Autographed Guitars - A Sound Investment in Signed Collectibles December 07 2021
Many fans love to have an autographed guitar, that is, a guitar signed by someone who is famous either for singing and playing the guitar or just for playing alone. It is a rather costly autograph investment, compared with photographs, and it occupies a much larger space, but signed guitars are still greatly appreciated by autograph fans and can become a good investment, irrespective of the personal interest value.
Basic Parts of an Electric Guitar
There are basically two types:
- Real guitars, which can be played. Some of these are rare and costly guitars, worth a lot even when unsigned, and this has a big factor on the price.
- Facsimile guitars, which cannot be played and were either created as non-functional or are no longer functional. Many of them are functional but are cheap guitar models, and some have a printed image of the signing artist on their body.
A photograph of the musician on the guitar´s body (or anywhere else, even when he/she is shown signing an autograph) does not, of course, guarantee the authenticity of the signature. You need to verify that before you buy.
They can also be classified as either acoustic or electric guitars, a standard distinction between any functional guitars – either of which can be autographed.
Queen – electric guitar autographed by all four band members! The white guitar plate features one signature; the other three are on the guitar body. This is a new Squier Stratocaster electric guitar manufactured by Fender – a fantastic piece of memorabilia!
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SIGNED GUITARS:
- Autographs are normally created with felt tip pens (such as Sharpies), since most regular pens would not write on a guitar´s surface. The signature can be on the guitar body or on the pickguard piece.
- Felt tip pens have alcohol-based inks. For this reason, signed guitars should never be rubbed with alcohol, which could erase the signature.
- Sometimes signed pickguard pieces are sold separately, without the rest of the guitar. These are a cheaper alternative to a whole guitar with an autograph. Still, signed pickguard prices can go for prices ranging from just $200 to tens of thousands of dollars.
- Just like other types of autographs (signed photos, documents, postcards, etc.), any authenticity certification from a reputable autograph authenticity service will have a great impact on the possibility of selling it.
- As we said above, not all signed guitars sold are functional guitars – that is, ones that can be played. Even if they are, we don't recommend that you use a signed guitar for performing, since any sweat can affect and even erase the autograph ink. It can also easily get scratches or cracks.
- If the guitar was used in a performance by the signing artist, that will have a good impact on its price. Even more so if it was used many times over a long period of time. It will also increase the value if it belonged to the signing artist, even if it was never used in a performance.
- Signed guitars often come with a case and sometimes with a stand, so you can exhibit your collection more easily. Alternatively, they sometimes come inside a large frame!
- Signed guitars can be hung on your wall without the need to put them into a large frame box (called a shadow box frame). It is certainly much cheaper to avoid using a shadow box, but the guitar will collect dust quicker and will need more care.
ARE SIGNED / AUTOGRAPHED GUITARS WORTH ANYTHING?
Yes: most signed guitars range from $200 to $2,000. They can reach prices as high as the low hundreds of thousands, but those are very rare cases.
Signed guitars can be found on eBay and also on Amazon. eBay has signed guitar pickguards starting at just a few dollars, while signed full guitars start from only $25, going all the way up to the $25k–$75k range.
eBay’s selection is probably the greatest in number and widest in price range, but it is also a market where you need a lot of knowledge about what you are buying because it tends to be a risky place, with many fake autographs on sale.
In general, we do not recommend purchasing autographs in large marketplaces since they do not guarantee authenticity and they tend to feature sellers with a very wide spectrum of reliability. In other words, you really need to know about what you are going to buy in terms of what is authentic and what is not.
Custom Graphics Guitar with a Facsimile Signature of Michael Jackson
Also keep in mind that the price of the guitar alone, unsigned, is a big factor. For this reason, you also need to have some expertise in electric and acoustic guitars, and what is valuable and authentic and what is not. If you are going to buy an autographed guitar, you should consult experts in both autographs and guitars so that you get assistance with both parts of the equation and can make a better purchasing decision.
In the end, all the factors we mentioned in our article about autograph prices are relevant here too. See our blog post about Autograph Values.
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