Great Collections of Today: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Autograph Collection September 23 2022

Wolfgang Mozart Autograph Letter 1778

Wolfgang Mozart Autograph Letter 1778 (Correa do Lago Collection)

Pedro Corrêa do Lago of Brazil has amassed the largest private autograph collection in the world. Autograph collectors typically focus on finding pieces within a specific niche. Corrêa do Lago's collection stands out due to the broad array of autographs he has secured, making it truly special and remarkable.

He has signatures from various disciplines such as art, literature, music and science. They give an unique and diverse look into the lives and works of some of the most famous individuals in history. Both letters and manuscripts are included. Corrêa do Lago believes that "there is a magical power in handwriting" and has devoted much of his life to gathering intriguing pieces he eagerly shares with the world.



Pedro Corrêa is an art historian, curator, and author. He was born on March 15, 1958, in Rio de Janeiro. He spent much of his youth traveling with his Brazilian diplomat father, Antonio Corrêa do Lago, throughout postings in South America and Europe. Later, he attended Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro and earned his master's degree in economics.

Al Capone signed photo

Corrêa do Lago speaks five languages fluently, partly due to his extensive travels. He has worked as an antiquarian bookseller and spent time as a Sotheby's representative in São Paulo. He is also a trustee of the São Paulo Biennale, the second-oldest art biennial in the world. Corrêa do Lago has curated exhibitions at the São Paulo Biennale, the Musée du Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay. He takes his passion for the written word seriously, as reinforced by his membership in the International Association of Bibliophiles.

[RIGHT] Signed photograph of the American gangster Al Capone (1899-1947) - Correa do Lago Collection

The collector has written more than twenty books about manuscripts and the art of Brazil. Corrêa do Lago married Maria Beatriz (Bia) Fonseca in 1994 and founded the art publishing house Capivara with his wife in 2002. She has co-authored four of his books. Today, he continues his writings and is working on a book about his impressive number of autographed letters from the French writer Marcel Proust.



The concept of an autograph is simple. It's essentially just someone's proper written text, by their own hand. However, handwriting analysis can discern a lot about a person just by examining their writing. It gives insight into someone's emotions, character, and the world they live in.

Charles Darwin Signed Photograph

The intimate nature of handwriting is one of the biggest reasons many autograph collectors find themselves fascinated with discovering and obtaining notable autographs. Gazing upon the script written in someone's own hand provides a link to the individual and can transport the viewer back in time, allowing them to connect with significant moments in history.

[LEFT] Signed photograph of the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) - Correo do Lago Collection

Handwriting has become a lost art in the modern world. Viewing Pedro Corrêa do Lago's collection reminds us of the power held in handwriting. Seeing the strokes and slants of each letter holds can give current-day observers insight into the writer's character. Being close to a document held and signed by someone you admired provides a connection otherwise unavailable.

Isaac Newton autograph document draft of his family pedigree

Pedro Corrêa do Lago began his collection when he was eleven years old. He started to reach out to individuals he admired, taking advantage of his diplomat father's connections. Corrêa do Lago's efforts paid off, and many of his correspondents wrote back. One of the first autographs he received was a signed book about the film "L'Enfant Sauvage" from French filmmaker Francois Truffaut.

[RIGHT] Isaac Newton autograph document draft of his family pedigree - Correa do Lago Collection

This sparked his interest and led to his discovery of autograph collection as a valuable pursuit. During his teenage years, his enthusiasm grew. A visit to the Morgan Library in New York at 17 years old gave him the opportunity to look at its collection of autographed letters and manuscripts and deepened his passion.

The letters and manuscripts he has gathered in the nearly 50 years since then are in the areas of literature, history, art, music, science and entertainment. His collection numbers tens of thousands of items from prominent figures active in these areas that date back as far as the year 1500.



Karl Marx signed photo

Autograph collectors the world over enjoy examining the pieces of history that Pedro Corrêa do Lago has gathered. They include an assortment of documents, letters, musical compositions, manuscripts and signed photographs and drawings. He has amassed more than 100,000 historically significant autographs from 5,000 figures famous in their chosen field. His efforts are so extraordinary that pieces of his collection have been shown at various museums, including a temporary exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

[LEFT] Signed photograph of the German philosopher and political theorist Karl Marx (1818-1883) - Correa do Lago Collection

Collecting autographs takes tenacity, discernment, and of course, money. Many individuals pursue this as strictly a pastime and hobby. Serious autograph collectors use much of their free time to visit auction houses and look for reputable private dealers and sales like Tamino Autographs. Pedro Corrêa do Lago states that he committed to working more than required to support his passion for autographs and the treasure hunt to track down that one-of-a-kind find. As a result, he has built a legacy that others now enjoy.



Corrêa do Lago's collection includes pieces from some of the most well-known individuals throughout history. From artists and writers to English Monarchs and American presidents, there is a wide array of fascinating pieces. Some stand-out features from his collection include:

  • Oscar Wilde signed photo
  • Mathematical piece of Albert Einstein's from the 1940s
  • Letter from Rene Magritte to Francis Lee from January 22, 1946
  • 1915 Inscribed photograph of Emiliano Zapata
  • Inscribed self-portrait photograph of Allen Ginsberg from March 24, 1971
  • Letter circa 1767 from Adam Smith, presumed to be written to Thomas Cadell


[RIGHT] Signed photograph of the Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) - Correa do Lago Collection


  • The score for Girl of the Golden West signed by Puccini around 1908
  • 1965 photograph of the Beatles signed by the four band members
  • Part of a letter from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to his father Leopold from February 7, 1778
  • 1788 letter from Marie Antoinette to the King of Naples Ferdinand IV
  • Photograph of Josephine Baker, an American jazz singer, signed in 1930
  • February 16, 1949 note signed and illustrated by Henri Matisse to Albert Skira
  • A letter written by Emily Dickinson to Adelaide Hills in 1871
  • Autographed photograph of Sun Yat-sen from around 1912
  • A Brief History of Time's title page with Stephen Hawking's thumbprint signature from 2006
  • The opening passage of Swann's Way signed by Marcel Proust in 1913
  • 1947 letter from Mahatma Gandhi to Solomon Alexander
  • A 1946 drawing done by Jackson Pollock in ink, pencil, and crayon
  • Manuscript of Sir Issac Newton from between 1696 and 1727 regarding his work at the Royal Mint
  • Letter from Oscar Wilde to Bram Stoker dated 1879 or 1880
  • 1793 signed silhouette of Immanuel Kant
  • A signed document bearing the signature of four popes from the year 1153
  • Michelangelo Buonarroti's 1518 pen and ink drawing of a marble façade design for San Lorenzo in Florence
  • An invoice from Sigmund Freud to Roy Grinker in June of 1934
  • Signed photograph of Frida Kahlo's The Frame given to Roberto Botelho on October 23, 1947
  • A letter dated August 16, 1826, from Queen Victoria of Great Britain, when she was a child and uncrowned, to the Duke of York.


Ludwig van Beethoven document signed

Other notable figures in Corrêa do Lago's collection include Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Walt Disney, Charlie Chaplin, Beethoven, Van Gogh and King Henry VIII. He even has a signed photograph of the Romanovs, one of Rasputin and another of Lenin.

[LEFT] Ludwig van Beethoven document signed with the largest signature - Correa do Lago Collection

Autograph collectors remain in awe of the accomplishments of Pedro Corrêa do Lago. He has managed an astounding feat in gathering close to nine hundred years of handwriting samples from some legendary figures. His collection manages to span numerous areas of interest while still melding into a cohesive and fascinating look into some of the most influential, well-known figures in history. The presence of signatures penned decades or centuries ago provides a commonality that all of humanity can identify with and appreciate.

His collection is an inspiration to beginners and long-term collectors alike. Art enthusiasts, scholars and lovers of history enjoy perusing the pieces to get a glimpse into the lives and minds of some of the brightest and most renowned people throughout the ages. Corrêa do Lago's autograph collection brings the past to life in a tangible way. Samples of handwriting and snippets of private correspondence and notations humanize these characters from history and keep their memory alive.

You can see one some top items from this amazing collection in his book "The Magic of Handwriting".



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