News flash, Miami: Fidel Castro ain't dead yet. But a pre-death run on Fidel memorabilia and signatures is driving prices through the roof. Apparently, autograph hounds are tailing Fidel these days like that creepy sweatpants guy following Hanley Ramirez at spring training with a trash bag full of rookie cards.
So says the Cafe Fuerte blog, based on the auction of a Fidel letter for more than $13,000 and the totally pimp golden gun pictured here, which fetched $10,000 (presumably from Scott Storch.) At least Fidel is stimulating the economy somehow, right?
Fidel has recently bumped his way into a list of the 40 most sought after autographers, according to the PFC Autograph Index, and Cafe Fuerte points to signs that the price will only rise when/if el jefe maximo ever decides to keel over.
Paul Fraser, a UK-based collectibles firm, recently put a good list together of the best-selling Fidel mementos.
The best ever? A 1961 check from Fidel to Che Guevara, signed by both revolutionaries, sold for more than £8,300, or $13,000-plus.
(We're not at all convinced that the Versailles crowd didn't put together a collection to buy that one just to burn it at Orlando Bosch's funeral next month.)
Fidel's other top sellers, according to Fraser:
- A golden gun crafted in 1958 by an American named John Ek, who'd befriended Castro shortly after the revolution, sold for $10,350.
- An archive from a 1967 Playboy interview with Castro brought in $8,900 in 2003, more than triple the auction estimates
- A letter written during the revolution by Augustin Cartaya and signed by Fidel fetched $7,768
Didn't get in on the golden gun bidding wars? Don't worry!
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Fraser still has some sweet Fidel memories awaiting your purchase. Haven't you always wanted to own an official decree signed by Castro himself? A 1959 document is up for sale for $4,550.
And if you've really got some bank to invest, check out Fraser's signed copy of an iconic Che Guevara photo, which
is on the market (sorry kids, looks like that one has sold) for £24,000 (that's almost $40,000).
Too bad, Fidel -- Che's always going to be more popular.