Which White House candidate’s autograph is the most valuable?

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump has discussed possible pardons for three eldest children, Kushner: report McCaskill: 'Hypocrisy' for GOP to target Biden nominee's tweets after Trump Biden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate MORE is making her mark, leading all of the 2016 White House hopefuls when it comes to demand for her signature.

A “Democratic Donkey” Beanie Baby signed by the Democratic front-runner is being auctioned on eBay for $25,000 — with the seller noting it’s a “must have item for your collection.” And a New York Yankees jersey bearing the Clinton name and the former secretary of State’s autograph — the seller says from Iowa last year — is offered at $3,000.


“I’d say Hillary is still the most valuable out of all of the presidential candidates,” James Spence III, of James Spence Authentication, tells ITK. The regional managing director’s company is considered a leading autograph authentication provider.

But the land of signed political memorabilia, much like politics itself, can be a wild ride.

“It’s a roller coaster,” says Spence. A few months ago, “Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE was very, very popular on eBay. A lot of his signed stuff was going for pretty significantly higher than what it usually does just because of the amount of press that he was receiving and how he was shocking the world,” Spence says. But while Spence notes that Trump’s autograph value is second only to Clinton’s, demand has dipped in recent months.

On eBay, a signed 1987 first edition of Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” is selling for $5,000. A Trump-autographed golf pin is up for grabs for $2,000, and a business card with the real estate mogul’s signature is $1,750.

But other candidates are also fetching some impressive amounts for mementos they’ve personalized. On the GOP side, Spence says, a signed baseball from Florida Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread Potential 2024 Republicans flock to Georgia amid Senate runoffs MORE or Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent Trump's NATO ambassador pledges 'seamless' transition to Biden administration MORE could bring in anywhere from $50 to $100 — though ITK found some items being sold for significantly more.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else' MORE’s (I-Vt.) supporters will likely “feel the Bern” in their wallets. The Democratic candidate’s signature is the third-most coveted after Clinton’s and Trump’s, says Spence. A book signed by Sanders runs $800, and a Pez dispenser that Sanders put a pen to is $300 on eBay.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who’s struggled to gain traction in the polls, is one Oval Office contender who’s seen the value of his John Hancock fluctuate.

“For a while, Chris Christie’s autograph was very popular,” says Spence, “Over the past year I’d say, the industry has seen a drop in his value. Still collectible, but not as collectible as it was about a year ago.”

As an autograph expert, Spence also tells ITK how fascinating it can be to see how signatures change over time — including the 2016 candidates’.

Spence says, surprisingly, little has changed with Clinton: “She still spells out every letter in her name when signing an autograph,” and the letter formation, spacing, and sizing “all appear to be consistent in over 20 years.” 

Trump, who’s also been in the public eye for decades, has shortened his signature, according to Spence, and dropped letter formations. “It’s also noticeably faster,” he says, “signed with much more conviction.”

“All of our autographs go through transformations. You can look at your own Social Security card and see major differences in your autograph,” says Spence. “You might’ve spelled out your name more than you do now. A lot of the times they’ll just try to make it easier for them to sign more autographs because the more popular you get, the more fans you have to make it happen.”

No matter how candidates sign their names, Spence says, the ink has yet to dry on the winner of the 2016 autograph wars.

“As time progresses and we get closer to the election this year, you’ll see the two primary candidates go significantly higher, especially when one is in the lead,” explains Spence. “It’s all based on emotion, really — whoever the public or the investors think is going to become the next president, they heavily invest in anything they can find on eBay to add to their collection.”