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Hollywood’s Most Valuable Movie Autographs

Collecting Hollywood movie autographs has never been more popular. Rudolph Valentino, Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart and The Three Stooges top the list as the most valuable signatures.

Humphrey Bogart autographed photo brought $418.25, image courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries

Movie memorabilia collectors are serious about their autographs. Here are ten Hollywood personalities whose authentic signatures will bring top dollar in the field today.

Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926)

One of the most popular stars of Hollywood’s Silent Era, Rudolph Valentino thrilled movie audiences of the day in such pictures as The Sheik (1921), Blood and Sand (1922), The Eagle (1925) and The Son of the Sheik (1926). Following his untimely death at age 31 on August 23, 1926, from complications of peritonitis, Valentino was given a hero’s sendoff in New York City, where over 100,000 people lined the streets to pay their final respects.

Auction results:

  • Signed check dated January 4, 1920 ($1,792.50)
  • Autographed oversized 15×18 portrait from 1925’s The Eagle ($2,244)
  • Signed two-page typewritten letter dated June 10, 1923 ($967)

Jean Harlow (1911-1937)

Feted as the vaunted “Platinum Blonde,” Jean Harlow was Hollywood’s golden girl of the 1930s. Her films include such gems as Hell’s Angels (1930), Red Dust (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933), Wife vs. Secretary (1935) and Suzy (1936). The 26-year-old Harlow died of complications from uremic poisoning on June 7, 1937.

Auction results:

  • Autographed glossy 8×10 MGM publicity photo ($2,716)
  • 1937 Rose Bowl program signed by Harlow and fiance William Powell ($800)
  • Signature and inscription on Cash and Carry note paper ($1,044)

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962)

Born Norma Jeane Mortenson in Los Angeles on June 1, 1926, Marilyn Monroe was the epitome of Hollywood glamour in the 1950s. Her movies include Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Some Like It Hot (1959). The 36-year-old Monroe died of a drug overdose on August 5, 1962.

Auction results:

  • One-of-a-kind 23×7.5-inch panoramic photo of the 1941 graduating class from Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High School in Los Angeles, signed and inscribed, “To a super and swell friend (date at that) I mean it Bobby! Norma Jean Baker 3 ‘41″ ($12,877)
  • Signed check dated November 9, 1951 ($1,735)
  • Autographed 8×10 glossy photo taken by Twentieth Century-Fox photographer Frank Powolny in 1952 ($19,731)

Clark Gable (1901-1960)

The vaunted “King of Hollywood,” Clark Gable ruled the cinematic roost in the 1930s and ’40s. His films include such classics as It Happened One Night (1934), San Francisco (1936), Gone with the Wind (1939) and Command Decision (1948). The 59-year-old Gable died of a heart attack on November 16, 1960.

Auction results:

  • Autographed 8×10 b/w photo as Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind ($4,481.25)
  • Signed check dated October 7, 1946 ($239)
  • Signed 17-page movie contract for 1960’s The Misfits ($4,182.50)

Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957)

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User Comments
  1. AlmaG

    On December 11, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Well written and well-researched. I remember the three stooges… I’ve seen an old clip of their comedy show… silly and funny :)

  2. Mila Marcos

    On December 12, 2009 at 2:43 am

    ^5 What an interesting topic William :-)

  3. T. S. Lewis

    On December 12, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Never knew it was that serious

  4. Der Kommissar

    On December 13, 2009 at 4:28 am

    I collect autographs as a hobby, tho I regrettably dont have nay nearly as valuable as yours here. My dream autos would be from the Stooges and from the main cast of The Wizard of oZ

  5. SamK

    On January 30, 2010 at 1:49 am

    I have to say that that autograph on Humphrey Bogart picture is not his own but his secretary’s. An authentic one varies between $2,000-3,000.

  6. William J Felchner

    On January 30, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    The above 5×7 Humphrey Bogart photo was sold on 5/31/07 by Heritage Auction Galleries for $418.25. It was billed as authentic, but did have condition problems – yellowing, some photographic peeling, etc. – which helped drive down the final auction price.

    Bogie autographs can be very tricky, with even the experts often disagreeing on what is genuine and what is secretarial.

  7. XXElleXX

    On May 17, 2010 at 6:15 am

    I have lots of autographed souvenir merchandise .. reckon they’d be worth a bit now .. very interesting Will ~ stumbled :-)

  8. Florian Defontaine

    On June 10, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Wonderful . Amazing . The most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen . Bogie was a god

    Florian Defontaine

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