January 20, 2021 is a new day in American History. Joe Biden was officially sworn in as the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris is now the highest-ranking woman in US history as Vice President.
With their new titles comes new value for their autographs, but are the prices we are seeing today here to stay or a temporary spike?
Earlier this afternoon while I was scrolling through eBay, I saw higher than normal prices for Joe Biden’s autograph on a variety of items. Granted these are rarer item types, but $2,000 for a signed baseball and $3,000 for a magazine is a huge jump in price from the $400-$600 that photos typically go for. While we do believe that the unique and rarer items will always be more valuable than photographs and books, we do not believe that those prices are a good long-term investment. After a few weeks, we expect that the market will cool down and stabilize.
Biden has been in politics for over 40 years, first serving as senator then as vice president during the historically significant presidency of Barack Obama, and during that time has signed plenty of autographs. He signed a ton on the campaign trail, did a few book signings that were cheaply priced and even periodically would sign mail requests before switching to autopen. It is not rare to find Biden autographs, so someone in the market for his signature should not feel it necessary to jump at the first one they see available. There is time to wait for the right price, the right item and really get something you want in your collection.
With that being said, Biden is known to be a personalizer, more so than any other president, so it is harder to find non-personalized or inscribed items. For that reason, these items will be priced higher. Also items related directly to his term as president, like White House etchings, White House cards, and documents/bills signed into law will hold higher value because they distinguish themselves from all the other stuff that he signed.
The starting range for Presidential autographs is typically around $400 and with the available supply, we expect Biden to stay within that range, making his autograph obtainable for collectors of presidential signatures.
Kamala Harris on the other hand has not signed much, and with her historical significance of first female Vice President, is someone who we see growing in value over time. Sure she released a few books that have been signed, and they can be found online, however photographs and other items are very rare. She did very little campaigning before the DNC where people had access to obtain her autograph, and then because she campaigned for vice president during the Covid-19 era, there were very few events that provided access to her.
Now she will be surrounded by the secret service making getting her autograph even more difficult. With Biden’s age and declining health, she may become the first female president, or could reach that fate if she chooses to run after Biden’s term(s). But because of her current position, secret service would still be on the campaign trail, making access to her very limited. We believe that she will be one of the rarest autographs from a modern day President/Vice President and that the value for her autograph will increase with time.
There is definitely a surge in price right now, and $8,000 for a magazine or $10,000 for a baseball may not be the greatest investment, but there are not a lot of authentic examples of these items around, and we don’t believe there will be a ton of opportunity in the future to obtain them.
Needless to say, when values start to reach the several thousands of dollars range, forgeries start to flood the market. We’ve already started seeing a lot of them online. So buy wisely. Buy items certified by a reputable third-party authenticator, use the signature review service for items without certification, and lastly, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.