Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump boasts about his personal wealth, but on paper Democrat Hillary Clinton is actually worth more.
If we’re talking literally, that is.
A signed photo of Hillary Clinton is worth about $900, compared with about $550 for Donald Trump’s signed photo, according to research from the U.K.-based collectors’ site JustCollecting.com.
The site tracks the value of collectors’ items, including signed photographs. For this comparison, the prices are an evaluation of the dealer price (often higher than those found on sites such as eBay) and are the prices of the “best quality” photo possible. “Best quality” means the photo is in superb condition, according to JustCollecting, and shows the subject in the era when he or she was most famous, with a sharp and clear signature.
“In a presidential context, that means if you have a signed photograph of John F. Kennedy looking presidential in 1961, that’s preferable to one of him in 1955 on a golf course,” said Dan Wade, the head writer for JustCollecting.
Besides the photo quality, prices also are higher for rarer signatures, and for those of politicians and other celebrities who are highly regarded, he said.
Clinton’s photo is worth more than Trump’s partly because she signs fewer items, making her signature more rare, Wade said. “Donald Trump signs absolutely everything,” he said. “Babies, goodness knows what. His autograph is everywhere.”
There’s also some gambling involved: “It’s also fair to say collectors, it seems, are moving toward the idea that — until maybe the last few days — Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president,” he said. “Whoever is the losing candidate, you can expect to see the price of their fine photos fall considerably, if history is any sort of indication. Past failed candidates for president…their signed photos are really not worth a huge amount at all.”
Trump and Clinton’s autographed photos are still worth more than several past presidents — and even current President Barack Obama’s.
A signed photograph of President Obama is worth about $430, one of George W. Bush is about $215, Bill Clinton $369 and George H.W. Bush $153.
Signed photos of John F. Kennedy are worth much more: about $10,450, according to JustCollecting. Part of the reason is because he died young, one factor in why signed photos of him are rare.
George Washington’s signature (just the signature, since photographs weren’t made during his time) is worth about $11,000, Wade said. It isn’t worth more because Washington actually signed quite a few items while he was alive, so items he signed are relatively easy to find.
Because Obama has been in office now for his two terms, it’s probable that many fans have been hoarding signed photos of him that they may try to sell later on at a higher profit, Wade said.
The signature of some foreign politicians are also valued higher. A signed photo of former Cuban president Fidel Castro is worth more than any other living individual, according to JustCollecting. It is worth about $4,853. “Rarity is the reason Fidel Castro remains the most valuable living signer,” Wade said. “He’s one of the best-guarded men in the world, so getting close enough for an autograph has proved almost impossible.”