Original Historical Autographs

Appraising or Valuing Your



If You Want to Know the Value of Item(s)
You Own or Sell Them


We receive, almost on a daily basis, multiple request(s) for our opinion as to the value of an item frequently without either a description or an image of the article to be valued.KEEP IN MIND, OUR BUSINESS IS NOT ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.Because of the increasing volume of these requests we have out of necessity developed the policies outlined herein and we hope that those seeking our opinion understand why it is necessary for us to have such policies.

We do not provide estimates of value without examining the item or an image of the item.. Furthermore we do not provide free valuations of signed material or other historical artifacts.. The three exceptions to this policy are: Our Clients, United States Military Service personnel or students.Our charge for the time involved to estimate the value of an autograph or like items is $100.00 per hr-one hour minimum . For that fee we offer a best estimate of current retail value but remeber retail values change constantly. Sometime, a good scan will be sufficient to enable us to determine the approximate retail value of an item. Any additional information that a seller can provide is also helpful:e.g. information as to the origin of the item, where was it purchased,has it been authenticated and by whom, etc.For example most items purchased on ebay have little or no value depending an the standing of the seller.Also itrems autenticated by either PSA /DNA OR MOST OF THE OTHER THIRD PARY AUTHENTICATORS often have a dimminshed value if the item was not purchase at some point in the past from an established dealer. So the source and how authenticity was established are mot important determinants of value.Our contact information to arrange an estimate of value is at the bottom of this page.

When you are sending an image it should be at 72 dpi resolution and 6 inches maximum dimension.

We provide an estimate of value that is usually conveyed verbally or by email. A detailed written proposal that may be used for insurance or the IRS requires much more work (time) and is that type of appraisal is discussed subsequently herein.

Given that the source for the autograph is credible, the value also is determined by a combination of the following: rarity, condition, historical significance and content if it is a an autographed letter. Something entirely in someone's hand is usually worth more that a comparable typed letter.The value of signed photographs and books is determined by similar criteria-mainly rarity and condition.In the case of photographs value is enhance if the photograph was created by a famous photographer like Karsh or studio like Bachrach.We have an article on books that details how to value them on this web site HERE.

As an alternative to paying for an estimate of value, we suggest you consult with your local library or bookstore where price guides on autographs are available. One such reference is: (SANDERS PRICE GUIDE TO AUTOGRAPHS-ED. SAFFRO,SMITH AND SHAW, ALEXANDER BOOKS, abooks.com.) Or visit autograph web sites and determine what, for example, an item like yours is selling for at va credible dealer. Just Google historic(al) autographs to find dealers with items for sale. Remember, there are two prices-retail and what a dealer will pay for an item or wholesale. But also remember, the autograph market is like any other market and it changes constantly and the desirability of owning the autograph of a given historical figure changes quickly as history gets rewritten and revised.


We also do written appraisals for a fee. The total cost depends on the nature of the item being appraised and the purpose of the appraisal. For example, appraisals for the IRS require extensive research and documentation and anyone who gives such an appraisal has serious legal exposure with the government if it can be shown that the item was overvalued.Because of the time involved this type of appraisal is the most costly.Written proposals for insurance purposes usually cost somewhat less.Obtaining an appraisal which involves research (time) is different than obtaining some 'rough estimate' of value. Fee-based appraisals can be arranged by contacting us. Our appraisal fee is billed at the rate of $100.00 per hour. OUR APPRAISAL FEE DOES NOT INCLUDING OUR FEES FOR GOING TO COURT TO DEFEND THAT APPRAISAL. FEES FOR EITHER DEPOSITIONS OR COURT APPEARANCES CAN BE ARRANGED ON A CASE BY CASE BASIS.


We are always interested in buying either complete collections or individual items. The attributes that make an autographed item desirable are condition, rarity, content (when applicable) and provenance (did it come from a reliable source? has it been previously authenticated and by whom? Items purchased on ebay from someone not known to us usually are not of interest to us. For further guidance see our thoughts on AUTHENTICATION OF AUTOGRAPHS.

There are three ways to sell your item: first,sell to another individual (private treaty); second, sell at auction (including ebay); and, third, sell to a dealer. We have prepared a separate article on AUTOGRAPH AUCTIONS. What follows are some guidelines for selling to a dealer.

First, don't send out to whom it may concern emails or the equivalent . It indicates that you are 'shopping' the item . 'Shopping' an item greatly diminishes its value because the item is no longer 'fresh' to the market. Dealers have more incentive to buy when an item is new to the market because it brings the best price under those circumstances. So your best bet is to look around and select one dealer, tell that dealer you are willing to deal with him/her only and see if you can arrive at a price by honest negotiations. It is best to prepare to sell your item by first checking prices (2nd paragraph) and by preparing images of what you want to sell on a scanner so they are available to any interested buyer. These images are called jpgs (pronounced -jaypegs) images. They should be saved at 72 pixels resolution and 6 inches maximum dimension (the other dimension self-adjusts on the scan). Otherwise the image is too big and will take forever to download.If you do not have a scanner a digital photograph may work but it is often difficult to see details of the writing and signature(s) or the condition of a document on a photograph. We cannot make an offer on something we have not seen.

When we make an offer it is a one time offer and if it is not accepted we withdraw the offer so that our offer cannot be used as leverage on another dealer. We try to make a very fair offer but one that we can make a profit on when we are able to resell an item.That offer is based on current market conditions.

Most dealers object to individuals who are faux sellers and who only want an offer on their item as a means of obtaining a free 'appraisal' which is a waste of our time. Some dealers will not make offers but, rather, request that the seller state their selling price.


To inquire about an estimate of current value, appraisals or selling your collection or individual item please call, write, or email:

The History Buff, Inc.-17509 Bearpath Trail, Eden Prairie, MN 55347

EMAIL: thehistbuff@aol.com

Phone: 952-937-0325