Collecting autographs (philography) in the form of movie memorabilia, such as signed letters, documents, manuscripts, books or movie photos, has always been an exciting and deeply satisfying pastime.
A hand-written letter is the most valuable collectible of this type as it gives an insight into the actress' character, along with a signature. In the case of photos, bigger is better. Photographs in mint condition attract the highest prices. Any creases or marks will devalue the item significantly. An ink signature is generally far more valuable than a pencil equivalent, which tends to fade with time. However, the fame, or indeed, infamy, of the signatory is the crucial factor in determining the value of any autographed item.
Examples of collectibles in this genre are innumerable. For example, a 10" x 8" colour photo of "The Devil Wears Prada" co-star Emily Blunt, a 10" x 8" colour, autographed photo of Emma Thompson or indeed any one of thousands of actresses are among the delights in this genre.
The acquisition of such memorabilia is sometimes accompanied by an amusing anecdote. Supermodel Tyra Banks has at times been approached for more than an autograph. She recalled, "A guy walked up to me in a mall and was talking, trying to flirt. He finally said, "Hey baby, I'm a doctor. If you ever need me, here's my card." After he left, she examined the card, which said he was a gynaecologist! She never called to find out whether it was just a joke.
A major problem encountered in collecting autographed movie photos and other movie memorabilia is ensuring (as far as possible) that the signature is genuine. Ideally, this should take the form of photographic evidence, but a full Certificate of Authenticity from a known, reliable vendor should suffice. A full money back guarantee should also be offered.
The most desirable autograph of a living actress is currently that of Elizabeth Taylor, available for a cool £1200.
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