What Is Donald Trump's Autograph Worth?

on Donnerstag, 08 Dezember 2016. Posted in General Autograph News

by Nathan Raab

All you throngs of autograph seekers, you hopeful masses of autograph sellers, those of you putting together autograph collections of the presidents, and yet others who visited a bookstore and got President-elect Trump to sign a book, all now visiting the same oracle.  What is an autograph of President-elect Trump worth?
Let me answer you simply by saying this: it’s complicated. So here are some things to consider:

1) It’s worth more today than a month ago.  This is simply a reflection of the fact that he has joined an elite club. He will become the next President of the United States.  There is no group of historical figures whose signed documents are more sought-after, none whose signatures collectively carry as much cache.

2) Not all documents are created equal.  If you have a signed book, hat, or Playboy Magazine cover, join the crowd.  Setting aside the complicated nature of authenticating any autograph, let alone his scribble, without any real context, these are just voluminous in quantity to probably have any real value.

article Trump_autograph_worth

Donald Trump signs autographs during a campaign rally July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)

3) His signature is a scribble. The more of a scribble, the easier it is to forge.   This is because an illegible signature permits more mistakes by the forger, mistakes that are not readily visible by a reader who could not actually read the letters of the real thing.

4) Has he signed anything important?  Surely.  Though I suppose up until now you are likely to find his signature (in a non-souvenir capacity) more likely to appear on a signed check, business letter or contract.  George Washington signed letters before his Presidency are from the battlefields of the Revolutionary War; Thomas Jefferson wrote as Governor of Virginia and Ambassador to France; even Barack Obama was a Senator from Illinois.  Trump has no comparable in the sphere of government.

5) He already allegedly uses an autopen.  Materials signed now on his site, news reports state, were likely signed by an autopen machine, which is often used by major figures, especially politicians.  This adds an extra element of uncertainty into an already uncertain environment.  I suppose that means that Trump, however, is already in the autograph business.

6) What is there out there right now?  Mostly things that fall into bullet point 2 above: signed hats, magazine covers, baseballs, golf balls, etc… There are a few legal documents but prices are all over the place.  You can pick up a purportedly signed, relatively routine (aka not important) letter of Trump in the $7,000-$10,000 range and you can get signed magazine covers for a few hundred to a few thousand.   These are asking prices; not sales prices.  So why the spread?  There is simply not enough out there, and what is out there tends to be at the lower end of the quality spectrum.

So back to the original question.  What is Donald Trump’s autograph worth?   First answer this: what is a Donald Trump autograph?  A study will need to be done, and no such study to my knowledge exists yet, on the real autograph, as opposed to the autopen or forgery.  Does he use often secretaries to sign his name for him?

You are still left with the same answer: it is simply too soon to tell.

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