Attics up and down the country are awash with artificial insulation, not the wool like substance governments give grants for but with bygones and ephemera, postcards, letters and objects not used today but of possible high demand and value.
Autographs fall into this category and it is not as far fetched as you would think for any array of gems to turn up in rural Lincolnshire.
The ABC Cinema in Lincoln, now the home of The Waterside Centre for one, can be thanked for bringing a fair share of talent here from The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix and Cat Stevens (the latter two on the same bill) and it is not unknown for highly prized autographs to have been gotten and discarded in the many lofts of Lincolnshire.
Laurel and Hardy autographs are again sought after and again strangely enough in plentiful supply in this area as they visited Grimsby on tour and were often seen and stopped driving around in a large American car in the town. The signed photograph shown reached £360 at Lincoln in 2011, this was a good price then but one which has sky rocketed since due to the signatures and the image - a good black and white photograph with two desirable names.
Some autographs sell on their own; The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix are stand out names in music. Figures in entertainment are popular with the superstar names bringing superstar prices, in politics Sir Winston Churchill memorabilia and signatures have increased better than almost any similar investment and basic autographs sell well into four figures now.
There are some more unusual quirky names that are very popular. Harry Houdini has a vibrant following, notorious figures from 19th century hangmen to gangsters have a cult and expensive fanbase and classical letters from monarchs to composers change hands for vast sums.
There is a massive range for collectors of autographs making it a good interesting area to collect and a lucrative one for vendors as many autographs turn up unannounced and unknown in lofts and behind drawers.
The advice is to make sure anything you purchase is genuine. Open fake and autopen signatures are common especially for more recent stars who sign items for money in large quantity and there are semi-fakes around take The Beatles where groupies or other band members signed different names, Ringo often signed Lennon’s name and so on.
It must be remembered items were signed in a hurry. If a uniform set of autographs appears in straight lines neatly written on a Please Please Me album, the chances are they may be fake. It is therefore is crucial to use a saleroom like Golding Young to authenticate items and if things seem to good to be true they usually are.
Letters personalised at first glance appear less interesting, but if say Winston Churchill has written a note Dear John as opposed to Dear Sir it means it is a personal letter, not printed and will hold more interest to collectors. Many printed letters from Churchill with printed signatures giving a general thank you for a gift for example are common and much less interesting.
Autographs are a great, varied and interesting field to start collecting in. It is a discipline which turns up many examples of note and value in the strangest of locations. The best advice is to contact Golding Young for a market appraisal or advice.