Politics.co.uk Blog

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Sign here, please

Cheque-books out, politics fans.

Your signature - for a guide price of up to just £2,000 - could be all that's required to gain possession of a remarkably geeky collection of British history.

When one thinks of autographs the instant assumption is of a bubblegum-chewing 1960s schoolgirl doing all she can to get the signatures of her favourite popstars.

It's difficult to think of her 19th century equivalent striving to get the scribble of the Duke of Wellington or Pitt the Younger.

Nevertheless, autograph hunters have done their best to cobble together the genuine signatures of this country's great leaders.

A total of 46 British prime ministers' autographs will be going under the hammer in an auction today in Gloucestershire.

Starting with Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first PM, it passes through most of No 10's residents.

Spencer Perceval is dead, like the vast majority of the others. But the fact he was assassinated makes his signature slightly more interesting.

Auctioneer and autograph specialist Chris Albury said:

"While Victorian autograph albums turn up fairly regularly and include cut signatures of royalty, nobility, clergy and politicians, this is still an unusually large collection of British prime minister autographs to come on the market as one lot," Dominic Winter Auctioneers' autograph specialist Chris Albury tells us.

"Some may question the attraction of collecting autographs of British prime ministers and why anyone would want signed portraits of Harold Wilson, Tony Blair or Gordon Brown."

It's almost not worth adding his closing comment: "For many others, however, it allows a fascinating connection with 300 years of British history."

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