Modern Living: Signed in Gold

It took only three minutes to sell lot No. 216 at Manhattan's Swann Galleries last week. The item, bound in two gilt-tooled morocco volumes, was bought at auction by a Philadelphia lawyer for $120,000. The price made history. The item was history: autographs of all 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Autographs (or holographs), as distinct from mere signatures, are by definition documents in the author's handwriting — preferably signed by him. Their value depends on rarity, content —usually their historic significance — and the writer's eminence. With inflation and the uncertain stock market, many buyers have turned to autographs and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!