the “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” singer is worth $1,275.
Paul McCartney: $3,800
Founder of The Beatles and rock legend Paul McCartney has been releasing music since the ’60s, becoming one of the most successful performers and composers of all-time in the process. Even after The Beatles disbanded, McCartney found success in a solo career, releasing singles such as “Live and Let Die” and “Silly Love Songs.”
As of 2020, this unstoppable rockstar is still touring, making music, and signing autographs that can be sold for up to $3,800.
Tiger Woods: $2,625
Tiger Woods stepped onto the professional golf scene in 1996. Since then, he’s become a top player and common contender at some of the world’s most prestigious golfing tournaments and competitions.
Even though he is one of the most well-known modern-day golfers, Woods doesn’t typically take the time to sign autographs. Because of that, his John Hancock is worth a solid amount of money. Around $2,625, to put a number on it!
The Beatles: $41,000
The Beatles turned the world of music upside down in the 1960s. Today, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney are thought to be some of the most influential musicians in history, having sold over 600 million albums worldwide.
Considering their music is still relevant today, it might come as little surprise to learn the band’s autograph fetches for a hefty price. With all four signatures, an autograph from The Beatles is valued at around $41,000.
Jesse James: $52,000
Leader of the James–Younger Gang, Jesse James was an American outlaw who wreaked havoc up and down the eastern seaboard. Known for robbing trains, banks, and his guerilla-style of attacking, James didn’t exactly stop to sign autographs for his adoring fans.
That’s why his extremely rare signature is worth so much money today. A person lucky enough to have “Robin Hood’s” autograph is in for a very nice payday. James’ signature is worth around $52,000.
Margaret Thatcher: $31,000
From 1979 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher, aka The Iron Lady, served as the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister. Cemented in history as being the first female Prime Minister, Thatcher was known for her stern leadership and a particular form of conservative politics referred to as Thatcherism.
Because of her place in history, Thatcher’s personal items sell for a high price at auction. A handwritten notebook filled with her thoughts on feminism, for example, sold for $31,000.
George Washington: $9.8 Million
The first president of the United States of America, George Washington, has one of the most expensive signatures. And it makes sense since he signed some of the most important documents in the history of the country, including the Bill of Rights, First Congress, and the Constitution.
At auction in 2012, Washington’s personal documents, containing his signature, were sold for a whopping $9.8 million. Considering how historically relevant the paperwork is, their price is only going to go up.
David Bowie: $63,000
Say what you will about David Bowie’s style, but that doesn’t sway the fact that he was one of the most influential musicians to come out of the 20th century. During his career, Bowie sold over 100 million albums, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Because of his fame and influence, the Ziggy Stardust rock legend’s memorabilia doesn’t sell for cheap. In fact, signed handwritten lyrics of “The Jean Genie” sold at auction for $63,000!
Jimmy Page: $73,000
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is credited with changing the way people heard the guitar riff, bringing the concept to an entirely new, blues-inspired level. Rolling Stone has even ranked him as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, right behind Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. A huge honor.
Because of his contribution to music, Page’s signature goes for a pretty penny. One item signed by the guitarist sold for $73,000.
John Lennon: $525,000
Breaking off from The Beatles, musician John Lennon became famous in his own right. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Lennon wrote and released dozens of songs, including the popular single “Imagine.”
The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s influence and contributions to music has made his signature quite valuable. In 2005, a signed Double Fantasy record by Lennon sold at auction for a staggeringly high price of $525,000. Today, the signed record is said to be worth more.