Autographs of 'the 5 presidents' may go for $6K

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When Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office with his presidential brethren recently, he had already agreed to take part in one of this exclusive fraternity’s secret traditions: autographing a limited number of copies of the photograph that captured the moment.

The former, current and future presidents’ pact — to create only 250 copies of the photograph with all of their signatures — upped the ante on an image that was a keepsake before it was even taken.

Early estimates value the signed pictures at more than $6,000 apiece, based on the rarity of such a meeting and how few copies of the photograph will be circulated. That value could push higher when collectors factor in Obama’s popularity and historical significance as the first African-American president.

“You’re going to see these valued and collected and sought after in a similar fashion as the previous ones, and when you’re talking about a president that’s very popular at the moment, that has to help,” said Steven Hoskin, president of the Professional Autograph Dealers Association.

This curious practice dates back to 1981 when all four living presidents gathered at the White House before Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat's funeral and later autographed copies of the photo. But it turned into a more coordinated effort, with a pre-set limit on the number of copies, when the presidential club gathered in 1991 for the dedication of Ronald Reagan's library in Simi Valley, Calif.

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