How Are These Famous People Related?
by Mike McLeod
What do Napoleon Bonaparte and Charlie Chaplin have in common?
How about Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, John Lennon, and the Rolling Stones?
Think about it for a moment. What could all these famous people from history, the movies, and music have in common? They weren’t born in the same year or on the same day or in the same place. They aren’t related to each other in the family way, at least not closely, as far as I can tell. They did not collect the same thing—if they were all collectors.
As you can tell, I am stalling to give you time to figure this out.
What these two groups of people have in common is their signatures (on photos or letters) are valued at the same amount. According to Paul Fraser’s Autograph Index for 2014 (www.paulfrasercollectibles.com), Napoleon and Charlie Chaplin’s signatures are valued the same at ₤4,950, about $7,984. Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, John Lennon and the Rolling Stones are at ₤6,950 ($11,209).
Off the top of your head, which should you pay more for, the signature of President John F. Kennedy or the actor James Dean? If you said Pres. Kennedy—sorry. You would be wrong by more than $16,000. Paul Fraser values James Dean’s signature on a photograph at ₤18,000 ($29,031) and Pres. Kennedy’s at ₤7,750 ($12,500).
Whose autograph (on a photo) is more powerful: Vladimir Putin or Barack Obama? Putin: ₤100 ($161); Pres. Obama: ₤350 ($565). We’re No. 1!
Finally, for you Royals watchers (not the baseball team), Prince William or Prince Harry? It is Prince William by a long shot. William ₤2,250 ($3,629); Harry: ₤500 ($806).
One other suggestion: carry a magnifying glass and look closely at old documents, photos and prints. A few years ago, Roger Kent, Associate Director of Western Illinois University Television, took a close look at a framed document that had been hanging as a decoration on the wall of his office for two years. Turns out, it bore the signature of Abraham Lincoln.
The framed document had been sitting in a prop room for years before he picked it up as a decoration. In 2011, the document with Abraham Lincoln’s signature was valued at $15,000 to $20,000.