We're an eBay affiliate and may be compensated on purchases made through clicks.
I never buy autographs when they're written on the dark areas of a photo or LP of course, but what if they're written on the artist's face? It really bugs me. Perhaps I'm just OCD about it. Does it change the perceived value of the item in your opinion?
There’s usually a sweet spot on every photograph where an autograph would look best, but it’s not always possible to avoid the face completely with closeup shots. In my experience, most artists are mindful of this when signing their own image, unless in a rushed situation. As long as the item doesn’t look ugly or weird, I’m not bothered unduly if the autograph covers part of the artist’s face. I may baulk if the complete face is covered, but then again it depends on the artist in question and the rarity of their signature. Beggars can’t be choosers, and if I pass on an autograph today, I may not get the opportunity to obtain a better one tomorrow.
Here is one from David Bowie, signed for me personally. He writes over part of his left cheek, but it doesn’t bother me at all, and I don’t think he had much choice given the photograph he chose to give to me:
Here is another interesting choice, this time from Joni Mitchell. It would appear that Joni has purposefully avoided writing on her own face, preferring instead to turn the tour programme sideways and sign across her hand. I’m not sure if this was the best decision, from the point of view of a collector, but it is what it is. This one I bought at auction, so I was not witness to the thought process behind its signing:
It also depends on the autograph itself. David Bowie has a beautiful signature, in my opinion, so in that case, I wouldn't mind. But what if it was covering his nose? Also, the dark pen overlays nicely on the black and white photo. Adele must always be in a hurry because it's hard to find an LP autograph in which she hasn't scribbled on her face. That's what brought this topic to mind recently.
Aesthetically, the Adele would look better on her left cheek, a bit like my Bowie example posted above.
Whether she’s always in a rush, I couldn’t say. Personally, I’m not a fan of her music or her personality — all that swearing on stage is weird and inappropriate — so my guess is that she doesn’t put a great deal of thought into how she signs stuff.
Depends on the circumstances. If it's a street graph, you just have to take what you can get and hope for the best.
Some high-end comic grading companies like CGC now have protocols where you can specifically designate where you want an artist/actor/etc. to sign a comic book, but that isn't always true for all sectors.
For what I collect (signed books), I've had chances to buy with signatures on the front cover, but have never opted for it -- too much danger involved with smudging or damaging the graph, and I'd much rather have it on the ffep/title page.