James Dean named as world's most valuable autograph

Whose autograph is more valuable? Princess Diana or John Lennon?

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Hollywood | James Dean

James Dean has been revealed as the star with the most expensive autograph in the world. Researchers examined the price of autographs for every celebrity - whether living or dead - and compiled a top ten of the most valuable.

Dean's incredible fame, his tragically short life (which ended at the age of 24), and the fact that there are so few of his autographs in existence means that an autograph of his is worth £18,000.

The memorabilia website, Paul Fraser Collectibles, carried out the survey. It didn't measure the theoretical value of the individual and come up with a sum based on their importance: it looked at the actual figures paid for their autographs.

The rest of the top ten is understandably made up entirely of deceased celebrities, largely because of the fact there is no possibility of more of their signatures coming to the market - and therefore emphasising their rarity.

2. Bruce Lee was named second, with a value of £11,000. The value of his autograph has increased more than 500% in the past four years.

3. Admiral Lord Nelson, valued at £10,500 (beating Napoleon by a huge margin as his signature is valued at £4,950)

4. Princess Diana, worth £8,950. Diana's is a less-well performing autograph as its value hasn't risen at all during the past year.

5. Albert Einstein, worth £8,950

6. Neil Armstrong, worth £8,500

7. JFK, worth £7,950

8. Winston Churchill, £6,950

9. John Lennon, £6,950

10. Marilyn Monroe, £6,950

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The most expensive autographs of living celebrities are far less valuable. The list is topped by Fidel Castro at £3,750. This is largely because of the rarity of his autographs, as the risk posed by assassination attempts mean that few autograph hunters make it through his entourage to the man himself.

He is followed by Sir Paul McCartney at £2,500. This is clearly well below the £6,950 commanded by a John Lennon signature. However, it's an impressive value given how many autographs McCartney has given over the decades, and a testament to the popularity of The Beatles.

McCartney is actually the joint-best performer in autograph terms over the past 12 months. The value of his autograph has risen 25% - matched only by Vladimir Putin. Over the last four years George Harrison takes the title for best performing autograph - as its value has risen 1,695%

The study doesn't include William Shakespeare as only six of his signatures exist and they are all owned by museums. If it was included, it would top the list by an incredible margin every year.

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